January 12, 2022

Fixing New York Criminal Justice ‘Reforms’ Will Take Political Movement

Mayor-elect Eric Adams has pledged to restore the NYPD’s plainclothes anti-gun unit, as well as pushing the legislature to correct the law without bail to allow judges to send dangerous criminals to jail. But much remains to be done, across the criminal justice system, after years of ill-conceived reforms.

Topping the list is to rethink the Raise the Age law, or at least its implementation. As The Post reported over the weekend, law enforcement insiders claim that “the reformed juvenile justice system is proving deadly for those it claims to protect: juvenile delinquents in the most remote communities. city ​​risk “.

Raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18 has produced a cycle of ‘catch and release’ that teaches young offenders that they can break the law with impunity – leaving them to continue to commit criminal offenses. more severe levels until someone is found shot and / or dead, with the life of the criminal was also wasted.

The law provided for a system of support and supervision for under-18s caught on the wrong side of the law, but that didn’t materialize – or, at least, private contractors paid to do much of the work pocketed money without doing it. their work.

And Raise the Age’s confidentiality provisions limit judges’ knowledge of the teenager’s background, so family court lawyers who hear almost every case can’t spot a child who needs more than the clemency.

Take Tyree Malone, 17 and allegedly a member of the brutal Bronx-based JackBoyZ team. He is now charged with the firearm murder of 24-year-old Dandre Johnson this summer. Before that, he suffered at least three gun arrests in less than a year – three wasted chances to put him on a better track.

Or Ramon Gil-Medrano, allegedly a member of the 800YGZ gang, only 16 years old when he was executed in a retaliatory gang in July. He has been the subject of at least two arrests for possession of firearms in the past year and was injured in another gang-related stroke in July 2020.

Raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18 has produced a cycle of “capture and release”.
Alexandra Schuler / photo alliance via Getty Images

Knowing that those under 18 incur no legal consequences if caught, gangs use them as infantry. The result: The city’s teens have been involved in 357 shootings this year, the highest number since 2015, including 126 as victims. Fourteen people who had previously been arrested with firearms were shot dead, five to death.

But state lawmakers are far from the only bad guys here: Mayor Bill de Blasio has conceded reality by restoring isolation to Rikers.

When he banned it in June, de Blasio said, “We reoriented our correctional system to value human life and rehabilitation. Then came a massive influx of violence against correctional officers and inmates.

The mayor only blames the staff shortage crisis for his emergency ordinance, which he must renew every five days, suspending nine rules on solitary confinement, including one against locking inmates in their cells 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

In fact, the careful use of solitary confinement is vital to maintaining order in prisons. As Joseph Russo, president of the Association of Assistant Deputy Directors and Deputy Directors, told The Post: “Since that effort to be kind and considerate to violent criminals and gang members began , it is clear that it does not work. It didn’t make us any more secure; it produced no positive results.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio has restored isolation to Rikers.
Stephen yang

All in all, the next mayor will also have to figure out how to fix Rikers: even if he wants to replace him, de Blasio’s plans for new prisons are a pipe dream that doesn’t even allow for sufficient holding capacity – and would be years old, even though they were built.

Adams will also have to deal with the larger morale crisis in the NYPD, which has retirements far above normal levels even as communities across America hire younger Finest: the humble town of Lakeland. Florida has itself poached a dozen of the city’s cops, much of it recruiting as a place where they will be respected, not besieged.

State and city politicians have spent at least five years filling a myriad of holes in New York’s criminal justice system: correcting them, especially by keeping an eye out for the legitimate issues that motivated the reforms, is going to require not just a new mayor, but a statewide movement.

Every public servant should know that the public is fed up with escalating crime and will hold them accountable at the polls.