Albany politicians recently reached an agreement on a novel Juvenile Justice initiative that would transfer several hundred NYC low and mid-level juvenile delinquents currently incarcerated sometimes far from their families in upstate State-run detention facilities, to City run programs much closer to their homes. The "Close to Home" initiative would allow New York City to place the teens in treatment programs in or near New York City, rather than in facilities hundreds of miles away in upstate New York. Under the agreement, only those young people who pose the greatest risk to both themselves and their communities will be sent to State-operated secure facilities.
Proponents of the change say the new system will be better for families, build on existing local resources and enhance community safety. Placing teens closer to home makes it easier for parents and other family members to visit, and easier for juvenile justice service providers to interact with families to ease the transition when the youth returns home. The move builds on New York City's juvenile justice reform initiatives that have already successfully reduced recidivism rates among juvenile offenders.
If you have a teen friend or family member currently facing criminal charges in Criminal or Family Court, you need to contact a criminal defense experienced in working with young people accused of criminal conduct. Working with experienced social workers, I have successfully negotiated non-jail plea agreements allowing teenage clients charged with serious robbery and other violent crimes to keep their records clean, and instead of languishing in jail, receive essential youth counseling, educational opportunities, and job training.