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.
( Sept. 9. 2018,The Guardian) Inmates within America’s overflowing prisons are marking the end of a 19-day national prison strike on Sunday with a new push to regain the vote for up to 6 million Americans who have been stripped of their democratic rights.Read More
Staten Islanders had the opportunity Thursday night to briefly experience one of the hardest parts of our nation’s penal system. A group of advocates brought a makeshift solitary cell to the South Shore YMCA in Eltingville to show people the level of isolation inmates can face. The model was constructed by Doug Van Zandt, of [...]Read More
Reports & Research
“Solitary at Southport: A 2017 Report Based Upon the Correctional Association’s Visits, Data Analysis, & First-Hand Accounts of the Torture of Solitary Confinement from One of New York’s Supermax Prisons”
“The isolation itself is torture. Mentally and emotionally, it breaks you down. Spiritually it strips you. The way it is built is to break you down as a person and push your family away.” From “Solitary at Southport” Solitary confinement is torture. New York State subjects people to solitary confinement and other forms of isolation [...]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