The Center for Community Alternatives (CCA) applauds Governor Cuomo’s Juvenile and Criminal Justice proposals in the 2014 State of the State Message. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York State has already achieved impressive reforms in both juvenile and criminal justice.
On the juvenile justice side, the State has closed juvenile facilities, reduced the number of children held in facilities, and created innovative programs that allow young people involved in the juvenile justice system to receive services in their home communities so they can maintain important connections with their parents. In his State of the State message, the Governor has proposed the creation of a Commission that will to reform New York State law that treats 16- and 17- year old teenagers as adults. CCA applauds the Governor’s call for a Commission that will quickly develop comprehensive legislation that ensures that our state finally treats children as children in the legal system, bringing it into line with the scientific research and the 48 other states that recognize it as best for public safety and our children.
On the criminal justice side, New York State stands as a model for the country, reducing both crime and incarceration, closing prisons and creating initiatives, such as Work for Success that helps formerly incarcerated people find employment. Building on this groundbreaking work, the Governor calls for a Reentry Council that will look across a variety of domains to ensure that people returning to communities from prison can do so safely and productively.
As an organization that has worked in these arenas for over thirty years, CCA fully supports both the end to criminalizing our youth as adults and programs, services and policies that reduce the use of incarceration. To get a first hand look at what alternatives-to-incarceration programs can do to improve the well-being of children and adults, as well as promote public safety, please visit out website at www.communityalternatives.org.
Both these initiatives will continue to make New York State a leader in increasing public safety by being smart on crime.