A Statement by NYSAC President Charles H. Nesbitt Jr. on Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility

Official Statement from New York State Association of Counties

[This week], counties across the state are required to implement the latest state mandate on counties and local taxpayers.

Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility was enacted by the New York State Legislature and signed into law by the Governor in 2017. In 2018, the enacted state budget appropriated $100 million to reimburse counties for implementing this new program.

Under the terms of this law, 16 year old’s charged with a crime will no longer be held in county correctional facilities. Instead, these adolescents will be released and given an appearance ticket or detained in a newly created specialized secure detention facility.

To date, 25 of 57 counties outside of New York City have submitted plans for reimbursement which are still under review by the state. At this time, none of these plans have been approved.

The remaining counties are still reviewing state guidance, seeking answers to local concerns, and submitting comments on state regulations that have not yet been made final.

While the intent of this new law is constructive, and in the best interests of the child and his/her family, this mandate is extremely complicated due to the number of public and private agencies involved in this process.

NYSAC and our member counties remain vigilant in watching how this new mandate will impact our county operations and the potential costs to local taxpayers. Counties need more flexibility to properly place these youth in need of services or identify proper facilities to house them. Given the early stages of this process and lack of approved county plans, we strongly encourage the state to consider a waiver process during this transition.

The state must ensure that adequate services and an adequate service delivery system is in place to treat these youth.

A resolution was adopted by the NYS member county officials at the NYSAC Fall Seminar on Wednesday, September 26.