Raising the Age: The Drive to Change How Teenagers Are Prosecuted In New York Courts is my senior piece for the journalism major at Stony Brook University. I was interested in the criminal justice system and I wanted to focus my project in this field.  I started by researching news on Rikers Island, New York City’s largest jail complex. The jail was under intense pressure for its policies and its treatment of inmates at the time. Just recently, Rikers announced it will stop putting its adolescent inmates in solitary confinement. In my research, I also came across the Raise the Age campaign and Lorenzo Steele Jr.’s Behind These Prison Walls exhibition. Both these aspects tied into the topic of youths in prison and I knew I wanted to talk about that.

When I first began the project, I knew very little about the criminal justice system in New York. I wasn’t even aware you could be charged as an adult at 16 for crimes. Through my research and talking to people and organizations linked to Raise the Age campaign, I have come to understand the topic of youth incarceration a lot better. Piece by piece I put all the information together into a story and eventually into this site. All the calling, emailing and meeting with my sources for information has given me a wider perspective into a world I once knew nothing about. As a journalism student, I learned that people are willing to speak to you if you are persistent, prepared and knowledgeable about your topic.


get-attachment-4.aspxMarina will be graduating Stony Brook University this fall with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She wishes she had time to pick up a criminal justice minor after completing this project. Currently, she is a network editorial assistant at POPSUGAR. She has interned at places such as Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan.

To contact her, e-mail her at marina.liao2@gmail.com