Commission on Youth, Public Safety, and Justice Meeting 
Tuesday, July 29, between 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m
One Pace Plaza, Pace University, Student Union (Level B)
New York, NY 10038
Find the link to the event here:
Click on the above  link to an important Raise the Age event where where key participants from the Commission on Youth, Public Safety & Justice and other invited speakers will hold a public forum to discuss various perspectives on the Raise the Age effort and also provide an opportunity for the public to address the Commission.
Also, we strongly encourage you to invite other advocates, funders and concerned citizens from your networks so that this event benefits from strong attendance and participation

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Class-action Suit: Kids in Immigration Court with No Lawyers to Help

A coalition of civil rights groups filed a nationwide class-action suit last week alleging that putting children into immigration court without counsel violates both constitutional due-process rights and immigration law.

To read this article click here

Kids On Hook For Limitless Sums After Crimes

To say that juvenile restitution is complicated is an understatement. It’s a process that wrestles with two competing philosophies around the idea of justice: justice for victims who have the right to be paid for their losses — even when the offender spends time in jail — and justice for juvenile offenders, who need to be held accountable but also allowed to move on from their crimes, and from the system.

This story is part of Double Charged, a special report on the U.S. juvenile justice system produced by Youth Radio.  In this article you can also find a link to Youth Radio’s Innovation Lab which invites you to follow along with a few characters so you can watch as the court related costs add up.

To read the article click here

Cops and Community, How to Repair a Broken Relationship

It is difficult to repair a broken relationship, one built on years of distrust. It is especially tough if you are the parent of a child forever getting caught up in the juvenile justice system, knowing their kid can be harassed and possibly injured or arrested for simply walking down the street.

So how can we as a community come together to mend this problem that has damaged countless lives for far too long?

To continue to this article click here. It was written by Alton Pitre, a 23-year-old native of Los Angeles, Calif. He is a juvenile justice ambassador, studies journalism at LA Valley College and was recently accepted to Morehouse College

The Criminalization of Black Youth and the Rise of Restorative Justice

Along with racial profiling and other legal harassment, like stop-and-frisk, being pushed through a window by police has apparently become a new reality for brown-skinned kids. Yet how is such aggression and violence justified by law enforcement, and are these incidents to be imagined as mere coincidence – or explained as reflective of black pathology rather than police pathology?

To continue reading click here

The MacArthur Foundation and SAMHSA Select States for a New Initiative to Aid Youth with Behavioral Health Needs

The MacArthur Foundation and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently announced that Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Tennessee have been selected to participate in the Improving Diversion Policies and Programs for Justice-Involved Youth with Behavioral Health Disorders: An Integrated Policy Academy-Action Network Initiative.

Click to Learn more.

Senators Booker and Paul Introduce the REDEEM Act

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the REDEEM Act (The Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment Act), which aims to reduce barriers to employment created by having a criminal record.

  • Incentivizes states to increase the age of criminal responsibility to 18-years-old by offering preference to Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant applications for those that have set 18 or older as the age of original jurisdiction for adult criminal courts.
  • Offers adults a way to seal non-violent criminal records.
  • Provides for automatic expungement of records for kids who commit non-violent crimes before they turn 15 and automatic sealing of records for those who commit non-violent crimes after they turn 15 years old.
  • Restricts use of juvenile solitary confinement.
  • Lifts ban on SNAP and TANF benefits for low-level drug offenders.

Click to Learn more.

A New Report Explores Strategies To Serve Youth in Their Communities

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) has released Close to Home: Strategies to Place Young People in Their Communities. This policy brief describes strategies for juvenile justice stakeholders to reduce the number of young people placed in secure facilities. Key strategies include developing a decision point to review alternatives to out-of-home placement, building a local continuum of placement and treatment options, and reducing lengths of stay in facilities at various points in the system.

Click to Learn more.


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The Two Sides of Raise the Age in New York

In April, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the members of the Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice, created in part to address raising the age of criminal responsibility. The commission is tasked with serving up concrete recommendations about raising the age and juvenile justice reform by December.

But with high-profile cases like Kahton Anderson’s (a 14 year old boy charged in the shooting death of a man on a public City bus this past March) making the news, public support of Raise the Age legislation isn’t unanimous.

To read more click here


The Rise in Prison Inmates Released Without Supervision

Despite growing evidence and a broad consensus that the period immediately following release from prison is critical for preventing recidivism, a large and increasing number of offenders are maxing out—serving their entire sentences behind bars—and returning to their communities without supervision or support.

A new Pew report, Max Out: The Rise in Prison Inmates Released Without Supervision, found that 1 in 5 inmates maxed out in 2012, up from 1 in 7 in 1990. The report highlights variations in state max-out rates, from a high of 64 percent in Florida to less than 1 percent in Oregon, and offers a policy framework for reducing max-out rates.

To read more click here


Keep Legal Protections for Kids Crossing Border, Rights Groups Say

The surge of unaccompanied youth crossing from Mexico into the United States has become a political issue, with the White House facing pressure to expedite the return of kids to their home countries.

President Obama has urged Congress to add immigration judges and detention facilities to speed up the legal process required by law.

Child welfare and immigrants’ rights groups fear the legal process could be fast-tracked and warn that many of the youth face violence at home and need a full review of their situation.

To keep reading click here


Hawaii Enacts Broad Juvenile Justice Reform
Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) on July 2 signed a landmark package of juvenile justice policy reforms to steer lower-level offenders away from the state’s security facility and redirect much of the savings into evidence-based community supervision strategies to help reduce recidivism and help troubled youth move toward productive, law-abiding lives.

The law was passed unanimously by the Hawaii House of Representatives and Senate and is projected to reduce the population of the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility by 60 percent, saving $11 million over the next five years.

To access this article click here 

Teens in Isolation: State Advisers to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission Hold Briefing on Juvenile Solitary Confinement in New York

Appointed in July 2013, committee members in New York chose to focus on juvenile justice within the state, looking specifically at education, solitary confinement, and the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

To read more click here


Locked Up, Left Behind: Juvenile Justice System Failing Southern Youth

“The most disadvantaged, troubled students in the South and the nation attend schools in the juvenile justice systems,” the 2014 report from the Southern Education Foundation begins. The document, Just Learning: The Imperative to Transform Juvenile Justice Systems into Effective Educational Systems raises a number of questions: If so many children with educational needs are segregated or incarcerated, what will become of them and the society they will enter once they age out of the system? Are their needs being met? What can be improved?

To read this article click here and to access the report click here


Changing the Odds for Boys and Men of Color

A responsible approach to criminal justice can make our communities safer, save tax dollars and help all of us, but our current system is falling terribly short — at great economic, human and moral cost. Most acutely, our juvenile and criminal justice systems present tremendous barriers to success for boys and young men of color. That’s why it is exciting to see the White House courageously joining forces with philanthropic leaders to address this issue head on.

In February of this year, President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative focused on fixing the persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color, including addressing racial and ethnic bias within the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.

To continue reading click here

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A Model for Juvenile Justice Reform

An editorial from NY Times highlighting how recent reforms pushing community guidance programs are spreading across the country, which is all well and good for minor offenders. However the article points out that young people with more serious charges are still entangled in a system that relies on solitary confinement, an ineffective and in fact harmful intervention.

To read more click here

Report Finds Incarceration Doesn’t Work, Community Engagement Does

Read this thoughtful op-ed by local NYC juvenile justice advocate Ruben Austria. He writes about a new study by the Youth Advocate Programs Policy and Advocacy Center (YAP) that shows that by relying on strength based approaches it is indeed possible to keep youth Safely Home rather than lock them away, as the report he cites is titled.

To read the article click here and to access the full report click here

The Criminal Justice Response to 16- and 17-Year-Old Defendants in New York

This report documents how the justice system currently handles 16- and 17-year-old defendants in New York State and presents an evaluation of the Adolescent Diversion Program, a pilot program, launched by NY State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, that links these defendants to age-appropriate services in nine counties.

To access the Center for Court Innovation summary and other relevant resources click here

Law Enforcement Discusses Plans for Harlem Houses After Raid

Phase I was swift, comprehensive and over in a couple of hours. It was executed with military efficiency and resulted in dozens of arrests and 103 charges. And as a meeting this week showed, that means the launch of Phase II, which remains a work in progress, will involve lots of “partnering,” patience and the promise of more meetings in airless rooms, outfitted with drinks and an assortment of snacks.

To read more click here

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New interactive website tracks trends in juvenile detention

The National Center for Juvenile Justice has launched a new interactive website that tracks regional and national trends in the laws and policies for dealing with young offenders.

The site, called Juvenile Justice GPS, includes several maps and graphs that allow users to track and compare state policies in six different juvenile justice categories. One interesting use for the map includes a function to compares the states that treat 16 and/or 17-year-old offenders as adults to states that use 18 as the cut-off.

Click here to read more

Mayor Stands by Police Commissioner on Harlem Raids, Promises More

Mayor Bill de Blasio promised more controversial raids in the city’s public housing projects like the one that swept through the Manhattanville and Ulysses S. Grant Houses last week. Dozens were arrested during the 6 a.m. raid as part of 145-count indictment charging 103 people, some teenagers, in a multitude of gang crimes.

The mayor’s comments came a week after NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton, in an unusual symbolic gesture, led what he called the largest gang raid in the city’s history.

To read this article click here


At 6 a.m. on Wednesday June 4, hundreds of police officers in flak jackets swept through both the Manhattanville and Grant Houses in West Harlem in the largest gang raid in the city’s history.

Click here for a visual recount of events

Juvenile Recidivism Measurement Inconsistent Across States

A quarter of state-level agencies across the country do not currently collect or report juvenile recidivism data, according to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators and the Council of State Governments. The survey, which went out to 50 states and Washington, D.C., found that 33 juvenile corrections agencies reported recidivism data on a regular basis, five reported infrequently and 13 did not report or collect this type of data at all at the state level.

For this article click here

Notes on Push for Juvenile Justice Act Reauthorization

Are we on the verge of a fresh reauthorization?

Many juvenile justice advocates would like to think so. But with JJPDA, it has been more than a decade of tremors without an earthquake since the last update in November of 2002- and the update is sorely needed to address issues ranging from how to treat status offences, how to strengthen efforts to combat disproportionate minority contact to restoring serious cuts in funding.

To read more click here

The tragic, maddening failure of America’s juvenile justice system

This article briefly summarizes a compelling new book,Nell Bernstein’s Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison. Bernstein is not the first writer to tackle the problem. But she adds vital context to the tragic story.

She eloquently argues that what children need most to break out of these cycles of destruction are stable relationships with adults they can trust and respect. What these young offenders need, in other words, are adults in the juvenile justice system who have the patience and the compassion and the wisdom and the incentive and the training to draw them out from their cycles of crime. But, Bernstein tells us, “virtually every aspect of our juvenile justice system” is “designed to disrupt and deny relationships.”

Click here for the article

From Jails to Joblessness:  Why Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth Need More Than Just a Job 

Studies show that although transitioning youth that hold jobs may be less likely to engage in criminal activity, there is no direct causal relationship between finding employment and less recidivism.  Instead, research suggests it’s actually the change in a young person’s antisocial attitudes and beliefs associated with crime – rather than the paycheck – that accounts for their shift away from crime.  Or, to put it another way, employment is only helpful to the extent that one can keep a job.  A new job must be coupled with new behavior in order to help lower the risk of recidivism.

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Manhattan DA: Young Defendants Hurt by Broken Prosecution System

In a spirited and candid discussion Tuesday morning between elected officials and researchers at a conference on incarceration reform at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said that the business model of how his office operates “does not make sense” and that it fails young, minor offenders who pile up misdemeanors until they face serious consequences in the criminal justice system.

To read this article click here

Taking Aim at School Suspensions

Strict discipline policies have led to the suspensions of millions of students yearly in the U.S., mostly for minor infractions—a practice that makes them more likely to fall behind, drop out and end up in the juvenile justice system, according to a report being released Tuesday.

To read this article click here and to access the larger report (entitled The School Discipline Consensus Report) click here


New York-based photographer Robert Stolarik documents the response from community members in the Bronx where 14-year-old Javier Payne was allegedly pushed through a window by the NYPD.

To check out this exhibit click here

Divesting from youth incarceration

Taxpayers, families and kids are paying for a juvenile justice system that incarcerates tens of thousands of youth every year in the United States.

We aren’t getting our money’s worth and to find out why click here

Which State Will Be the Last to ‘Raise the Age?’

“Raising the Age” is part and parcel of the juvenile justice system this country needs and our youth deserve

To continue reading click here

Bronx Workshop Underlines Troubled Relationship Between Youth of Color and NYPD

A workshop in the Bronx is educating citizens on their rights when it comes to interactions with the NYPD

For this article click here

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Double Charged: The True Cost of Juvenile Justice

Double Charged is a special investigation into the U.S. Juvenile Justice system, produced by Youth Radio. Click here to listen in on the 1st of a 2 part series where young people report on the juvenile justice system across the country.  

Infographic: From Disability to Criminality

Our series “Life Cycles of Inequity” explores the ways in which inequity impacts the lives of black men. Each month, we focus on a life stage or event in which that impact has been shown to be particularly profound.

The infographic below is part of a package focused on implicit bias in schools

Click here to check out more infographics and learn about the project

Governor Quinn Announces Illinois’ First Pay for Success Project

Governor Pat Quinn announced the state’s first Pay for Success (PFS) contract will increase support for at-risk youth who are involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems in Illinois. Also known as Social Impact Bonds (performance-based contracts backed by private investment), the first contract awarded under this innovative initiative will go to One Hope United, in partnership with the Conscience Community Network (CCN). Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure that all Illinois youth have the opportunity to follow their dreams and reach their full potential. To read more click here

OJJDP to Consolidate, Re-Compete Funds for Juvenile Facility Training, Information Sharing, & State Advisory Groups

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention will end funding for three training and technical assistance projects, then roll the work into one grant up for competition this year, The Chronicle of Social Change learned yesterday.

The grantees affected by the shift at OJJDP are:

  • National Partnership for Juvenile Services (NPJS), which oversees the National Center on Youth in Custody
  • IIR, which provides training and technical assistance on juvenile information sharing
  • ICF International, which assists and supports the state advisory groups (SAG) that distribute delinquency prevention funds in each state and territory. To read more click here

Reversing the Criminalization of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teens

Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama Administration have pledged to reduce America’s mass incarceration problem and, to their credit, serious efforts are underway towards that goal. But there remains at least one piece of the policy puzzle that requires immediate attention, and offers particular promise to make a lasting impact on incarceration: a mandate that juvenile justice facilities adopt policies that address the unique needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and gender-non-conforming youth.

To read this article with a few concrete proposals for youth justice systems click here

A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People Living with HIV

The report is one of the first to offer comprehensive federal policy recommendations to address cycles of criminalization and discriminatory treatment faced by LGBT people and PLWH

For the full report click here

For the report summary click here

And for recommendations for federal agencies click here

Attorney General Holder Criticizes Excessive Use of Solitary Confinement for Juveniles with Mental Illness

Speaking in a video message posted on the Justice Department’s website, Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday called for an end to the excessive use of solitary confinement for youth that suffer from mental illness.  Attorney General Holder said the practices can have lasting, substantial effects on young people that could result in self-harm or, in some cases, even suicide.

To read more click here

Campaign Urges Governors to Stop Putting Youths in Adult Jails and Prisons

The Washington-based Campaign for Youth Justice is leading an effort to urge U.S. governors to stop allowing youths to be placed in adult jails and prisons.

To find out more click here

Easing Drug Laws the Answer to the Nation’s Drug, Prison Problem – Or Precursor to More Crime?

Many laws, especially drug laws, have punishment lengths that do not fit the crime, he and other critics explain. In fact, a recent report titled “Nation Behind Bars: A Human Rights Solution,” explains that unnecessarily long sentences contribute to America having the world’s highest reported rate of incarceration.

To continue reading this article click here

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