A Second Chance for Youth Tried as Adults in New York State

Governor Kathy Hochul has signed into law a bill providing the right for people who were convicted of a crime when they were under the age of 19, but denied youthful offender status at the time, to reapply for it. Youthful offender status in New York allows young people convicted of a crime to have the record replaced by a confidential, non-criminal adjudication. The Second Chance for Youthful Offenders Act is an important first step toward expanding protections for young people tried as adults in New York and towards ending the perpetual punishment of New Yorkers with convictions. In response, Sandy Santana, Executive Director, Children’s Rights, issued the following statement:

“A second chance for youthful offender status will mean the world to young people who are unjustly stigmatized for a conviction they received and are too often denied employment, housing, and educational opportunities as a result. This is an especially welcome moment for young people of color, who are disproportionately impacted by the consequences of adult criminal convictions. We are grateful to the governor for signing this courageous legislation. It is a win for young people who deserve the chance to move on with their lives – and in the ongoing fight for racial justice in the criminal legal system.”