Parents of Young Man Who Died In Prison: It’s ‘Disgraceful’ That State Republicans Haven’t Raised The Age

For Douglas Van Zant and Alicia Barraza, the push to end the prosecution and punishment of juvenile offenders as adult criminals is personal and tragic. Their only child, Benjamin, killed himself in a New York State prison in 2015, ending a hellish four-year odyssey through the criminal justice system that began when he was 17 years old.

On Valentine’s Day, Benjamin’s parents plan to call for a change in the law to end the criminal prosecution of children as adults, by raising the age that offenders can be treated as adult criminals from 16 to 18.