Another addition to the makeshift memorial for the two officers  who were shot and killed Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn.

[Photos] A Tale of Two Cities

“Government must focus on the needs of families, must be the protector of neighborhoods and must guard the people from the enormous power of monied interests. Now my friends, it can be done, but not by elected leaders alone. It requires average New Yorkers who simply refuse to allow their community’s voices to be stifled. It’s their spirit that I intend to sweep into City Hall. A spirit that shouts that all boroughs were created equal and that all our residents matter! So, let’s be honest about where we are today. This is a place that in too many ways has become a tale of two cities. …” — Bill de Blasio

Protesters Seek NYPD Policy Change in Spirit of Dr. King

Azra Tahirovic holds a hand-drawn portrait of King.

NEW YORK — The image and words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. could be seen and heard everywhere the Dream4Justice march went, from Harlem to Midtown, Monday afternoon. But as the marchers walked a slow and peaceful four miles over as many hours, King’s voice mixed with the protesters’ now familiar chants: “I have a dream” alongside “I can’t breathe” and “No justice, no peace.”

King’s memory brought organizers and protesters together but the marchers’ demands came from more recent deaths. In memory of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others who had been killed by police, the march ended near the United Nations to bring attention to police brutality as a human rights issue. Marchers called for immediate policy change at the city and state levels in keeping with King’s philosophy. “We are non-violent but we are not peaceful,” said Tamika Mallory, an organizer and board member of The Gathering for Justice. Continue Reading →

Gov. Cuomo Commish: New York State Should Raise the Age to 18

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York state should raise the age that youths can be tried and convicted as adults to 18, a commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo recommended Monday. Cuomo, speaking in Albany, said he planned to propose the recommendations of the Governor’s Commission on Youth, Public Safety & Justice as a legislative package to the State Assembly. In a 164-page report, the commission said its recommendations would reduce by 1,500 to 2,400 the number of crimes against people across the state every five years while saving taxpayer dollars. And pointing to states including Connecticut and Illinois that have raised the age of criminal responsibility, the report said recidivism and juvenile crime rates can be lowered through “evidence-based” interventions that steer nonviolent young offenders out of the juvenile justice system and into family mental health or other services. “Extensive research on the significant negative impacts on adolescents of incarceration in adult jails and prisons has brought a sense of urgency for reform,” the report stated. Continue Reading →

‘Dual-Status’ Kids Endure Another Kind of Double Jeopardy

Click to view full interactive map on the JJGPS website.

So-called dual-status youth, those in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, present enormous challenges. Many of the children are chronic runaways who have suffered from severe physical or emotional abuse, neglect and abandonment. They typically come from troubled homes often beset by domestic violence, substance abuse and mental illness.

Historically, the juvenile justice and other child-serving systems have not worked together. That’s starting to change, albeit slowly.

The complexities of dealing with dual-status kids notwithstanding, success stories show how breaking down barriers between the juvenile justice and child welfare systems can make all the difference in a child’s life. Continue Reading →

Georgia Earning a Name for Juvenile Justice in a New Way

Newton County Juvenile Court

Newton County is one of four sites in the nation chosen by the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps to serve as a demonstration project — to show how the juvenile justice court can work with DFCS, other children-serving agencies and the community to identify dual status youth and get them the help they need. Continue Reading →

Grassley Demands DOJ Respond to Fraud Allegations

Senator Charles Grassley

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Grassley has asked the Justice Department to respond to whistleblowers’ claims that it fraudulently paid millions of dollars in grant money to states that should not have received the money because they incarcerated nonviolent juvenile offenders with adults in violation of federal law.

In a six-page letter sent Wednesday to Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason, who heads the Office of Justice Programs, Grassley detailed the allegations that the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) had knowingly violated federal law by giving the grants to states that incarcerated runaway youth, foster children and other “vulnerable minors.” Continue Reading →