On April 21st, 2015 the Center for New York City Affairs hosted Reforming Juvenile Justice: Is ‘Close to Home’ Working, as part of their De Blasio Series. The Close to Home Initiative is a collaborative effort between New York City and New York State that ensures more appropriate placements for New York City youth. This reform is intended to increase the efficiency of the juvenile justice system and also provide a group home-like detention for juvenile offenders instead of sending them to scandal-plagued Upstate facilities. Experts on the panel came together to discuss whether ‘Close to Home’ is living up to its promise.
Jeffrey A. Butts, Ph.D., director, Research & Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Edward Fabian, assistant vice president, Adolescent Residential Care, Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services
Martin Feinman, attorney-in-charge, Juvenile Rights Practice’s Brooklyn Office, Legal Aid Society
Felipe Franco, deputy commissioner, Division of Youth and Family Justice (DYFJ), Administration for Children’s Services
Dr. Jeremy Kohomban, president and chief executive, The Children’s Vision
The discussion also included the perspective of Rian Bryan, exalt participant and former non-secure placement resident.
View the full live stream.
The New York Times also presented the perspective of one community in this piece. South Ozone Park Residents argue that they are not against the Close to Home initiative, they are against the inappropriate placement of the facility.
The CSG Justice Center highlights a brief by The Pew Charitable Trusts providing an overview of state juvenile justice legislation changes in Hawaii, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, California, Texas, Ohio, and Virginia. It also discusses the shift in public opinion on incarcerating youth.
In Hilary Clinton’s Speech on April 29th, 2015 she called for a re-evaluation of prison sentences and trust between police and communities. Mrs. Clinton addresses the effect of mass incarceration on families and young people as well. Both the Time and the Huffington Post covered this story. Al Jazeera also covered a story on how mass incarceration has specifically affected West Baltimore. They mention that “Maryland’s state budget allocates $17 million each year just to this single neighborhood…[yet] That money goes not to job training, family services or education, but solely to incarceration.”