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Minority Reporter Education Edition Week of October 21 - 27, 2013

Minority Reporter Education Edition Week of October 21 - 27, 2013

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Published by Dave McCleary
Local, national news and features serving the African American community in Rochester, New York
Local, national news and features serving the African American community in Rochester, New York

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Published by: Dave McCleary on Oct 21, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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october 21 - 27 
from information to understanding
october 21 - 27,
2 www.minorityreporter.net|
october 21 -27
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october 21 - 27 
Ofe Ae:
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cOPy EdItOr
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Minority Reporter, Inc. is a family of publica-tions and other media formats committed tofostering self awareness, building communityand empowering people of color to reach their greatest potential. Further, Minority Reporter,Inc. seeks to present a balanced view of relevantissues, utilizing its resources to build bridgesamong diverse populations; taking them frominformation to understanding.Minority Reporter reserves the right to edit or reject content submitted.The opinions expressed are not necessarily thoseof the publisher.Minority Reporter does not assume responsi- bility concerning advertisers, their positions, practices, services or products; nor does the publication of advertisements constitute oimply endorsement. Minority Reporter invites news and storysuggestions from readers.Deadline for all copy is Tuesday at noon.Call 585-301-4199or email info@minorityreporter.net.
Minority Reporter 
“Raise the Age NY” Campaign Calls on Gov. Cuomo to Treat Youth Like Youth
By Delani WeaverNew York and North Carolina are theonly two states in the naon that sllcharge 16- and 17-year-olds as adultsfor crimes. An esmated 50,000 16-and 17-year-olds are arrested in NewYork each year, whether for a felonyor misdemeanor, and once they’rearrested they are prosecuted as adults.If they are found guilty and sentenced,they’re sent to adult correconalfacilies.A press conference was heldWednesday morning at the Centerfor Youth on Monroe Ave., whereseveral city of Rochester supportersof the “Raise the Age NY” campaigncalled on Gov. Andrew Cuomo andother legislators to change the age of children who are charged as adults to18 when a crime is commied.The Children’s Defense Fund of NewYork is leading the eorts. Therewere several speakers at the event,including The Children’s Agenda’spresident and chief child advocateDr. Je Kaczorowski, Carlos Garcia,execuve director of Partners inRestorave Iniaves, Colin O’Malley,organizing director of Metro Jusce,Melanie Hartzog, execuve director of Children’s Defense Fund of New York,and George Moses, execuve directorof North East Area Development Inc.City Councilmember and execuvedirector of the Center for Youth ElaineSpaull was also one of the speakers atthe press conference, an event thatwas aended by over 50 supporters.“We have been trying very hard toconvince people across the state thatNew York is only one of two statesacross this country that sll prosecutes16- and 17-year-olds as adults, nomaer what the crime,” Spaull said. “Itcould be shopliing or it could be rstme possession, it could be criminalmischief. Whatever it is, they wouldbe prosecuted as adults and possibly,more than likely, if they did have togo to jail they would be in an adultfacility.”Approximately three out of every fourarrests of juveniles, which accountfor 75.3 percent of arrests overall,are for misdemeanors. In the city of Rochester, 2,245 16- and 17-year-oldswere arrested in 2010 alone, 88.1percent for misdemeanors and non-violent oenses.According to campaign advocates,placing young teenagers into adultfacilies leads them to commit newand more serious crimes once they arereleased more oen than those whoare kept within the juvenile juscesystem.“In the past twenty years, we havebecome afraid of our own children,believing that locking them up is thebest response,” said Spaull. “Now, werealize that we have created a systemthat can change the course of a youngperson’s life, reduce their oponsand set them on a path of furtherinvolvement with the criminal juscesystem that we certainly did not intend.Age-appropriate intervenons willserve our youth and our communitymuch beer.The campaign is stressing to thegovernor and legislators that the adultlegal system fails to provide childrenand teenagers with the eecveintervenons and services to whichthey are most responsive.Children placed in adult facilies aresubject to being vicms of violenceand denied the treatment to redirectthem, ocials said.Studies show that youth in adultprisons are twice as likely to reportbeing beaten by sta, and 50 percentmore likely to be aacked with aweapon than children placed in youthfacilies. Young people are also 36mes more likely to commit suicidein an adult facility than in a juvenilefacility.“The community here in Rochester andaround the region recognizes that 16-and 17-year-olds lack the cognive andemoonal maturity needed to legallypurchase alcohol; vote; get married; oreven get a taoo,” said Angelo Pinto,Raise the Age campaign manager atthe Correconal Associaon of NewYork. “Yet, our state allows these sameyoung people to be quesoned bythe police without parental consent,incarcerated alongside adults in adult jails and prisons, and permanentlysgmazed with the mark of a criminalconvicon. It is me to do what worksfor both young people and publicsafety: Treat youth like youth, andraise the age of criminal responsibilityin New York.”Spaull said that Monroe CountyDistrict Aorney Sandra Doorley is insupport of the call for change, but hassome concerns.“She’s apprehensive about the ideafor young adults who are violentoenders,” Spaul said. “For example,if you have a 15-year-old like MichaelPilato, who started a re on purpose,as an arsonist, and it killed three of his siblings and his father, she’s notinterested in having that person betreated as a child. So with non-violentoenses, she’s totally in agreement.We’re more focused on the age of theperson rather than the crime, but weunderstand that a violent oense isquite dierent than a misdemeanor ora lower-level felony.”“The original intent of our criminal jusce system was not solely topunish, but to transform andrehabilitate oenders while protecngthe community from harm,” Doorleysaid. “Children entering that system,however, can be crippled by theexperience, re-entering society scarredand alienated, posing a greater threatto the community than they wereprior to their original oense. Anyproposed changes to current law willrequire the careful scruny of thoseof us involved in law enforcement aswell as all New Yorkers, but I applaudthe Children’s Defense Fund and mycolleague Kathleen Rice for taking upthis cause and beginning the discussionsurrounding this important issue.Kyle Chambers is a formerly-incarcerated young man fromRochester who commied a crime,was charged as an adult and servedme in an adult facility. Chambersrecently graduated from the Centerfor Youth’s New Beginning schoolprogram, is employed and plans toaend college in the winter semester.“As a 16-year-old, surrounded by grownmen in a locked facility, with no way todefend myself, and knowing that thesemen could seriously hurt me, thatwas a nightmare and something youcan never imagine,” he stated. “Evenworse than you see on television.Serving me in an adult facility was alife-threatening experience. There wasno jusce. I didn’t know myself when Igot out. I was frightened and angry. If I had not found the Center for Youth,I would likely be incarcerated or deadnow. Being incarcerated at the age of 16 almost ended my life.”
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