Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The NY Daily News reports nine potential witnesses of the beating death of Christopher Robinson, 18 have be silenced by attacks or threats by Bloods who fear gang leaders could be convicted. Sources say that “Blood leadership has passed down orders to go after anyone they think might testify.” Read the full article here. To learn more about gang-related intimidation of witnesses read a report by the National Gang Center here.
Monday, April 11, 2011
The New York State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group published its 2010 Annual Report to the Governor and Legislator entitiled, "Tough on Crime: Promoting Public Safety By Doing What Works."
The Author's write: "New York remains one of only two states in the nation that treats sixteen year-olds as adults. And New York spent much of the 1980’s and 1990’s first building, and then wrapping in barbed wire, facilities to incarcerate children, reaching a high of over 2300 incarcerated children in 2000. For all that, almost every child in our system returns as an adult offender."
Today's New York Law Journal includes an article by our colleague Alfred Siegel, Deputy Director of the Center for Court Innovation, describing New York's juvenile justice reforms. Click here to read the article.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Yesterday, Task Force staff attended and presented at the Confronting Gangs and Bullyism: Comprehensive Perspectives and Solutions conference sponsored by Council for Unity, the United Federation of Teachers, and Teamsters Union. The conference brought together criminal justice, youth services and education leaders from around the city. In a showing of support, all five New York City District Attorney’s attended the event and spoke. Other speakers included, Dr. Pedro Noguera, Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University, Dr. David Brotherton, Chair of the Sociology Department at John Jay College, and Brian Fisher, Commissioner for the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Service. The most poignant moment of the event came when two formerly incarcerated Council for Unity adult participants who are also former influential gang leaders spoke about their transformation after a short film showing a CFU meeting in the jail involving one of the speakers. CFU programs are active in schools, jails and prisons.
The Justice Center’s project director, Chris Watler, presented on a panel entitled: What Can the Judicial System Do About gangs? Mr. Watler was joined by former Judge Michael Corriero, Executive Director of the New York Center for Juvenile Justice, and Honorable Doris Ling-Cohan, Justice of the NYS Supreme Court. Judge Ling-Cohan highlighted youth courts and the Center for Court Innovation as an example of the type of work the court system is doing to address juvenile delinquency and crime.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The Harlem Youth Court, a program at the Harlem Community Justice Center, trains local teenagers to serve as jurors, judges and attorneys, handling real-life cases involving their peers. The goal of Youth Court is to use positive peer pressure to ensure that young people who have committed minor offenses pay back the community and receive the help they need to avoid further involvement in the justice system. The Harlem Youth Court handles cases involving young people, ages 13 to 18, who have been cited for low-level offenses, such as vandalism, fare evasion, assault and truancy. The Youth Court receives referrals from local schools, youth programs, the New York City Police Department, NYC Department of Probation, and soon the District Attorney’s Office. The Harlem Youth Court holds young people accountable for their actions by requiring them to pay back the community for their crimes. Respondents admit responsibility for their actions as a condition of participation. A jury of their peers imposes sanctions that emphasize accountability, repairing harm done to the community, and providing respondents with meaningful activities. Sanctions include community service, letters of apology, essays or skill building workshops on various topics such as conflict resolution and goal setting. Youth Court staff work closely with respondents to ensure that they complete sanctions as mandated, and inform referral sources of compliance.
This week reporter, Jeff Mays of the DNA info Manhattan Local News, visited the Harlem Youth court. Youth Court member shared their desire to help their peers before they reach the justice system. Youth Court members are motived by the desire to be future lawyers or judges and Youth Court give members a insight to the justice system. Read about one respondent's case by reading the article here.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Mayors Against Illegal Guns launched a website, Trace the Guns. The website examines where guns recovered in crimes were originally sold by gun dealers, using 2009 data collected by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). It also demonstrates how state gun laws help curb illegal gun trafficking. In New York 65.5% of guns recovered are imported from Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Visit the website to learn more about other statistics and state laws that curb illegal gun trafficking.