Plan to house nonviolent juvenile offenders in Syosset meets opposition

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A plan to house nonviolent juvenile offenders in a facility in Syosset is not sitting well with neighbors. A plan to house nonviolent juvenile offenders in a facility in Syosset is not sitting well with neighbors.
SYOSSET -

A plan to house nonviolent juvenile offenders in a facility in Syosset is not sitting well with neighbors.

As early as December, MercyFirst in Syosset could house an influx of 16- and 17-year-old nonviolent offenders in its juvenile delinquent program. 

It's part of the Raise the Age program that ensures that everyone under 18 is tried in family court for nonviolent felonies. Previously, 16- and 17-year-olds could be tried in adult criminal court and sent to adult prisons.

Nassau Legislator Josh Lafazan says he's reached out to MercyFirst about revamping safety methods.

"We're seeing that MercyFirst has an inability to contain its students on its premises," says Lafazan. 

He says he's received complaints about children leaving the property, trespassing and even breaking into homes. 

"Every resident deserves to feel safe in their own home and no taxpayer anywhere should have to tolerate trespassing," says Lafazan. 

Plan are in the works to build a wall around the property, hidden with shrubbery, away from Convent Road. 

Civic leaders say they want to know more about who will be housed inside. 

According to MercyFirst, a nonviolent felony is a crime that didn't result in serious injury, involve the use of a weapon and was not sexual assault. A document from MercyFirst about the program says the district attorney and family court judges make the decision if a teen is a nonviolent offender. 

In a statement, the facility says: "MercyFirst has no role in making this determination, though we have some discretion in whether a particular youth is placed with us."

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