Spotlight on Juvenile Justice: The Political Landscape
The visions of leaders of key juvenile justice and child welfare agencies in New York are now more aligned with advocates’ agendas than at any other time in recent history. Since her 2007 appointment as Commissioner of the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)—the state agency that operates juvenile prisons—Gladys Carrión has persistently addressed the system’s entrenched problems, such as high recidivism rates and the disproportionate confinement of youth of color, and has worked closely with JJP and other advocates to develop an ambitious reform agenda. Vincent Schiraldi, the new Commissioner of the NYC Department of Probation, has likewise called for sweeping changes in the treatment of youth caught up in the system. Both leaders have demonstrated a commitment to advancing more therapeutic, less punitive models of juvenile justice, greater use of evidence based alternative programs, and placements closer to young people’s communities.
Experience has shown us it is a serious mistake to de-emphasize the role of the advocacy community in times of progressive reform. Strong advocates like the CA are crucial to maintaining accountability and transparency and to making certain that government advances and implements the right reforms. Additionally, even the most reform-minded government officials are limited by the scope of their individual roles, budgetary realities and the larger political context in which they work. And while the current administration is reform-minded, an over-reliance on individual government officials can eventually backfire if political winds shift.
The New York Times in this editorial today is saying what we at the CA have been reporting on for decades: without any any transparency and accountability, the abuse of people who are incarcerated will persist and those who are responsible will still act with impunity. Until accountability is the norm and not the exception, the abuse -- and in some cases, loss of life -- will continue.Read More
Outside the New State Office Building in Harlem on a hot summer day, prison reform advocates stand with NYC Quakers. They oppose solitary confinement and demand an end to the inhumane treatment of inmates. Right now about 5000 inmates in NY are in the shu. They are in solitary. Some are held for 23 to [...]Read More
Prison Monitoring Reports
Attica Correctional Facility, a 2,000-bed maximum security prison in western New York, continues to operate as a symbolic and real epicenter of state violence and abuse of incarcerated persons in the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) state prison system 43 years after the 1971 prison uprising and violent suppression by state authorities. The [...]Read More
Gabrielle Horowitz-Prisco, director of the Correctional Association's Juvenile Justice Project, testified before the New York State Legislature on the Governor’s proposed budget for 2013-2014.Read More