MINEOLA - There is a new push on Long Island to raise the minimum age that an accused criminal can be tried as an adult.
‘Raise the Age’ advocates held a rally today on the steps of Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola in an effort to encourage state legislators to change the way teenage criminal offenders are treated.
According to the group, New York and North Carolina are the only two states where children ages 16 and up are automatically treated as adults in the criminal justice system. Advocates say that state officials should change the age to 18 years old.
Angelo Pinto, of the Correctional Association of New York, says the state should have specific intervention for youth according to their crime and experiences. He says that young inmates can be subjected to tremendous physical, emotional and sexual abuse while in prison.
According to the Raise the Age campaign, nearly 90 percent of the 16 and 17-year-olds arrested on Long Island in 2010 were for nonviolent offenses or misdemeanors. The statewide number is near 75 percent.
Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said that she is in favor of making changes, but didn't specify exactly what they should be.