The New York Bureau

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Current Juvenile Justice System ‘Designed to Erode Humanity’: Author

Burning Down the House

Just as the “superpredator” label had unfairly distorted perceptions of her young newspaper staff, writer Nell Bernstein said, youth incarceration as a whole is “a system custom-designed to erode humanity.”

“Once you put someone in an orange jumpsuit and put a label like ‘offender’ or ‘delinquent’ on him or her, it’s very easy to start thinking of that person as a different kind of child,” she said. Continue Reading →

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New Orleans Filmmaker Hopes to Get the ‘91%’ Out of Movie Seats, Into Ballot Box

91%: A Documentary About Guns in America by John Richie

NEW YORK — The filmmaker could not get the number out of his head. Even while he was traveling the country to discuss “Shell Shocked” — a movie about children killing children with machine guns in the streets of his hometown New Orleans — it was a number that kept John Richie up at night.

After a classroom of children were found in a lifeless pile, shot to death by Adam Lanza in Sandy Hook, Conn., with an assortment of guns including a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle, the country was awash in research and polling and charts about Americans and their guns. Continue Reading →

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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 →

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No Sentencing Yet for NY Gang Suspects

JJIE New York Metro Bureau logo

Friends and family of 35 alleged gang members from west Harlem filled the courthouse today. But decisions never came, leaving families frustrated and suspects awaiting judgment amid hostile tension in jail. Continue Reading →

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Sentencing of NY Gang Members Unlikely to Be Last Chapter in Harlem

Police roundup of gang members

NEW YORK — Residents of the Grant and Manhattanville housing projects in west Harlem have been subjected to a deadly gang rivalry spanning generations. This past June, the New York Police Department unleashed a squad of more than 500 police officers to raid the housing complexes and make arrests.

Six months later, the alleged gang members – ages 15 to 30 – wait to receive their sentences Wednesday. The NYPD maintains that arresting more than 100 potentially violent criminals in one fell swoop was a triumph.

Family, friends and neighbors wonder if this is simply a stopgap solution. Continue Reading →

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Teen Is Used to Being Behind Bars, Imagines Future There

Restrictions at New York City prisons and detention centers leave people with few options with regards to securing personal items while visiting inmates. Rikers Island Prison provide a limited number of lockers, and places like the Manhattan Detention Center  at 125 White Street in Manhattan are unable to provide any facilities for visitors. Local doughnut shops , newspaper stands, and a dispatcher for a van service to Rikers Island have come to the aid of visitors that don't want to leave their phones, electronics, and other contraband at home while visiting family, and friends inside the penal system.
A sign at the bus stop for Rikers Island details items that are not permitted on prison grounds.

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 →

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