Upcoming Event: Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach Putting Principles into Practice – Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach (the report) was first published in 2012. This webinar will review the emerging science on adolescence, the recommendations of the report, and how practitioners are implementing the recommendations. The report’s recommendation that practitioners take steps to aid the shift toward an evidence-based, developmentally informed approach to juvenile justice is embedded within the Reclaiming Futures model. The presenter will lead a discussion on the advances that are being made in juvenile justice reform. Finally, practical tools and ideas will be explored for implementing a developmentally informed approach to serving justice-involved youth within our communities. It is recommended that participants review “Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Development Approach”, Practitioner Highlights, June 2013, prior to the webinar.
To download the brief and to learn more info on the presenters, click here.


Mass Incarceration’s Toll on Women

“Families throughout the U.S. know that the burdens, pain, and trauma of mass incarceration extend to women and girls in uniquely terrifying ways. The U.S.incarcerates more women than any other nation in the world: more than China, Russia, India, Mexico, and Thailand combined. Like men, they experience rape behind bars, sodomy, solitary confinement, too frequently the denial of adequate medical care, and disparate sentences related to drug offenses. Disproportionately, females behind bars in the U.S. are women and girls of color… Reports that the population of women in prison grew by 832% in the period between 1977-2007–nearly twice the rate as men during that same period. This staggering increase now results in more than one million women incarcerated in prison, jail, or tethered to the criminal justice system as a parolee or probationer in the U.S.” Read more, here.

On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, a congressional briefing will be held on Women, Girls, and Mass Incarceration.Screen shot 2016-02-22 at 12.46.43 PM.png

“Nearly 113,000 women are locked up in state and federal prisons. They make up approximately 7 percent of the country’s prison population. More than half (or 59 percent) of women are in federal prisons for drug offenses. That might seem like a startling statistic until you realize that these women make up only 6.5 percent (or 7,500 women) in the country’s women’s prisons.  In state prisons, women with drug offenses account for 24 percent (or 22,000 women). Combined with the number of women in the federal system, that’s a total of 29,400 women imprisoned for drug crimes. In contrast, 34,000 women are in state prisons for violent crimes. Discussions about rising rates of female incarceration — and the changes needed to curb it — ignore these women. That’s because their stories are messy, complicated and include victims who have been harmed or killed.” To learn more about how current proposals for criminal justice reform fail incarcerated women, read here.

Traveling Exhibit on Mass Incarceration

The National Endowment for the Humanities is funding a traveling exhibit that displays the collective memories on prisoners. “Leading up to the launch of the exhibition, teams of students and people directly affected by incarceration from 20 cities will explore their communities’ experience with this pressing issue,” a press release announcing the project said. “The work of each team will be compiled into a collective, multi-faceted portrait of incarceration, past and present, framed by the key questions these histories raise.” The traveling exhibit will kick off at the New School in New York City in April. Universities involved in the project include Brown, Duke, Rutgers, and the University of Texas. See more here. 

Stop-and-Frisk Still Lingers

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On February 16th, 2016 “the court-appointed monitor overseeing reforms to the New York City Police Department’s unconstitutional stop-and-frisk practices filed his second interim report on the steps taken to date to implement the court’s orders in the Center for Constitutional Rights’ landmark case, Floyd v. City of New York. While the number of stops the department conducts continues to decrease, the percentages of Black and Latino New Yorkers being stopped remain disproportionately high. The monitor reports that there are still a substantial number of unconstitutional stops, and that supervisors are failing to catch and flag them. He begins his report writing that “Ultimately, this a challenge of leadership, particularly at the levels that interact most directly with the officers engaged in enforcement—sergeants, lieutenants, captains, precinct and unit commanders.” We are well aware that Stop-and-Frisk is a policy that impacts New York’s youth; to learn more, click here for updates from the Center for Constitutional Rights. To read about NYPD’s faulty data collection around Stop-and-Frisk, click here.

“Another critical piece of the effort to reform the police department is the court-ordered Joint Remedial Process (JRP), which is intended to solicit substantive input from directly-affected communities as well as other stakeholders on further reforms to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices. The court-appointed facilitator for the JRP has now convened 40 focus groups in different locations, with different populations, including youth of color, LGBTQ youth, homeless people, and recently incarcerated people. The information collected will be combined with other input to shape recommendations for further reforms.” To learn more about the Joint Remedial Process, see here.

The New York Times recently published an article, “A Black Officer’s Fight Against the NYPD,” which reveals some of the alarming but unsurprising policies used by the NYPD  that reinforce the racial divide and mistrust of police in communities of color.”Between 2011 and 2013, the publicity surrounding the [Floyd vs. City of New York] prompted the department to all but abandon the tactic — the number of annual stops fell by more than two-thirds over two years — but, according to Raymond and others, the pressure to arrest people for minor offenses has not let up. ‘‘Every time I read the paper, I thought, Why do they think the problem is stop-and-frisk?’’ Raymond says. ‘‘Although stop-and-frisk is unlawful, and it’s annoying, you’re not going to not get a job because you’ve been stopped and frisked,’’ he says. ‘‘You’re going to get denied a job because you have a record.’’

“In August 2015, Raymond joined 11 other police officers in filing a class-action suit on behalf of minority officers throughout the force. The suit centers on what they claim is one of the fundamental policies of the New York Police Department: requiring officers to meet fixed numerical goals for arrests and court summonses each month. In Raymond’s mind, quota-based policing lies at the root of almost everything racially discriminatory about policing in New York. Yet the department has repeatedly told the public that quotas don’t exist.” To read this insightful piece into the divide in the police department (and in the communities they serve) caused by racially discriminatory practices, see here.

Investigation into New York’s Family Court

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In a recent report for the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs, Abigail Kramer discusses her findings from a journalistic investigation into New York’s Family Court system. To read the Child Welfare Watch Special Report, click here. Pro Publica interviewed Kramer regarding her report. To view this interview, click here.

Close Rikers for Kalief Browder

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“The speaker of the New York City Council shook up the political landscape this week when she announced a slate of reforms aimed at reducing the population at Rikers Island in order to realize the “dream” of shutting down the city’s infamous jail complex. The proposal by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, which included setting up a commission headed by the state’s former chief judge, drew the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, while Mayor Bill de Blasio called it “noble” but “very difficult.”’ The Marshall Project published an interview with Kalief’s mother, Venida Browder on this topic. Read it here.

A Personal Appeal to End Solitary Confinement

Screen shot 2016-02-22 at 3.02.08 PM.pngKalief was not the first and has not been the last person to be placed in long-term solitary confinement at Rikers Island. Candie Hailey describes in this article, her experience in solitary confinement. “Six weeks after her arrival at Rikers Island, an argument over who should clean a jailhouse shower sent Candie Hailey to solitary confinement – known as “the bing.” It was the first time, but it would not be the last. A month later, records show, she cursed and spit at a guard and resisted when she was put in a hold. Ninety-five days in the bing. She later got 70 days for cursing at an officer, splashing the guard with toilet water and refusing to stop. Among other infractions: fighting (40 days), disrespect of staff (30 days) and blocking her cell window (15 days). Of her first 29 months in jail, Hailey served about 27 alone in a 6-by-10-foot cell, with a bed, a toilet and a few books to pass the time. When she did go outside, it was just for one hour in 24. And she had yet to be tried for any crime, let alone convicted. To read more, see here.