Raise the Age

The Office for Justice Initiatives is committed to developing a court model that produces sustained positive outcomes for New York’s justice system involved youth. The OJI, in collaboration with state and local agencies, non-profit and child-serving organizations, and other stakeholders will promote necessary reforms and develop new strategies to establish a more efficient, and fair juvenile justice system.

On April 10, 2017, New York State raised the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years of age, ensuring that young people in New York who commit non-violent crimes receive the intervention and evidence-based treatment they need. By October 2019, New York will no longer automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.

The OJI will oversee the Unified Court System workgroup to implement legislation raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York through its full enactment in 2020.


About the Legislation

The critical provisions for raising the age of criminal responsibility will occur in two stages. The law will take effect for 16-year-olds on October 1, 2018, and 17-year-olds on October 1, 2019.

  • All 16- and 17-year-olds who commit non-violent crimes will receive the intervention and evidence-based treatment they need.
  • Adolescent Offender (AO) is a new category created by the Raise the Age legislation. AOs are 16- or 17-years-olds who are accused of committing a felony-level crime. These individuals have their cases heard in the Youth Part of Criminal Court.
  • Young people will no longer be permitted to be housed in adult facilities or jails. They are to be placed in specialized juvenile detention facility certified by the State Office of Children and Family Services, in conjunction with the State Commission of Correction.
  • The state will also create a Raise the Age implementation task force.
  • Individuals who have been crime free for ten years after serving a sentence will be able to apply for the sealing of previous criminal convictions. Individuals who were convicted of two or more felonies, a sex offense, violent felony, or other serious felonies will not be eligible to have their records sealed.


Related Information

New York State's Raise the Age website

Raise the Age Legislation

Application to Seal a Criminal Conviction after 10 years

NYC- Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice Raise the Age website