ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Luis Padilla remembers the terror he felt as a 16-year-old arrested on a robbery charge and locked up with adults in New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail. At one point, he pretended to be suicidal so he could be placed in the relative safety of a locked observation cell.
“Even now if I see a Rikers bus, I start to get jumpy and scared,” said Padilla, now 23, who was released after two months and now works nights at a warehouse in Harlem.
New York and North Carolina are the last two states that still prosecute all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in criminal court and house many in adult facilities. But changes may be coming.