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Raise the Age legislation in final phase this September

People make mistakes. In fact, many people who are accused of crimes never planned to commit them. This is particularly true among minors.

That's why New York has been addressing the problem of having young, impressionable people in its prison system. Now, starting at the end of September, 17-year-old offenders will no longer be put through the adult criminal justice system. This is the final phase of the state's Raise the Age legislation.

To help address more serious offenses, a new Youth Part was added to the State Supreme Court to handle felony charges and family court. While this system is designed to help, some fear that it could be harmful.

One of the issues could be longer arrest-to-arraignment times. Some minors don't have an opportunity to speak privately with their attorneys. Even though the idea was solid, the implementation has been an issue. On the other hand, the Legal Aid Society has been praising the new system, stating that the law makes a huge difference just by having children go to age-appropriate courts.

Youth arrests have been in the decline in New York City, with the number of 16-year-olds being arrested dropping from 2,200 to 700 and 17-year-olds from 2,538 to 2,205. That's good news for the new court system, since it has already been struggling with the workload.

With the juvenile system, changes keep occurring. If you are 17 or under or have a child who is, then make sure you reach out to your attorney to discuss how the changes could affect your child's criminal case in the future.

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