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Cuomo Announces Initiative to Keep Youth Out of Jails

By Faith Jessie.
An initiative to improve New York's criminal justice system along with helping the state's at-risk youth was announced Sunday.

The Right Priorities initiative is Governor Andrew Cuomo's 13th proposal of his 2016 Agenda.

“For all the progress we have made, far too many of our young people end up trapped in our criminal justice system with no path out – and it’s time that changed,” said Governor Cuomo. “It can't be that every door is closed except the revolving one back into prison. We must break this vicious cycle for the betterment and safety of our communities and countless families across the state.”

The initiative includes a couple of programs aimed at educating at-risk youth and providing opportunities to steer them away from jail.

Cuomo proposes to invest $100 million dollars to the Community Schools program which will transform failing schools and high needs schools into schools that encourage the communities to work together to ensure every student is prepared.

He also proposes to invest $55 million dollars to the Urban Youth Jobs Program, which will combat the high unemployment rates among inner city youth.

Cuomo is also seeking justice for 16 and 17 year-olds. In the proposal he outlines a re-introduction of legislation to raise the age of criminal responsibility from age 16 to age 18 so that children are not subject to adult criminal proceedings expect for serious crimes.

Providing alternatives to incarceration and improving education in prisons were among the other items outlined in the proposal.