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New York StateUnified Court System

Court Initiatives


Adolescent Diversion Parts

Young people ages 16 and 17 are processed as adults within the confines of the criminal justice system. The Court has implemented a separate Diversion Effort to improve court outcomes for youth charged with non-violent offenses, designed to help these young people avoid the legal consequences of conviction and realign them with a law-abiding trajectory and a productive future. Currently operating in nine counties, a variety of youth-specific sentencing options are available including: community service, conflict resolution, civic responsibility and educational goal setting sessions.  As of August 4, 2014, over 6,000 adolescents have been diverted to these innovative court parts.


Current Proposal to Address Young People in Criminal Court

The Unified Court System strongly supports a bill proposed by then-Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman that significantly addresses the way that the Courts addresses the 16 and 17 year old population. These reforms combine the best features of Family and Criminal Court in order to produce the best possible outcomes while attaining accountability and public safety. These strategies include: allowing local probation to divert appropriate cases without reaching court, and creating Youth Division parts in superior court. As New York’s Commission on Youth, Justice and Public Safety continues to research and evaluate the logistics of Raising the Age of juvenile court jurisdiction, Judge Lippman’s proposed changes remain an innovative approach to improving outcomes for justice-involved youth.

2011: STSJP and Risk Assessment Instrument
In 2011, New York State enacted legislation as part of its budget for State Fiscal Year 2011-2012 that marked the launch of a statewide comprehensive juvenile detention reform agenda through the inclusion of two provisions designed to serve as a foundation for widespread juvenile detention reform over the long term: 1) the creation of the Supervision and Treatment Services for Juveniles Program, a fiscal incentives program that reimburses counties for alternative-to-detention programming  2) A requirement that all counties use - and implement in a manner approved by OCFS - an empirically validated detention risk assessment instrument, approved by OCFS, to inform detention decisions in juvenile delinquency cases.

2012: Close to Home Initiative
This combined effort of the New York’s ACS and OCFS focused on the importance of a youth’s community, and aimed to keep youth closer to their homes. New York City will gradually acquire youth who have been found delinquent and sent to limited secure and non-secure facilities. This phased plan allows the youth to receive the best possible service provision, while allowing youth to remain near the communities they will ultimately be returning to.

2012: Juvenile Reentry Strategic Plan
Understanding that youth will eventually reenter society, DCJS in collaboration with OCFS held a statewide reentry summit in December 2012. This summit highlighted the best practices for improving successful reintegration for delinquent youth back into their community, focusing on transitions into schools, healthcare, and family engagement. A strategic plan was released with comprehensive recommendations to improve reentry policies and practices within NYS.

2013: Regional Youth Justice Teams 
Taking into account the regional similarities and differences between jurisdictions in New York, the Division of Criminal Justice Services released an RFP in 2013 to create nine separate regional youth justice teams. These teams act as the conduit between each region and State policy makers providing a regional voice at the State level for channeling technical assistance, juvenile justice expertise, local data and information in regards to best practices back to the local region. These teams will provide a venue for local communities and city, county and state agencies to engage in formal communication and planning around juvenile justice issues. This year, the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group created a targeted request-for-applications specifically for the RYJTs to support the local collaborative efforts, and the implementation of innovative and data drive practices. For information, please visit:

2013: Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative
Annie E. Casey’s major juvenile justice investment has gained notoriety with over 20 years of proven success. In 2013, New York was selected to be the next state to enter into the JDAI Family. Six sites (Albany, Erie, Onondaga, Orange, Monroe, and Nassau Counties) were selected to begin the journey; through significant technical assistance from national experts, these sites have convened a collaborative group of local stakeholders dedicated to changing the way these jurisdictions handle detention. This process includes a significant data analysis of juvenile justice numbers, as well as budget allocations to see where dollars are being spent. For more information, please visit:

2014: Commission on Youth, Justice and Public Safety
As a result of a gubernatorial directive, New York State is seriously evaluating the logistical implications of raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction. This commission convenes national experts, and state policymakers in order to deliver specific recommendations to increase New York’s juvenile court age from 16. Since first meeting in early 2014, the committee will be releasing a report with calculated action steps to make this necessary reform.