NEW IDEAS FOR JUVENILE JUSTICE

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Politically motivated efforts to toss more teenage lawbreakers into the adult criminal justice system are backfiring on New York City’s neighborhoods and leading to more crime, according to a report issued Thursday by the Center for an Urban Future, City Limits new partner organization.

The charge comes at a time when Governor George Pataki and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are proposing tougher treatment of juveniles–including longer sentences.

In its reform plan, the Center outlines extensive academic research which shows that trying teenagers in the adult courts– and sending them to adult prisons–leads them to commit more crimes in the future than they otherwise would have.

The plan, “Neighborhood Justice: A Community Response to Juvenile Crime,” calls on government leaders to focus on programs that have been proven to reduce crime, cut costs and strengthen low- income neighborhoods.

The Center also calls for the state to broadly expand its money–saving “Aftercare” program, in which case managers work one-on-one with child offenders to ensure they make a smooth transition back to civilian life. The state’s failure to provide counseling, guidance and oversight to young people leaving incarceration “is extraordinarily bad policy and results in more crime,” said City Limits editor Andrew White, who spoke at the Thursday unveiling of the institute.

The Center for an Urban Future is a neighborhood-oriented policy institute designed to tap the expertise of government officials, community leaders, academics and on-the-ground practitioners on a wide-range of topics. “Neighborhood Justice” is the first of a series of proposals offering practical, affordable solutions to seemingly intractable urban problems.

For a copy, call Neil Kleiman at (212) 925-9820.