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Conditional Pardons Issued in New York for Former Juvenile Offenders
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Andrew Cuomo

Summary: Approximately 10,000 former juvenile offenders in New York may get the chance to have their criminal history pardoned after Gov. Andrew Cuomo gives them a second chance at an easier life.

Conditional pardons for around 10,000 former juvenile offenders are being issued in New York by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The pardons will allow the offenders to not disclose convictions on credit, employment, and other applications.


Cuomo explained that those with nonviolent and misdemeanor charges when they were 16 or 17 will receive a pardon after a decade free of other crimes. Those with convictions starting in 2004 will be invited to apply through the state website. Cuomo stated of his decision, “They were young and made a mistake. Don’t give them a hardship their entire life.”

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Organizations like the Raise the Age Campaign argue that the age of responsibility in New York should be raised from 16 to 18. They claim that those charged and convicted as adults when 16 or 17 have higher rates of committing new offenses. The Campaign states, “Reducing collateral consequences for young adults who served their time and have become law abiding citizens is critical for ensuring access to education and employment as well as housing options.”

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Currently, New York and North Carolina are the only states to automatically charge 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. While Cuomo agrees that eliminating criminal history questions from job applications would be unfair for employers and society from protecting themselves, he knows that it is very hard for offenders to get a job after indicating on job applications that they have committed a crime.

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Cuomo firmly believes that everyone deserves a second chance that has earned it, “We spent all of these years believing that if we punished every offender enough without any relief in the future, every crime would disappear. What we ultimately did was give a life sentence of stigmatization to kids who made a mistake and drive more towards crime, because society told them for the rest of their lives that that’s what they were – criminals.”




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