KINGS COUNTY NEW YORK TASK FORCE
(Left) The Kings County, New York Task Force Meeting for the first time at the Initial Training Conference in Washington, DC.
The Kings County New York Task Force focused its efforts on youth in the criminal justice system, recognizing this as a pressing issue for the courts and community. As people of color are unfortunately over-represented in the New York City criminal justice system, the Task Force recognized that a reform to any part of the system would have a positive racial impact. The Task Force developed a pilot project targeting 16 and 17 year-old youth arrested on minor misdemeanor charges and arraigned in adult criminal court, a disproportionately large percentage of whom are youth of color. The project offered eligible youth adolescent-appropriate services and, in exchange for their participation, the court dismissed their cases upon program completion. The goal of the project was to have a constructive impact on the youth’s view of his or her future at a critical juncture in his or her life. The project’s experience will inform a broader state-wide effort aimed at rethinking the way our criminal justice system treats 16 and 17 year-olds. For more information, please click here.
Final Evaluation Findings:
Project Update! With funds provided by the Public Welfare Foundation, the Brooklyn Task Force will be sustaining their great work by initiating another round of juvenile diversion efforts. The first scheduled adjourn date was November 2013, with an additional adjourn date on December 2013. Congratulations to Brooklyn for their continued commitment. To learn more about this project click here.
What's Happening in Brooklyn! The Kings County New York Task Force welcomes Honorable George Grasso, of the Criminal Court of the City of New York, Kings County, as the newest member of the team. Judge Grasso was a former member of the New York Police Department, and was the former First Deputy Police Commissioner. Lance Ogiste, the Task Force's prosecution representative, was recently awarded the Thomas E. Dewey Medal, an award presented every year to an outstanding prosecutor in the office of each of the five District Attorneys.
Congratulations Lisa Schreibersdorf! Lisa Schreibersdorf, Executive Director of Brooklyn Defender Services and member of the Kings County Brooklyn Task Force, received the Judith Kaye Public Service Award on behalf of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York on June 6, 2013.
In The Press:
NEW YORK CITY ALLOWS CITIZENS TO CHALLENGE RACIAL PROFILING PRACTICES IN STATE COURT
The New York City Council has approved a measure to allow citizens to sue the New York Police Department in state court not only for individual instance of racial discrimination but also to challenge police practices that disproportionately affect racial minorities without serving any significant law enforcement goal. The bill, known as the Community Safety Act, passed by a veto-proof majority—vital because Mayor Michael Bloomberg has promised to veto the measure. The bill also expands the definition of bias-based profiling to include age, gender, housing status, and sexual orientation.
The Sentencing Project, 2013.
IMPROVING JUSTICE FOR ADOLESCENTS IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
The Criminal Justice Response to 16- and 17-Year-Old Defendants in New York, a new study from researchers at the Center for Court Innovation, documents how the justice system handles 16- and 17-year-old defendants across New York State. The report also examines the Adolescent Diversion Program, an initiative launched by New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman to improve outcomes for this population. To read the full report, please click here.
Center for Court Innovation, 2014.
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