Vincent Schiraldi, whose advocacy of less restrictive detention for juvenile offenders has been both praised and criticized, is leaving as director of the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services to head New York City’s probation department, reports the Washington Post. Schiraldi led the juvenile justice agency for almost five years and most recently oversaw the closing of its Oak Hill Youth Center.
Youth advocates praised Schiraldi’s nurturing tendencies and the outlets the agency provided, such as acting in a Shakespeare troupe and providing free lawn service for elderly residents. Leaders in the Fraternal Order of Police questioned whether Schiraldi was too lenient. “D.C. is now safer, and New York is a little less safe,” said Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the union. “He was absolutely open about his belief that juvenile offenders and violent juvenile offenders needed to be coddled.” Liz Ryan of the Campaign for Youth Justice said that lower recidivism rates prove critics wrong. Schiraldi “has brought credibility” to the city’s juvenile detention system. “He really turned it around,” she said.