KINGS COUNTY, BROOKLYN TASK FORCE
Project update! On December 14th 2012 the Project Director, Salma S. Safiedine, and the Project Evaluator, Inga James, traveled to Brooklyn New York to view the Juvenile Diversion Program in progress and discuss data collection and analysis of the pilot.
The Kings County, New York Task Force hired a consultant to analyze data collected in all 2009 DWI cases in Brooklyn. However, his research did not reveal a statistically significant racial disparity in sentencing once all factors were taken into account. The task force immediately refocused 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 BTF recognized that a reform to any part of the system would have a positive racial impact. The Task Force has developed a pilot project targeting 16 and 17 year-old youth arrested on relatively minor misdemeanor charges and arraigned in adult criminal court, a disproportionately large percentage of whom are youth of color. The project offers eligible youth adolescent-appropriate services and in exchange for their participation, the court will dismiss their cases immediately. The goal of the project is to have a constructive impact on the youth’s view of his or her future at a critical juncture in their 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.
What's Happening in Brooklyn! The Kings County Brooklyn 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.
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