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Raise the Age changes proposed by District Attorney


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) -Under Raise the Age legislation, offenders between the ages of sixteen and seventeen are not charged as adults. A string of 33 cases from May to July of 2023 have caught the attention of the District Attorney’s Office for allowing troubled teens back on the streets.

District Attorney David Soares and his staff are looking to make changes to Raise the Age starting with local legislature. In response to Tuesday’s Lexington Avenue investigation, Soares disagrees with the outcome.

“Those individuals get to go back home and have breakfast with their families. The system is broken,” stated Soares. Especially in a case where guns and drugs were involved for a seventeen and two sixteen-year-olds.

When it comes to changing the system, the Albany County Legislature does not want the pendulum to swing too far in the opposite direction. Legislator Wanda Willingham sharing a story from Rikers Island, a jail in New York City, where she says one young man was given too large of a lesson.

“When he came out, he went off the roof of his own doing. It’s how we got here and why that law is in place. It is because of a lot of what went on downstate,” described Willingham.

The county still plans to work with the DA’s office to find a better solution to the issue. “Anything I can do to help you and our law enforcement community, you let me know. And let this committee know because I’m sure we all feel the same way,” explained Legislator Gary Domalewicz.

The DA plans to meet with the legislature again, as well as other state officials to find a better way to justice. Below is a list of data on cases involved with Raise the Age from May to July of 2023 as well as a breakdown from the DA’s Office:

  • Total Cases = 33
  • – Violent = 21
  • – Violent Offenders = 18
  • o Involve a gun – 13
  • o Gun Discharged – 5
  • – Non – Violent = 12
  • Non-Violent Offenders = 10
  • Total People = 28

“The 21 violent felony charges were committed by 18 People. Out of the 18 Violent Felony Offenders, 12 have been re-arrested. Out of those 12, 4 have been arrested two or more times within the months of May – July. Of the 12 Violent Offenders who were re-arrested, 11 previously committed, or went on to commit at least one more violent felony offense either as an AO/JO or as an adult.”

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