Improving Youth Justice in New York City


A New York City initiative placing justice-involved youth under the supervision of local agencies and programs, instead of state in state facilities, has helped participants maintain community ties, stay connected with their families and remain in local schools, according to a new study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

The first phase of the Close to Home program brought New York City youth from the state's “non-secure” programs back to the city. A second phase, scheduled to begin in late March 2015, will bring back a more serious group of offenders.

The study found that since the program launched three years ago, juvenile arrests and delinquency probation intakes have fallen in New York City at greater rates than in the rest of the state.

In the years just before C2H, arrests were declining in the City and State, but the relative decline was smaller in New York City (–4% between 2009 and 2011 in New York City versus –18% in the rest of the State). After the beginning of Close to Home, the situation was reversed. Arrests in New York City fell more (–39%) than in other areas of the State (–24%),” the study's authors wrote.

Key findings include:

  • The Close to Home initiative is widely perceived to be an effective reform strategy for youth justice in New York. After two years of implementation, the initiative retained strong support from State officials, City officials, youth justice practitioners, and advocates.
  • hasFor many officials, present day costs are not the most critical indicator of C2H's success. They believe that C2H should eventually make the youth justice system more cost-effective by generating better youth outcomes and lowering crime rates.
  • More than two years into the C2H initiative, New York City operates more (and perhaps better) placement facilities, but advocates worry that the full array of community alternatives remains under-utilized.
  • Some advocates interviewed for this study are worried that if new C2H-funded placement facilities are of higher quality and produce better outcomes than the State's now-closed facilities, New York City judges might be inspired to use placement more often than before.

Read the full report HERE.

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