Mayor Bloomberg has proposed that the city take over full responsibility for the juvenile justice system in New York City. According to the City Hall press release , the plan calls for the city to substitute the placement of juveniles in far flung upstate facilities with local placement facilities in New York City. The city paid the state 62 million dollars in fiscal year 2010, an increase over prior years that includes the cost of the state operating nearly empty facilities with a full compliment of staff. At a cost of $220,000 a year per juvenile, Mayor Bloomberg argues “there is a better way to help kids get back on track, while saving taxpayers millions.”
New York City has benefited from recent efforts to address juvenile delinquency through community-based supervision and programs long advocated for by juvenile justice experts and community groups. Fewer juveniles are entering state placement and the city is increasingly using local evidence-based programs to address juvenile delinquency with some success. The recent merger of the city's Department of Juvenile Justice and Administration for Children's Services is part of the a larger effort to improve outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system.
Ironically, the city is suing the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and its crusading Commissioner, Gladys Carrión, who has earned the ire of unions and many upstate law makers for her push to close near empty state juvenile detention facilities that rely on New York City kids to populate them. Opponents argue that removing juveniles from state detention facilities will have a devastating impact on the local communities where these facilities are located. The city's position is that local detention and treatment programs cost an average of $17,000 per child annually, far less than the current system, and have better outcomes; the recidivism rate for state run facilities is 81% for males. The Mayor is also proposing that some of the state's savings from the closure be re-directed to support local efforts to address juvenile delinquency.
Read the Daily News article on the Mayor's plan here.