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Jonathan Lippman: New York’s ‘Pro-Activist’ Judge

Judge Jonathan Lippman

A life-long New Yorker, Jonathan Lippman, chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, uses his role as the chief judge to promote alternatives to incarceration and backed the creation of nine pilot community courts, called Adolescent Diversion Courts. Not quite family courts, not quite criminal courts, Lippman describes them as “problem solving courts” overseen by judges who have received special training for trying non-violent youthful offenders and can connect the teens with services and programs outside of incarceration. But observers say the judge is by no means soft on crime. Continue Reading →

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Foundations Pledge Nearly $200M to help Boys, Young Men of Color

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Eleven major foundations have pledged to spend a total of nearly $200 million for efforts to help boys and young men of color succeed, in concert with President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. The foundations said in a 12-page executive summary to a still-unreleased report that the funds are to spent over the next three years – what they hope will be the “first steps in what will be longstanding commitments from these and other funders.”

Not all 11 foundations are helping fund all the efforts. The biggest chunk of the funds, more than $81 million, is to go toward “comprehensive reforms needed to dramatically reduce racial and ethnic disparities in, and the overall use of, confinement for boys and young men,” the executive summary said. “Reliance on the juvenile and criminal justice systems locks too many young men and boys of color out of opportunity before they fully have a chance to start on the path to adulthood.”

The executive summary provided little detail on specifically how the money is to be spent for that or other efforts. The full report, “A Time for Action: Mobilizing Philanthropic Support for Boys and Young Men of Color,” is expected to be released this fall. Continue Reading →

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A Celebration of Peace in a Community Touched By Gun Violence

Young girls sit together at the "Children's Day of Peace" event at the Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway.

At a children’s summer party last Saturday afternoon at the Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway, Penny Wrencher made an introduction between two friends. “This is Nene,” Wrencher said to Taylonn Murphy, “She lost her daughter, too.” Continue Reading →

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Federal Complaint Challenges Texas Town’s New Ban on Housing any Border Kids

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Civil rights groups filed a federal complaint Tuesday challenging a Texas city’s ban on providing housing to “refugees” or foreigners such as the Central American children who’ve been turning themselves in at the border. Continue Reading →

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