Senator Montgomery's Agenda to Save Young People's Lives

April 30, 2010

Senator Montgomery’s Agenda to Save Young People’s Lives
Excerpt from Urban Agenda column
By David R. Jones

The New York Amsterdam News
April 29 – May 4, 2010

New York State’s juvenile justice system does not work.  The goal of the system is to rehabilitate children who commit serious offences.  There are about 2,000 children in the system, all under 16 when they enter.  About 80 percent of those who enter the system return to it or go to prison within three years after their initial release.
Brooklyn State Senator Velmanette Montgomery recently announced a Juvenile Justice Reform Agenda to correct the system’s many abuses.  The agenda includes:
Re-Direct New York (S6711-B) would provide funding to counties to create alternative programs to rehabilitate youth and keep them out of detention facilities.  Alternative to Residential Placement (S6709) would require family court judges to sentence youth to community placement instead of detention facilities if appropriate and safe.  And Re-Invest New York (S6710-A/A10252) would require that savings from the closing of state-operated juvenile facilities be reinvested in the Juvenile Justice Smart Investment Fund to support community-based services to help youth.
Perhaps most importantly, the Educational Equality Training bill (S6713/A9805) would establish a pilot program to provide job and vocational skills training to youthful offenders.  This is a key provision if the juvenile rate of recidivism is to be reduced.  There is no sense in warehousing juveniles for several years and then releasing them without any education or skills that would provide them with ways to succeed on the outside.
To read the full Urban Agenda column in the Amsterdam News, click here: