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  • Safe CommunitiesSuccessful Youth:A Shared Vision for the New York State Juvenile Justice System

    Strategy and Action Plan

    The New York State Juvenile Justice Steering Committee

    July 2011

  • WebelieveNewYorkStateispoisedtosignificantlyreformourapproachtojuvenilejusticeandtransformoursystem into oneof thebest inthecountry.Wehavepromisingeffortsto builduponand leadershipacrossthestate,acrossthesystem,andinthegovernorsofficethatiscommittedtochange.

    In NewYorkState(NYS),thejuvenilejusticesystem isahighly complexnetworkof public andprivateagencies, organizations, courts, policies,and procedures at a state and local level, and also includesmyriad connection points to other systems. Improving outcomes for youth and for communitiesthereforerequiresacoordinated,strategic effort bymultipleactorsworking towardasharedvisionandcommongoals.Thatvisionmustencompassalljuvenilejusticeagencies,courts,andotherorganizations,frominitialcontactandarrestthroughtoreentry.Itmust takeintoaccounttheneedsofyouth,families,andcommunities.Itmustalsoensurecoordinationwithotherrelevantsystems.

    Over thepast tenmonthswehavecome together as aSteeringCommitteeofkey leadersfromacrossthe state and from across the juvenile justice system and other systems to create such a vision.TheSteering Committee includes key senior leadership from city, county, and state agencies; privateorganizations(e.g.,voluntaryagencies,LegalAid);theadvocacycommunity;thejudiciary;and theNYCDepartment of Education.Wealso established threeexpandedWorkingGroups, eachwith a range ofsystemstakeholders,tohelpdevelopstrategies,goals,metrics,andcriticalnext stepstowardcreatingahighly effective system. Our process has included datadriven analysis, extensive interviews withstakeholders,andbenchmarkingofeffectivepracticesacrossNYSandthenation.Thisreportoutlinesthevision and provides the framework for a coordinated action plan that will drive us toward betteroutcomes foryouth andcommunities.This report isastartingpoint for change,andwill evolve in thecoming weeks, months, and years as we work together to build a better system for youth andcommunities.

    Theneedfor system improvement in ourstateisgreat,andwebelievethat itwill takethe jointeffortsand commitment of all stakeholders to transform thesystem.Thevisionwe have developed togetherreflectsourdeep commitment toimprovingthe livesofyoungpeople,strengtheningour communities,andensuringpublicsafety.Together,wecanmakethisvisionareality.

    Sincerely,CamiAnderson,formerlyofNewYorkCityDepartmentofEducationLaurenceBusching,NewYorkCityAdministrationforChildrensServicesSeanByrne,DivisionofCriminalJusticeServicesGladysCarrin,OfficeofChildrenandFamilyServicesHon.MichaelCoccoma,CourtsOutsideofNewYorkCityJohnDonohue,NewYorkPoliceDepartmentElizabethGlazer,OfficeoftheSecretarytotheGovernorJacquelynGreene,DivisionofCriminalJusticeServicesEmilyTowJackson,TowFoundationJeremyKohomban,TheChildrensVillageTimothyLisante,NewYorkCityDepartmentofEducationRobertMaccarone,OfficeofProbationandCorrectionalAlternativesJamesPurcell,CouncilofFamilyandChildCaringAgenciesGabriellePrisco,CorrectionalAssociationofNewYorkKristinProud,NewYorkStateExecutiveChamberKellyReed,MonroeCountyDepartmentofHumanServicesHon.EdwinaRichardsonMendelson,NewYorkCityFamilyCourtVincentSchiraldi,NewYorkCityDepartmentofProbationTamaraSteckler,LegalAidSocietyMicheleSviridoff,NewYorkCityCriminalJusticeCoordinatorsOffice

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    LetterfromSteeringCommittee

  • Calls for reform of the juvenile justice systemhave been echoing acrossNewYorkState (NYS) for years, yet never before has the state been so poised fortransformation.Withstrongmomentumfor change,committed leadership,and thestrategicgoals laid out in this shared vision,the time is ripe for the statetoput inplaceoneofthenationsmosteffectivejuvenilejusticesystems.

    Process

    TheSteeringCommittee (SC)hasspentthepasttenmonthsdevelopingthissharedvisionandstrategicactionplanforreformingtheNewYorkState juvenilejusticesystem,fromthepointofinitial contact to aftercare and reentry.ThreeWorkingGroups supported the SC, each withmembershipspanningthejuvenilejusticesystemandothersystemsandfromaroundthestate,to provide feedback on the strategies and action steps on coordination and accountability,effectivecontinuum,anddatasharinganduse.TheeffortwasfacilitatedandmanagedbyFSG,a nonprofit researchandconsultingfirm, and took place betweenSeptember 2010 andJuly2011.

    Aspartofthiswork, theSCaskedFSG toexplore perspectives fromstakeholdersacross NewYorkandthe restofthecountry. Inall,FSGinterviewedandconductedfocusgroupswithwelloveronehundredindividuals,includingsysteminvolvedyouth;parents;leadersandotherstafffrom city, state, and county agencies, private organizations, advocacy groups, the judiciary,related systems, nonprofit organizations, and foundations; as well as with national juvenilejusticeexperts,andstatesandotherjurisdictions thathadrecentlyundergonereform.Itisalsoimportanttonote thatGovernorDavidPatersonsTaskForceReport,strategicplanningeffortsundertakenbyNewYorkCityandtheJuvenileJusticeAdvisoryGroup(JJAG),andotherpastandcurrentreform initiatives have provideda foundationfromwhichwe conducted thisplanningprocess.

    Theeffortwasfundedwithgenerouspublicandprivate supportfromananonymousdonor,theDavidRockefellerFund,NewYorkCommunityTrust,NYSDivisionofCriminalJusticeServices(DCJS),OpenSocietyInstitute,PinkertonFoundation,ProspectHillFoundation,PublicWelfareFoundation,andtheTowFoundation.

    CurrentState

    The NYS juvenile justice systemmust betterdeliveronits responsibilities tokeep the publicsafe andtorehabilitate youngpeople.The currentsystem is oftenineffective, inefficient,andunsafe.Despitestateannualplacementcoststhatareamongthehighestinthenation,thevastmajority ofyouthwhopass throughthe deependofthe system(less than3%of youthwho

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    Overview

  • encounterthe system) returnas adultoffenders.1 InNYS,over60%ofyouth are rearrestedwithintwoyearsofreleasefromstate custody.2Partsofthe stateplacementsystemareunderU.S.DepartmentofJusticeoversightandare the subject of a lawsuitforbrutalconditions ofconfinement,andthesystemdoesnotensurethe safetyofallyouthandsystemprofessionals.Inthefaceofahistoricallypunitiveandhighlycomplexsystemandaseverebudgetcrisis inthestate,wemustmovetoamoreeffectivemodel.

    NewYorkis poisedforreform.Thereis tremendousmomentumbuildingacross thestate,withmultiple factorsunderscoringthe timeliness,urgency,andpotentialforchange.There is greatwork tobuildupon.Previouseffortsaroundthestateare largelyalignedwiththis work.BothGovernor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have publicly made the case forjuvenilejusticereform.LeadersacrossNewYorkCityhavedevelopedacityreformstrategyandroadmapthatdovetailswiththevisionandgoalsoutlinedbytheSteeringCommittee.Wenowhave demonstratedexamplesofwhatworks.Localities inNewYorkStateare alreadymakingchanges to reflect this knowledge, and many of these changes are yielding significantimprovementsinyouthandpublicsafetyoutcomes.

    GuidingPrinciples

    Inordertobuildasuccessfulsystemthatis responsivetoandmeets theneeds of all stakeholders including the public, localcommunities,systemprofessionals,involvedyouthandtheirfamilies,andvictims the juvenile justice systemmustbegrounded in four overarching principles: fairnesstreating youth equitably at all points in the system,regardless offactors including race, ethnicity,genderidentity, sexual orientation, religion, or parentalinvolvement; effectivenessproviding systeminvolved youth with a continuum of timely,contextually appropriate, youth and familyguided,communitybased, evidenceinformed options thatreducerecidivismandpromoteyouthsuccesswhilebeingvigilantnot to involve youth further intothe system thannecessary; safetyensuring the safety of systeminvolvedyouth, the public, victims, and system professionals; andaccountabilitywhere systems, agencies, courts, and other organizations, are individually,collectively,andpubliclyresponsibleforandheldaccountableforachievingresults.

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    1StateofNewYorkJuvenileJusticeAdvisoryGroup,StateofNewYork,20092011:ThreeYearComprehensiveStatePlanfortheJuvenileJusticeandDelinquencyPreventionFormulaGrantProgram,http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/ofpa/pdfdocs/jju3yearplan2010.pdf.2SusanMitchellHerzfeld,VajeeraDorabawila,LeighBates,andRebeccaColman,JuvenileRecidivismStudy:PatternsandPredictorsofReoffendingAmongYouthReenteringtheCommunityfromOCFSFacilitiesandVoluntaryAgencies,PowerPointpresentationattheNewYorkStateDivisionofCriminalJusticeServices,April27,2010.

    Overview

    http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/ofpa/pdfdocs/jju3yearplan2010.pdfhttp://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/ofpa/pdfdocs/jju3yearplan2010.pdfhttp://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/ofpa/pdfdocs/jju3yearplan2010.pdfhttp://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/ofpa/pdfdocs/jju3yearplan2010.pdf

  • TheVision

    We are committed toa visionfor a juvenile justice system thatpromotes youthsuccess andensures public safety across NYS.We seek notto incrementally improve the juvenile justicesystem,but to transform it.Our vision is ambitious, andwe aim tomake significant systemimprovements by 2016.Todoso,we mustmake toughdecisions, address funding andpolicygaps,improvehowwework togethertowardcommongoals,driveculture change,pursueandtrackcommunity andyouthoutcomes,and recognize the inherentinterdependence betweenyouthsuccessandpublicsafety.The visionwehave developedtogether,alongwithoutcomesthat define success, and components of system excellence we will pursue to deliver thoseoutcomes,aresummarizedinthediagramthatfollows.

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    TheVision

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    TheFutureSystem

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