In his recent State of the City address, New York City mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, unveiled a plan to combine the city’s Department of Juvenile Justice and the Administration for Children’s Services (NYC’s child welfare agency). The overall intent of this merger is to reduce the amount of youth offenders spending time in jail.
Through “community-based” programming, the city aims to allow youth offenders, who are deemed not dangerous to the community, to remain with their families, in their homes and in their communities. Previously, judges have sentenced these youths to release on probation or time in juvenile detention facilities or residential homes. Now, a third option will be available: allowing the teen to return to his or her home, and undergo intense community-based programs which will incorporate curfews, meeting academic goals and accountability for his or her actions.
The ultimate goal rests in the desire to rehabilitate these juvenile offenders to become responsible, productive members of their communities. Additionally, the city will save money, by reducing the capacities of its detention facilities, reduce recidivism, which currently runs at roughly 75% for youth offenders within three years of their release from detention centers, and build a more united mechanism for dealing with juvenile crime, by merging the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Administration for Children’s Services.