Bendett: Age Should Not Impact Punishment for Committing a Felony

Assemblyman Scott Bendett (R,C-Sand Lake) joined Senate and Assembly members of the Minority Conferences and local district attorneys to voice concerns over Raise the Age (RTA) legislation and announce a new bill to combat RTA’s ineffectiveness. RTA legislation went into effect in 2018 and changed the minimum age a child can be prosecuted for a crime from 16 to 18 years of age. The new bill announced today will help prevent adolescent offenders from simply being transferred to family court after committing violent felonies.

According to recent Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) RTA statistics, in 2021, only about 9 percent of 16- and 17-year-old offenders arrested for a felony were actually convicted of a felony, many of them instead being removed to family court where they were not held criminally responsible for their actions. Bendett believes this needs to stop.

“Individuals who commit crimes must understand there are consequences for their actions,” said Bendett. “New Yorkers deserve safety and those affected by crime deserve peace of mind. Those who commit serious offenses need to be held accountable, and the practice of letting young offenders off the hook simply because they haven't turned 18 yet is not accomplishing that necessity. If RTA remains unchanged, we will see the same offenders arrested again and again well into adulthood.”