An evaluation of the Brooklyn Young Adult Court—a misdemeanor court for 16- to 24-year-olds—found fewer convictions and less use of jail for participants, with no discernible risk to public safety. The court provides social services and alternatives to traditional prosecution, partly in response to research showing young people have markedly different brain development from older adults. The report ends with recommendations for other jurisdictions looking to adopt a new approach to young adult justice.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys alike believe in the benefits of social service mandates for young people charged with misdemeanor offenses but differ over the usefulness of jail sentences, according to a survey and interviews of legal practitioners across three New York City boroughs. Those findings are contained in a report setting out current justice system practices for handling misdemeanor offenses committed by young people (ages 16-24) in New York City.