U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Line Drawing: Raising the Minimum Age of Criminal Court Jurisdiction in New York

NCJ Number
Jeffrey A. Butts; John K. Roman
Date Published
February 2014
25 pages
This report examines the need for raising the minimum age of criminal court jurisdiction in the State of New York.
This report, developed by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, examines the need for raising the minimum age of criminal court jurisdiction in the State of New York. The report is designed to inform efforts by the New York State Commission on Youth, Public Safety & Justice to develop a strategy for changing policies that have established the lower boundary for criminal court jurisdiction at age 16. The report is divided into several sections that examine the reasons for changing the age of criminal jurisdictions and reviewing the implications of such changes, examining the relationship of jurisdictional age to serious crime, and reviewing the experiences of States that have already changed their jurisdictional age laws. The report also examines the costs associated with implementing the policy changes. A set of conclusions resulting from the analysis is included in the report. Highlights from these recommendations include the idea that research suggests that adolescents who violate the law belong in a court system designed to respond to the unique characteristics of adolescents; youth may be affected more negatively by contact with the current criminal justice system than are older, adult defendants; nearly every State in the country has experimented with crime policies that "criminalize delinquency" by lowering the age of criminal court jurisdiction and/or transferring more youth to criminal court, with research showing how these policies have failed; and New York should raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility at least to age 18, and it should consider modifying practices and policies for adolescents over age 18 as well because the best science suggests that adolescent development does not end on a person's 18th birthday. Tables, figures, and references