NEW YORK — Jordyn Lexton used to teach high school English to minors at Riker’s Island.
Until the day one student said, “No disrespect, I really appreciate what you’re trying to do here, but you are selling dreams.”
At this moment, she realized she wasn’t doing enough “to lower barriers for my students. If young people can’t access opportunities then they’re going to revert back to tactics that got them arrested in the first place. That was the moment for me where I recognized that I wanted to do something very direct when it came to re-entry,” Lexton said.
Editor’s Note: Nine national juvenile justice advocacy organizations collaborated on the statement below in response to the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting Michael Brown.
In 2010, Judge Michael Corriero, at the time the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters in New York City, decided to start something new. He founded an organization whose mission was to end New York’s practice of trying children as adults, The New York Center for Juvenile Justice.
While many university students were concerned about parking or trying to avoid long lines to get their books, Jalyn was trying to find a place to live. She and her family have been homeless since the summer of 2012. Some days she is able to eat twice a day, others only once. Her financial aid was put on hold because she has not been able to confirm a home address in Georgia.
When you step off the Q100 bus on Rikers Island, the scent of saltwater hangs in the air, at least in warm-weather months. Within a few feet, however, you’re staring at cement on cement and inhaling some combination of cigarettes, steaming blacktop and too many people. Continue Reading →
On a Sunday afternoon this past summer, a little boy who recently lost a baby tooth stood amid a throng of angry protesters marching their way from a house on East 229th Street through quiet residential streets in the Bronx to the 47th Precinct, where police brass waited behind a metal enclosure. The little boy held a bright red sign, difficult to make out since he was so small. Continue Reading →
Arlene Ward knew the choice she made that night would change the lives of the young people from the housing projects that define Manhattan’s Lower East Side skyline. She sat in the hospital room where her son’s dead body lay, still warm, a tube jammed down his throat after a gunshot to the chest. it.” Continue Reading →
NEW YORK — Ruben Rodriguez, a teen from the Bronx, is on Rikers Island, waiting to stand trial for homicide. By the time he returned to the Box (punitive segregation) in late September, City of New York Correction Department Commissioner Joseph Ponte publicly promised to end punitive segregation for Rikers’ roughly 300 juvenile inmates by 2015. Continue Reading →
To 16-year-old Samuel, the choice to leave his home in El Salvador became very clear. “The gangs were killing my family members, and they wanted to kill me,” Samuel said in Spanish through a translator. “They wanted to cut my fingers — mine and my sisters. And that’s the reason I came.” Continue Reading →