New York

JS Publication October 28, 2016

Better by Half: The New York City Story of Winning Large-Scale Decarceration while Increasing Public Safety

Released in the midst of a growing national discussion about ending mass incarceration, a new publication highlights New York’s reversal on incarceration and offers lessons on how other cities and states can substantially reduce incarceration while promoting safety. 

In Better by Half, co-authors Judith Greene, Director of Justice Strategies, and Vincent Schiraldi, Senior Research Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Program in Criminal Justice, describe how New York City, which once struggled with overflowing jail populations and high rates of violent crime, cut its combined jail and prison incarceration rate by 55 percent and reduced serious crime by 58 percent between 1996 and 2014. 

By contrast, the national incarceration rate grew by 12 percent during the same time period, and was accompanied by a more modest decrease in serious crime of 42 percent. By 2014, New York City earned the distinction of having the lowest crime rate of the nation’s 20 largest cities, and the second lowest jail incarceration rate. And New York State had become one of three states (along with New Jersey and California) leading the nation in terms of prison population reductions. Read more »

JS Publication July 26, 2016

Zero Tolerance: A Case Study of Police Policies and Practices in New York City

This article by director Judith Greene first appeared in the Sage Publication journal Crime and Delinquency in April of 1999.  In it Judith argues that Zero Tolerance produced an increase in Civilian Complaint Review Board filings and lawsuits alleging police misconduct but not the decreases in crime its proponents claimed.  To assert this point the author presents a case study comparing New York City's Zero Tolerance policy with San Diego's problem oriented community policing that produced effective crime control with fewer negative impacts on urban neighborhoods.

News Article The New York Times October 9, 2015

Instead of Jail, Court Fines Cut to Fit the Wallet

Judy Greene, who directed America's first day fines program from 1987 to 1989 while at the Vera Institute of Justice, is quoted in this New York Times opinion page article by Pulitzer Prize winning author Tina Rosenberg.  The author advocates the use of income adjusted day fines as a fairer intermediate penalty for minor legal infractions, that could also provide a means for courts to avoid the use of costly jails.

News Article Slate.com September 3, 2015

This is a Fundamentally Different Way of Policing

Judy Greene and Patricia Allard, co-authors of The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same, our report on policing practices in Los Angeles, are quoted as saying of that department's efforts at reforming policing practices under the tenure of Bill Bratton as being, "Business as usual, wrapped in a bow" in this Slate.com article about the challenges facing Susan Herman, the NYPD's Deputy Commissioner for Collaborative Policing, and the prospects for reversing the Department's troubled policing history with the City's minority communities.  

JS Blog Post August 14, 2015

Effects of Parental Incarceration

Patricia Allard

The Brian Lehrer Show explores how families cope with parental incarceration. The show follows up on the Lawrence Bartley story that was covered on Anna Sale’s “Death, Sex and Money” (see blog post of February 19, 2015 for the full story).  Lawrence Bartley has been incarcerated for more than 20 years for a crime he committed as a 17-year-old. Now in this Brian Lehrer Show, “How One Family Copes with Incarceration," Mr. Lehrer interviews Anna Sale and Ronnie Bartley to find out more about how Mr. Bartley’s incarceration has affected his children and wife, Ronnie. Several other children who have been affected by their parent’s incarceration call in and share their experiences.Click on the link above and listen to the interview.

 

 

JS Blog Post April 23, 2015

Parental Incarceration's Destablizing Impact on Family and Community

Patricia Allard

When we speak of Family Integrity for All, we also mean family integrity for the caregivers who are compelled to step into the shoes of the parents who are incarcerated and let go of their role as grandmothers, grandfathers, brothers, sisters, etc.  I know from my experience of being raised by my grandmother, it was challenging for her in some ways. While my grandmother assumed a caregiver role, she was not alone. My mother, her daughter, was still around being a mother to me when she wasn’t away at work. So the joys of being a grandmother and a granddaughter were still experienced by my grandmother and me. I saw this vibrancy of our relationship until my grandma’s late age of 101. However, when the state incarcerates a parent, they are physically removing the parent, and other family members are forced to assume a role they were not intended to assume. What is lost of the natural, vibrancy of those relationships?  Take a look at what the experts have to say. This video from Echoes of Incarceration, Caring Through Struggle: Caregivers of Children with Incarcerated Parents, provides an incredible lens into how the criminal justice system destabilizes families and communities, but it also shows us the resilience that we hold in our spirit of resistance.

JS Publication March 27, 2015

Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in New York State

In this policy memorandum, Senior Justice Strategies Research Analyst, Patricia Allard offers suggested changes to New York State law that can help mitigate the negative impacts of parental involvement with the criminal justice system on their children.  These changes would help preserve family integrity by promoting alternatives to parental incarceration, provide for enhancing sentencing reports to courts, and other supports that could help these NYS families thrive.

JS Blog Post March 17, 2015

Sesame Street Made a Video, But It's Not Cute and It's Not Funny

Patricia Allard

Upworthy created a powerful video that presents the documentary initiative produced by youth of incarcerated parents, Echoes of Incarceration http://www.echoesofincarceration.org/Home.html. Read more »

JS Blog Post March 12, 2015

Advancing Family Integrity for All: Sentencing Reform Affecting Parents

Patricia Allard

Following the September 4th, 2014 Hill briefing – Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the USA (see January 2015 blog posts) - co-hosted by Justice Strategies and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Justice Strategies launched a much needed campaign, Advancing Family Integrity for All. It is time to refocus our attention on the children left behind as a result of parental incarceration. Children are the silent victims of our country’s tough on crime policies. By honoring the right to family integrity of children who have a mother or father facing a possible prison term, promoting alternatives to incarcerating parents, and offering the necessary socio-economic supports to help families thrive, we can finally prioritize children, families and communities while upholding public safety.  Advancing family integrity for all enhances public safety for everyone.

Advancing Family Integrity for All seeks sentencing reform at the federal and state level. We offer the following four principles as guidance for reform:

1. At the pre-sentencing hearing of an individual convicted of an offense, the Court should be required to ask whether the person is a parent; Read more »

JS Blog Post February 26, 2015

Garnering Support for Policy Change: Family Impact Statement

Allison Hollihan, Program Manager, Osborne Association’s New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents

This blog focuses on the needs of children and how Family Impact Statements (FIS) can ensure that the needs of children whose parents are involved in the criminal justice system are considered when important criminal justice decisions are made; it’s a story of progress and ongoing work to be done. A Family Impact Statement contains information about a defendant’s minor children and parenting responsibilities and describes how various sentencing options might affect these. When public safety is not compromised, FIS may support an alternative to incarceration or a shorter sentence length to minimize collateral consequences. However, FIS are not commonly used and garnering support for policy and practice change can be challenging. Here, we share how the Osborne Association’s New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents collaborated with New York State (NYS) probation professionals to encourage the inclusion of FIS in pre-sentencing investigation reports for the courts. Ultimately, we rebranded FIS as a Family Responsibility Statement (FRS) to garner the support needed to encourage the inclusion of information about a defendant’s children and parenting responsibilities in pre-sentence investigation reports developed by probation officers in New York State. Read more »

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