Judge Corriero Testifies Before the New York State Legislature in Support of Raising The Age of Criminal Responsibility

Posted: December 18th, 2013 | by Yuval Sheer

On December 6, 2013 Judge Corriero testified at a hearing before the New York State Assembly in support of raising New York’s age of criminal responsibility. The hearing was attended by a diverse group of advocacy organizations, law enforcement officials, and members of the defense bar, all of whom called upon the legislature to act.

Judge Corriero participated in a panel that included T.J. Parsell, Executive Director of the Campaign for Responsible Justice, and Professor Merril Sobie of Pace University School of Law School, who has written extensively about New York’s Family Court Act and the state’s low age of criminal responsibility.

An article in Capital New York highlighted some significant portions of the panel’s testimony:

[Assemblyman Joseph] Lentol said some of his colleagues fear voting for an increase in the age will make them seem soft on crime.
It is not soft on crime, it is smart on crime,” responded Michael Corriero, executive director of the New York Center for Juvenile Justice. “If they want to politicize the issue then you have some very powerful, smart, intellectual advocates who have the ammunition to logically refute this knee-jerk reaction.”

The hearing on Friday attempted to do just that, with five hours of testimony from 19 witnesses, representing interest groups, attorneys, and the state court system.

Witnesses testified that brain development doesn’t fully form until age 25, that incarcerating minors disproportionately affects the black community, and those sent to prison young stand less of a chance in society once they are released.

T.J. Parsell, the executive director of the Campaign for Responsible Justice, said he was incarcerated as a 17-year-old for robbing a store with a toy gun, and sent to a correctional facility for adults.
“I did not deserve what I got once I arrived at an adult prison,” Parsell said. “[Young inmates] are six times more likely to be sexually victimized, and youthful offenders make up 55 percent of all substantiated cases of rape in prison. … I did what I was forced to do to survive in there.”

The entire Capital New York article can be viewed here.

You may view a video of the testimony here.


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