Child and Adolescent Development Policy
The state of New York implemented a new law called Raise the Age. Raise the age establishes new ages for trying juveniles for crimes. The Raise the Age policy was recently signed into law. It will go into effect later in the year. Child and Adolescent. In the past, juveniles as young as the age of seven could be tried as an adult (NY Courts, 2021). When the law goes into effect, the minimum age for being tried as an adult is 12. Children do not have the capacity to understand their actions. The brain does not fully develop until the youth reaches their twenties. Therefore, they cannot be treated as adults in the NY criminal justice system.
In 2019, 800 children under the age of 12 were arrested and charged with a crime (Campbell, 2021). A vast majority of the arrests involved African American and Hispanic/Latino American youths. 90% of youths arrested under the age of 12 were minorities (Campbell, 2021). Child and Adolescent. Criminalizing children at a young age impact their development. The new policy requires local social services departments to establish differential response programs. The purpose of the differential response program is to connect youths that have come into contact with the juvenile justice system. The goal of the program is to connect youths to proper mental health care and community resources to promote healthy development and deter future delinquency.
Incarcerating children is harmful to their development (Barnet et al., 2017). America incarcerates more Child and Adolescent than any other country on the globe. Once a juvenile has been incarcerated, their risk of committing crimes as an adult goes up ten-fold. Instead of rehabilitating the youth to make them more productive members of society, they are treated and punished like adults. While incarcerated, the medical and mental health needs of the youth are not addressed. High rates of unmet health needs complicate the youth’s future life outcomes (Graber, 2019). Social determinants, such as poverty and minority status, increase the risk for incarceration.
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