Tue | Jun 15, 2021

NY raises age to arrest juveniles, eases parole penalties

Published:Friday | June 11, 2021 | 9:32 AM
The state Senate and Assembly passed the Less is More Act as state lawmakers wrapped up the end of the legislative session.

ALBANY, NY (AP) — New Yorkers would avoid jail time for non-violent parole violations and children under age 12 could no longer be arrested as juveniles under bills that passed the state Legislature Thursday.

The state Senate and Assembly passed the Less is More Act as state lawmakers wrapped up the end of the legislative session.

The act would largely eliminate the practice of incarcerating people for technical parole violations in New York.

The Assembly also passed a bill Thursday to end the arrest and prosecution of kids below the age of 12, except in homicide cases.

That bill earlier passed the Senate.

Under current state law, children can be charged as juvenile delinquents as young as age 7.

In 2019, police arrested over 800 largely Black or Hispanic elementary school children in New York City ages 12 and younger, according to city data.

Legislative leaders will decide when to send the bills to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who would have 10 days to sign or veto it.

The parole bill, sponsored by Senior Assistant Majority Leader Brian Benjamin, a Democratic state senator whose district includes most of central Harlem, has exceptions for parole violations that could endanger public safety, including if someone incarcerated for driving under the influence then went out driving.

People could also receive “earned time credits” to encourage positive behaviour, and would have the right to counsel during the parole revocation process.

“This legislation recognises that people on parole who have committed no new crimes should be with their communities and families, not behind bars for missing an appointment,” New York Civil Liberties Union policy counsel Jared Trujillo said.

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