MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The Nassau County District Attorney has backed a review of the way the state prosecutes some teenagers.
Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice spoke Tuesday at a press conference organized by the Raise The Age coalition calling for the way the state handles 16- and 17-year-old defendants in criminal cases.
Rice says she broadly supports the concept of raising the age of eligibility for adult criminal court for certain crimes.
“What we are doing now, they stand a disproportionate chance of being assaulted and an elevated risk of recidivism instead of rehabilitation,” Rice told reporters including WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall.
She did not specify what changes should be made.
However, a spokesperson for the DA said some extremely violent teen offenders still should serve prison time.
Anjelique Wadlington also spoke at the press conference. She was locked up in 2004 at the age of 17 for selling drugs. Now, she’s in college on a scholarship and volunteers.
“I saw young girls, younger than me – 15 or 16 years old – so frightened for their lives,” Wadlington said.
Organizers of the review effort say New York is only one of two states that has kept its age of adult criminal responsibility at 16. North Carolina also views 16-year-olds as adults.
The coalition argues that about 75 percent of the some 50,000 annual cases involving 16- and 17-year-olds are misdemeanors.
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