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CHARTING A NEW COURSE:
A BLUEPRINT FOR TRANSFORMING JUVENILE
JUSTICE IN NEW YORK STATE
DECEMBER 2009
A Report of Governor David Paterson’s
Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice
Charting a New Course
A Blueprint for Transforming Juvenile Justice
in New York State
DECEMBER 2009
A Report of Governor David Paterson’s
Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice
Charting a New Course
A Blueprint for Transforming Juvenile Justice
in New York State
DECEMBER 2009
A Report of Governor David Paterson’s
Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice
Acknowledgments
The Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice conducted its work with
assistance from the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City. Vera’s Center on
Youth Justice provided an institutional base for the Task Force, as well as vital
data analysis and logistical support.
The Task Force would also like to acknowledge and thank the Tiger Foundation
and the Atlantic Philanthropies, both of whom helped fund our work over the
past year.
Most importantly, the Task Force would like to thank the more than 200
individuals from agencies and organizations across the state and the country
who contributed to our work by sharing information, data, and research about the
topics discussed in the report. This report would not have been possible without
their support.
2
C HA RTIN G A NEW CO URS E: A BLUEPRI NT FOR TRANSFORMIN G J UVEN ILE J U S TICE I N NEW YOR K S TATE
Letter to the Governor
December 14, 2009
Dear Governor Paterson:
On behalf of the Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice, I am
pleased to present to you our final report, Charting a New Course:
A Blueprint for Transforming Juvenile Justice in New York State.
This report is the product of months of intense deliberation and outlines
a new vision for how New York State should care for youth involved
in the juvenile justice system. The recommendations we offer here are
grounded not only in the best available research and literature in the
juvenile justice field, but also in our steadfast commitment to improving
the lives of young people and families and protecting public safety.
We are grateful for the opportunity to work together on this vital and
urgent issue. It is our hope that this report will be an important tool for
driving New York State’s reform efforts.
We look forward to continuing our work with you as the state begins the
process of implementing these reforms.
Sincerely,
Jeremy Travis
President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
Chair of the Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice
Table of Contents
6
List of Task Force Members
8
Preface
10
Executive Summary
14
Introduction
Recent Reform Efforts and the Paterson Task Force
An Overview of New York State’s Juvenile Delinquency System
24
Chapter 1: The Fundamentals of Reform
32
Chapter 2: Keeping More Kids at Home: A Shift to
Community-based Services
46
Chapter 3: Rethinking Institutional Placement
68
Chapter 4: Ensuring Successful Reentry
78
Chapter 5: Creating System Accountability and Transparency
88
Conclusion
90
Appendix A: Cost-benefit Analysis of Programs for Court-involved Youth
in New York State
92
Appendix B: Sample Distance Map: Youth Admissions to Allen
Residential Center, 2007
93
Appendix C: Proposed Lead Entities Responsible for Implementing
the Task Force’s Recommendations
95
Endnotes
Task Force Members
Jeremy Travis, President, John Jay College of
Criminal Justice and Chair of the Task Force
Elizabeth Glazer, Chair, New York State
Juvenile Justice Advisory Group
Alfred Siegel, Deputy Director, Center for
Court Innovation and Chair of the Task
Force’s Reentry and Alternatives to
Placement Subcommittee
Michael Green, District Attorney, Monroe
County
Michael A. Corriero, Executive Director, Big
Brothers & Big Sisters of New York City
and Chair of the Task Force’s Redefining
Residential Care Subcommittee
Martin F. Horn, Distinguished Lecturer,
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
and Commissioner of New York City
Departments of Probation and Corrections
(Retired)
Leslie Abbey, Executive Director, Juvenile
Justice Initiative, New York City
Administration for Children’s Services
Kenneth Brynien, President, Public Employees
Federation
Joyce Burrell, Deputy Commissioner, Division
of Juvenile Justice and Opportunities for
Youth, New York State Office of Children
and Family Services
John Coppola, Executive Director, New York
Association of Alcoholism and Substance
Abuse Providers
Juan Cartagena, General Counsel and Vice
President for Advocacy, Community
Service Society
John E. Carter, Esq., Director, Law Guardian
Program for the 3rd Judicial Department of
the Appellate Division of the State of New
York Supreme Court
Ailin Chen, Senior Policy Associate, Juvenile
Justice and Youth Services, Citizens’
Committee for Children of New York
Joseph Cocozza, Director, National Center for
Mental Health and Juvenile Justice
Vincent DeMarco, Sheriff, Suffolk County
Jeffrey Fagan, Professor of Law and
Epidemiology, Columbia University
Mishi Faruqee, Director of Youth Justice
Program, Children’s Defense Fund
Robert Gangi, Executive Director, Correctional
Association of New York
6
Neil Hernandez, Commissioner, New York City
Department of Juvenile Justice
Deborah Lashley, Executive Assistant District
Attorney, Office of Kings County District
Attorney
Ronald Mincy, Professor of Social Policy and
Social Work Practice, Columbia University
Honorable Jane Pearl, New York City Family
Court Judge
Rossana Rosado, Publisher, El Diario/La Prensa
Ellen Schall, Dean of the Robert Wagner School
of Public Service, New York University
Charles L. Schillaci, Commissioner, Division of
Social Services, Seneca County
Tamara Steckler, Attorney-in-Charge, Legal Aid
Society, Juvenile Rights Practice
Euphemia Strauchn, Executive Director,
Families on the Move of New York City, Inc.
Eric Warner, General Counsel, Metropolitan
Transportation Authority Inspector General
Marsha Weissman, Executive Director, Center
for Community Alternatives
Meredith Wiley, New York State Director, Fight
Crime: Invest in Kids
Mary Winter, Commissioner, Department of
Probation, Onondaga County (Retired)
Alfonso Wyatt, Vice President, Fund for the
City of New York
Task Force member affiliations are listed for purposes
of identification only.
C HA RTIN G A NEW CO URS E: A BLUEPRI NT FOR TRANSFORMIN G J UVEN ILE J U S TICE I N NEW YOR K S TATE
The Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice was
charged with examining what happens at a specific
point in the New York State juvenile justice system:
the time after a youth has been adjudicated (found
guilty of committing a crime) and has received the
court’s disposition (sentence) for an act of juvenile
delinquency (a crime committed by someone
between the ages of 7 and 15). The Task Force
focused in particular on these youth’s placement
into the care and custody of the Office of Children
and Family Services. Throughout this report, the
terms “out-of-home placement” and “institutional
placement facility” are used interchangeably to refer
to the private and state-operated institutions where
youth in state custody may serve their sentences.
S ECTIO N T I TLE HERE
7
Preface
O
N AUGUST 24, 2009, the United
violated the fundamental principles of positive
States Department of Justice pub-
youth development.
licly released a report following
Fortunately, under the leadership of Governor
a two-year investigation into al-
David A. Paterson, efforts to transform the
legations of excessive force and deprivation of
system are now under way. Commissioner
essential services in four juvenile placement fa-
Gladys Carrión, head of the Office of Children
cilities in New York State.1 The findings of this
and Family Services (OCFS), has taken some
investigation were shocking and profoundly
critical first steps on the long journey toward
troubling. Most disturbing were the document-
reform. OCFS has shut down underutilized
ed instances of excessive force by state employ-
placement facilities and enhanced services.
ees resulting in youth suffering concussions,
A shift to a more supportive and therapeutic
broken bones, knocked-out teeth, and other se-
model of juvenile justice has begun. The system
rious injuries.2 Force was applied as a form of
is turning in a new direction, but there is still
discipline in response to the most minor infrac-
much more to be done.
tions, such as refusing to stop laughing when
In September 2008, Governor Paterson
ordered, staring at a staff member, or sneak-
launched the Task Force on Transforming Juve-
ing an extra cookie.3 Investigators concluded
nile Justice to create a road map for the state’s
that conditions in these facilities amounted to
ongoing reform agenda. This body, which in-
a violation of residents’ constitutional rights.4
cludes local and national system stakeholders,
The report indicated that if these shortcomings
academics, and experts, was charged with ex-
were not addressed, the Department of Justice
amining what happens after a youth has been
(DOJ) could sue the state.
found guilty of committing a crime. With data
5
8
The DOJ report makes clear what many
analysis support and technical assistance from
system stakeholders have been saying for a very
the Vera Institute of Justice, the Task Force has
long time: namely, that New York’s juvenile
developed a comprehensive set of recommen-
justice system is failing in its mission to nurture
dations that chart a new course for New York’s
and care for young people in state custody.
juvenile justice system. These recommenda-
The state’s punitive, correctional approach has
tions aim to reduce the use of institutional
damaged the future prospects of these young
placement; reinvest resources in community-
people, wasted millions of taxpayer dollars, and
based alternatives; eliminate inequities across
C HA RTIN G A NEW CO URS E: A BLUEPRI NT FOR TRANSFORMIN G J UVEN ILE J U S TICE I N NEW YOR K S TATE
the system, including those practices that disproportionately impact youth of color; improve
the supports and services provided to young
people in state custody and upon release; and
ensure system accountability.
Implementing these recommendations will
not be easy and will require time, resources,
and political determination. But given the dem-
Given the demonstrated
deficiencies of the status
quo, there is no reasonable
excuse for inaction.
onstrated deficiencies of the status quo, there is
no reasonable excuse for inaction. Ultimately,
the Task Force believes that the changes outlined in this report will result in a more effective, efficient, and just approach for addressing
the needs of young people and protecting public safety.
PREFACE
9
Executive Summary
N
10
EW YORK STATE’S juvenile jus-
families and communities. These institutions
tice system has two primary re-
are often sorely under-resourced, and some fail
sponsibilities: to keep the public
to keep their young people safe and secure, let
safe and to care for and rehabili-
alone meet their myriad service and treatment
tate young people. Since the 1980s, this system
needs. In some facilities, youth are subjected to
has relied on a punitive, corrections-based mod-
shocking violence and abuse. A recent investi-
el to meet these responsibilities. On both counts
gation of four New York State facilities by the
this model has failed. The need for systemwide
U.S. Department of Justice found, for example,
reform is urgent.
that staff consistently responded to minor inci-
More than 1,600 youth enter the state’s in-
dents with excessive force, resulting in serious
stitutional placement facilities each year, at
physical injuries to young people. It comes as
an estimated annualized cost of $210,000 per
no surprise, then, that not only do youth leave
child. Currently there is no standardized, state-
facilities without having received the support
wide system in place for determining whether
they need to become law-abiding citizens, but
youth placed in state custody truly pose a risk
many are also more angry, fearful, or violent
to public safety. However, we do know that in
than they were when they entered.
2007 the majority of these young people—53
By incarcerating thousands of children in
percent—had a misdemeanor as their most seri-
facilities, the largest of which closely resemble
ous adjudicated offense. This heavy reliance on
adult prisons, New York State is harming its
incarceration is not protecting the public from
children, wasting money, and endangering its
juvenile crime. The most recent reliable recidi-
public. This cannot continue.
vism data—which, troublingly, is more than a
Under the new leadership of Commissioner
decade old—indicates that of all youth released
Gladys Carrión, officials at the Office of Chil-
from state custody between 1991 and 1995, 75
dren and Family Services (OCFS)—the state
percent were re-arrested, 62 percent were re-
agency that oversees New York State’s juve-
convicted, and 45 percent were re-incarcerated
nile placement system—have begun the crucial
within three years of their release.
work of repairing this badly broken system.
This punitive approach is also failing the
Several counties around the state are doing the
young people it is meant to serve. Youth are
same. To accelerate and spread these reform ef-
placed in facilities that are located hundreds of
forts, Governor David Paterson formed the Task
miles away from the support networks of their
Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice in Sep-
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
tember 2008. Composed of national, state, and
the state’s juvenile justice system, but the heart
county experts from government, law enforce-
of the matter is this:
ment, community-based organizations, academia, and labor, the Task Force was asked to
Institutionalizing young people should be the choice
move the state toward a system that promotes
of absolute last resort, reserved only for those who
public safety, holds youth accountable for their
actions, and produces positive outcomes for
pose such a serious threat that no other solution would
young people and their families. In particular,
protect public safety. For the small fraction of youth who
the governor asked the Task Force to focus its
efforts on one particular stage of the system:
do need to be placed in an institutional facility, the state
the point after a young person is adjudicated
should treat and rehabilitate them, not hurt and harden
(found guilty of a crime) in family court.
With technical assistance and logistical
them. In all other cases, young people can be well
support from the Vera Institute of Justice, the
served, and the public kept safe, by community-based
Task Force began its work by reviewing data,
supports and services that align with best practices in
conducting interviews with stakeholders, and
consulting national and local juvenile justice
the field.
experts. The group also visited programs and
facilities across New York and other states, in-
The report is divided into five chapters, most
cluding Missouri and the District of Columbia,
of which cover a specific category of reform.
to gain a firsthand account of the services pro-
The recommendations in Chapter 1, however,
vided to youth placed in state custody. Based on
apply to the entire system and are intended to
its findings, the Task Force has crafted 20 rec-
inform every recommendation that follows.
ommendations that provide a framework for
The Task Force is hopeful that the state’s ex-
an effective juvenile justice system. These rec-
ecutive, legislative, and judicial leaders will rec-
ommendations are grounded in the best avail-
ognize that New York’s juvenile justice system
able research and literature. This report lays out
is in nothing short of a crisis and that they will
those recommendations, and in many areas, it
use this report as a tool for the transformation
also offers specific strategies for accomplishing
that New York State so desperately needs.
them. Each of these recommendations is an important part of a successful transformation of
The following is a summary list of the Task
Force’s recommendations:
EXECU TIVE S UM MARY
11
Task Force Recommendations and Strategies
1 The Fundamentals of Reform
Recommendation 1: Reduce the use of
institutional placement, downsize or close
underutilized facilities, and reinvest in communities.
Recommendation 2: Reduce the disproportionate
representation of youth of color in institutional
placement.
Recommendation 3: Ensure that New York State
operates a unified and cohesive system of care that
keeps all youth in its custody safe, whether in private
or state-operated facilities.
Strategy 5-4: Ensure that courts order communitybased alternatives when making dispositional
decisions.
Strategy 5-5: Ensure that OCFS uses its authority to
use day placement as a community-based alternative
for youth in its custody.
Strategy 5-6: Provide counties with a financial
incentive to use probation supervision and other
alternative-to-placement programs.
Recommendation 6: Redirect cost savings into
neighborhoods that are home to the highest number
of youth in the juvenile justice system.
Institutional Placement
2 Keeping More Kids at Home: A Shift 3 Rethinking
Recommendation 7: Place youth close to home.
to Community-based Services
Recommendation 4: Reserve institutional
placement for youth who pose a significant risk to
public safety, and ensure that no youth is placed in a
facility because of social service needs.
Strategy 4-1: Amend section 352.2 of the Family
Court Act to include the following provision for
delinquency dispositions, other than those involving
designated felony acts: The court may order
institutional placement only when a child poses
a significant risk to public safety and, even then,
only when no community-based alternative could
adequately mitigate that risk.
Strategy 4-2: Use validated instruments to measure
risk to public safety and guide placement decisions.
Recommendation 5: Develop and expand
community-based alternatives to institutional
placement.
Strategy 5-1: Expand the use of evidence-based
alternatives to placement.
Strategy 5-2: Broaden the evidence-based field
by supporting and conducting evaluations of new,
innovative programs that apply the principles of best
practice.
Strategy 5-3: Build a continuum of alternativeto-placement programs with graduated levels of
supervision and services, including respite care for
young people with families in crisis and programs for
sexually exploited youth.
12
Strategy 7-1: Establish a standard distance within
which all youth are placed, and provide transportation
to families with children in custody.
Recommendation 8: Develop a standard process
to accurately assess a youth’s risks and needs.
Recommendation 9: Require all facilities’ culture
and physical environments to be conducive to
positive youth development and rehabilitation.
Strategy 9-1: Ensure that youth are safe and protected
from excessive use of force or restraints as a form of
punishment.
Strategy 9-2: Promote a culture of caring and mutual
respect.
Strategy 9-3: Make the physical appearance of
facilities less punitive and more nurturing.
Recommendation 10: Fund and provide services
and programs, including education and mental
health treatment, which prepare youth for release.
Strategy 10-1: Engage youth, families, treatment
providers, and facility staff in the treatment planning
process.
Strategy 10-2: Design, implement, and invest in a
coordinated continuum of facility-based services and
programs that address the full range of youth needs.
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
Strategy 10-3: Provide access to a high-quality
education within facilities that prepares youth for
success in the community.
Strategy 10-4: Conduct a thorough examination of
the educational and vocational curricula used in all
facilities.
Strategy 10-5: Establish OCFS as its own school
district and accredit all facility schools.
Recommendation 11: Support and invest in staff.
Strategy 11-1: Train all facilities’ staff in cultural
competency, positive youth development, and relevant
treatment approaches and philosophies.
Strategy 11-2: Provide funding to ensure that all
placement facilities are adequately staffed to serve
youth needs.
Strategy 11-3: Ensure that OCFS’s Voluntary Agency
Services unit has adequate staff and resources to
monitor the needs of youth in private facilities.
Strategy 11-4: Recruit and retain a professional
workforce.
Strategy 11-5: Make salaries for hard-to-recruit
positions competitive with salaries for similar positions
in other agencies.
Recommendation 12: Provide localities with
equal reimbursements for youth who are placed in
OCFS custody, regardless of the type of facility.
4 Ensuring Successful Reentry
Recommendation 13: Limit the amount of time
youth spend in institutional facilities.
Recommendation 14: Begin reentry planning and
preparation at the time of disposition, and actively
engage different stakeholders in this process.
Recommendation 15: Ensure that reentry plans
are individualized and provide for seamless, wellsupported transitions from facilities back to the
community.
Strategy 15-1: Provide a continuity of care that
addresses youth’s reentry experiences and their
general needs.
Strategy 15-2: Ensure that OCFS partners and
coordinates with relevant state and local agencies
and community groups to provide transitioning youth
access to a full range of services and interventions.
Strategy 15-3: Foster collaborations between OCFS,
the New York State Education Department, and local
school districts to facilitate a successful return to
an educational or vocational setting for all reentering
youth.
5 Creating System Accountability
and Transparency
Recommendation 16: Improve and expand the
use of data and other performance measures to
guide decision making, enhance accountability, and
drive system improvement.
Strategy 16-1: Collect and report data for a
comprehensive view of the juvenile placement system.
Strategy 16-2: Review, analyze, and report data on
youth placed in the custody of local social service
agencies.
Strategy 16-3: Establish and track standardized
performance measures for each placement facility and
alternative-to-placement program.
Strategy 16-4: Fund research and development efforts
to evaluate reforms and promote innovation.
Strategy 16-5: Disseminate research and information
to educate staff, stakeholders, and the public and to
encourage system transparency.
Recommendation 17: Track and report
disproportionate representation of youth of color at
every system point.
Recommendation 18: Ensure that allegations
of abuse and staff misconduct in facilities are
thoroughly investigated and handled appropriately.
Recommendation 19: Establish and fund an
independent, external oversight body to monitor
and report on OCFS’s juvenile justice policies and
practices.
Recommendation 20: Provide regular progress
reports on the status of implementing the Task
Force’s recommendations.
S ECT ION TI TLE HERE
13
Introduction
L
IKE OTHER STATES across the coun-
services in their own communities. Currently,
try, in the 1980s and 1990s New York
there is no standardized, statewide system in
largely abandoned its focus on juve-
place for determining whether youth placed in
nile justice rehabilitation and treat-
state custody truly pose a risk to public safety.
ment in favor of an approach that responded
We do know, however, that in 2007, 53 percent
to delinquent behavior with punitive sanctions
of youth admitted to the state’s institutional
and institutional placement. Now, nearly three
facilities were placed for a misdemeanor.9 In
decades later, the gathering consensus among
many cases, judges send young people to these
practitioners, academics, policymakers, and the
facilities simply because there are no communi-
public is that this approach has failed.
ty-based alternatives available to address their
At the most basic level, New York is investing
concerns about a youth’s family situation or
enormous sums in a system that does not deliver
provide specialized treatment services. This
what it promises. The state spends an average of
pattern is not unique to New York State; across
$210,000 per year to hold a young person in an
the United States juvenile corrections systems
institutional placement facility. Yet this invest-
increasingly serve as caretaker-of-last-resort for
ment does little to protect public safety or help
youth with serious mental health problems.10
6
youth become productive, law-abiding citizens.
There is also reason to believe that the current
In fact, many have concluded that it may even
system is unfair. African American and Latino
be making things worse. The most reliable recidi-
youth represent only 44 percent of New York’s
vism data—which is more than 10 years old—in-
total youth population, yet they comprise more
dicates that, of all youth released from New York
than 80 percent of all youth in the state’s institu-
State custody between 1991 and 1995, 75 percent
tional placement facilities.11 Remarkably, this dis-
were re-arrested, 62 percent were re-convicted,
parity has never been adequately investigated to
and 45 percent were re-incarcerated within three
understand its causes or consequences. There is,
years.7 A more recent study following these same
however, compelling evidence showing that New
youth found that 89 percent of boys and 81 per-
York’s juvenile justice system is unsafe. In 2006,
cent of girls had been re-arrested by age 28.
the nonprofit group Human Rights Watch issued
8
14
New York’s reliance on institutional place-
a report documenting verbal, psychological, and
ment is particularly disturbing because many
physical abuse of young girls in two New York
placed youth may not pose a risk to public safe-
State institutional facilities.12 That same year, a
ty and would benefit more from support and
15-year-old boy died after being restrained by a
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
At the most basic level,
New York is investing
enormous sums in a
system that does not
deliver what it promises.
family and community, have been shown to decrease recidivism rates.17
Some jurisdictions are seeking better outcomes for those youth who are institutionalized
by improving conditions and services within
staff member at the state’s Tryon facility.13 These
facilities. For example, Missouri provides youth
incidents likely prompted the U.S. Department
with education, group and family therapy, and
of Justice (DOJ) to investigate confinement con-
opportunities for youth development in small,
ditions in four New York State facilities.14 DOJ’s
home-like facilities that are close to their home
final report, released in August 2009, revealed
communities. Staff members in Missouri fa-
a system replete with violations of youth’s con-
cilities rarely use physical force when conflicts
stitutional rights. For example, staff repeatedly
arise and offer an array of supports to help
used excessive physical force to restrain young
youth transition back to their communities af-
people for minor incidents, such as refusing to
ter placement. This rehabilitative approach has
get dressed or slamming a door. In dozens of
been shown to better protect public safety and
cases, these restraints caused severe injuries,
produce more impressive outcomes than puni-
including concussions, broken bones, and lost
tive alternatives: not only do youth released
15
teeth.16
from the Missouri system have low rates of fur-
There is a better way. A handful of jurisdic-
ther juvenile and criminal justice involvement,
tions across the country have reduced their
but they also show improved educational out-
reliance on institutional placement while still
comes and family functioning.18
ensuring public safety. Ohio and Illinois, for
In September 2008, Governor David Pater-
example, have cut their juvenile corrections
son created the Task Force on Transforming Ju-
populations and produced better outcomes for
venile Justice, saying, “It is imperative that our
youth and families by investing in cost-effec-
state seek alternatives to a costly system that is
tive, community-based alternatives to place-
not serving New York’s children, families and
ment and reserving expensive placement beds
communities well.”19 Gladys Carrión, commis-
for individuals who pose a significant risk to
sioner of the Office of Children and Family Ser-
public safety. These alternative programs, de-
vices (OCFS), which oversees the state’s juve-
signed to address the causes of delinquency
nile correctional system, shares the governor’s
without severing a youth’s ties to his or her
concern. “The time has come to fix the juvenile
INTROD UCT ION
15
justice system,” she said. “At stake is nothing
ter 3 aims at improving the treatment of and
less than the health and future of some of our
services provided to young people within insti-
most troubled youngsters and their families.”20
tutional placement facilities. Chapter 4 focuses
The Task Force on Transforming Juvenile
on ensuring that the transition from an institu-
Justice was specifically asked to examine ways
tional placement facility back to the community
to
is successful for the youth, his or her family, the
▪ expand alternatives to institutional placement;
▪ improve the conditions for youth placed
in institutional facilities;
enhance system accountability and transparency by improving data collection and strengthening oversight. Where appropriate, the report
▪ ensure that confined youth transition suc-
acknowledges the reforms already under way in
cessfully to their communities upon re-
New York State and highlights relevant national
lease; and
examples of best practice.
▪ reduce the disproportionate confinement
of youth of color.
Although the Task Force focused on what
happens after a youth is found guilty of com-
This report from the Task Force is intended
mitting a crime, most members felt strongly that
to set New York State’s juvenile justice system
the following aspects of the juvenile justice sys-
on a new course. The recommendations and
tem also warrant scrutiny:
strategies included here provide concrete steps
▪ the age of criminal responsibility (last
for addressing the serious problems within
established in 1965; New York State is
New York’s juvenile justice system and imple-
among three states, including Connecticut
menting meaningful change, while acknowl-
and North Carolina, that still charge youth
edging the state’s economic, political, and legal
age 16 and above as adults, regardless of
realities. Most important, these recommendations and strategies recognize that investing in
the alleged offense);21
▪ the policies and practices governing the
young people is a critical part of ensuring pub-
treatment of juvenile offenders (under the
lic safety.
Juvenile Offender Law, enacted in 1978,
The report begins by describing New York’s
certain youth under the age of 16 are pro-
reform efforts to date, outlining the Task Force’s
cessed in the criminal courts due to the se-
goals and structure, and highlighting the princi-
verity of their offense);22
ples that inform its final recommendations. The
remainder of the report presents an in-depth
16
community, and the public. Chapter 5 seeks to
▪ the disproportionate representation of
youth of color at all system points;
review of the Task Force’s findings and recom-
▪ arrest and detention policies and practic-
mendations. Chapter 1 lays the foundation for
es23 (research shows that youth who spend
New York State’s reform process by outlining
time in detention are far more likely later
three fundamental recommendations that per-
to enter a placement facility; thus strate-
tain to every aspect of the juvenile justice sys-
gies to safely reduce detention are essen-
tem and that are integral to each chapter that
tial to broad juvenile justice reform24); and
follows: a call to decrease the state’s reliance
▪ the need for a single entity to be held ac-
on institutional placement, reduce the dispro-
countable for coordinating and imple-
portionate confinement of youth of color, and
menting the state’s juvenile justice poli-
operate a unified and cohesive system of care
cies across systems.
for all youth in state custody, whether in pri-
Although these issues fall outside the Task
vate or state-run facilities. Chapter 2 provides
Force’s mandate and, therefore, the scope of
a more detailed road map for how the state can
its study, the Task Force recommends that New
downsize the placement system by increasing
York State include them as part of a larger, more
the use of community-based alternatives. Chap-
comprehensive juvenile justice agenda.
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
Recent Reform Efforts and the Paterson Task Force
Consistent with national trends, New York State has started to reexamine its juvenile placement policies
and practices. In recent years, OCFS and several counties have sought to reserve institutional placement
for
young people who pose a significant risk to public safety and to ensure that, when public safety per2,500
mits, adjudicated youth are kept in their communities with needed support, supervision, and services.
Several localities, including Erie County, New York City, Onondaga County, and Suffolk County, have ex2,000
panded youth’s access to services in community-based alternatives to confinement. These efforts have
led to a significant decline in the number of youth placed in state custody. As figure 1 shows, the total
1,500
number of youth admissions to OCFS custody has declined by almost one-third since 2000, from 2,518
to 1,680.25 Accordingly, this has led the agency to close or downsize 11 institutional placement facilities
1,000 January 2009.26
since
OCFS has also been committed to improving the environment and services provided for young people
who
500 are placed in these facilities. Recently, for example, it trained staff to use a therapeutic approach
to care that is more sensitive to youth needs and introduced a new restraint tracking system to monitor
violence
in facilities.
0
Despite these improvements, the high number of youth still being placed for low-level offenses and
2001 indicate
2002that there
2003is much
2004
2005
2006The
continuing 1998
reports of 1999
violence in2000
some facilities
more work
to be done.
Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice is Private
leading the state’s ongoingOCFS
effort to adopt a rehabilitative
model of juvenile justice.
2007
Figure 1: Admissions to OCFS Custody, 2000–2007
3,000
2,500
2,000
1,500
1,000
500
0
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
Admissions to OCFS Custody
R ECENT R EF ORM EFFORTS AN D THE PATER S O N TAS K FORCE
17
The Task Force was divided into two subcommittees. The Reentry and Community-based Alternatives
to Placement Subcommittee explored ways to expand community-based alternatives for youth at risk of
institutional placement and to enhance reentry services for youth returning to communities after leaving a correctional facility. The Redefining Residential Care Subcommittee considered ways to improve
the decision-making process that governs where delinquent youth are placed and to ensure that young
people in institutional facilities receive developmentally appropriate, therapeutic, and humane treatment
that reduces their likelihood of recidivism. Given the large number of youth of color in the institutional
placement system relative to their numbers in the general population, both subcommittees also considered how to reduce this disproportionality.
The Vera Institute of Justice—an independent nonprofit organization with more than 40 years of
expertise in the criminal and juvenile justice fields—provided data analysis, insight into national best
practices, and ongoing logistical support to the Task Force over the course of its work. With assistance
from Vera, the Task Force
▪ reviewed research literature and relevant reports on alternatives to placement, conditions of con-
finement, reentry services, and the disproportionate representation of youth of color in the juvenile
justice system;
▪ examined quantitative data to understand which youth are entering institutional placement facili-
ties;
▪ worked with consultants to quantify the costs and benefits associated with sending youth to
alternative-to-placement programs in lieu of placement facilities;
▪ conducted geographic analyses of youth in state custody;
▪ consulted with more than 200 state and local officials, advocates, academic researchers, and
national experts and practitioners to learn more about local and national placement and reentry
practices and to gather insight on how best to address current challenges within the system;
▪ visited programs and facilities for a firsthand look at the services provided to system-involved
youth; and
▪ visited jurisdictions that are nationally recognized for their innovative approaches to serving youth
placed in state custody, including Missouri and the District of Columbia.
In carrying out its mandate, the Task Force identified three overarching goals for the juvenile justice
system:
1. ensure public safety,
2. hold youth accountable for their actions, and
3. produce positive outcomes for youth, families, and their communities.
These goals, along with eight principles developed to guide the Task Force’s deliberations, appear on
the next page. These principles serve as the foundation for the final recommendations and represent
the group’s collective vision for an effective juvenile justice system. The principles, which are grounded
in decades of research and practice about what works best to help young people develop and succeed,
represent widely shared philosophies about how youth should be viewed and treated. Most importantly,
they reflect the belief that providing youth with the skills and services they need to become successful
adults plays a critical role in keeping the public safe.
18
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
Task Force Goals and Principles
The overarching goals of the juvenile
justice system are to
▪ ensure public safety;
▪ hold youth accountable for their actions; and
▪ produce positive outcomes for youth,
families, and their communities.
An effective juvenile justice system can
accomplish these goals by applying the
following principles:
1.
Embrace the strengths and inherent
potential of every youth.
The Task Force believes that all
children deserve opportunities to succeed. Juvenile justice policymakers and
practitioners must identify and eliminate
any policies and practices that disparately
impact certain youth or lead to an unfair
disproportionate representation of youth
of color.
2.
Recognize that youth are developmentally different from adults.
Youth have developing brains that lead
them to behave differently than adults.
Recent research shows that most adolescents have diminished decision-making
capacity and are more susceptible to
peer influence compared to adults.27 This
research also suggests that many youth
will cease lawbreaking as part of the normal maturation process. These findings
should influence how the justice system
views, treats, and sanctions children.28
3.
Capitalize on the positive connection between a young person and
his or her family and community.
Strong relationships with parents or
guardians and links with the community
are regularly cited as critical to a youth’s
healthy development and rehabilitation.29
Family and caregiver support can help
youth gain and practice the skills they
need to find alternatives to delinquent
behavior. Family-focused interventions
should take place in community-based
programs, in facilities, and upon reentry.
Similarly, connecting youth to community
resources can increase their chances of
being successful.30
4.
Reserve the use of institutional
placement for youth who pose a
significant risk to public safety.
Given the importance of keeping youth
connected to their families and the high
costs associated with placement, it is
critical that confinement be used only for
the highest risk offenders. Research has
shown that applying the most intensive
correctional resources to low-risk youth
disrupts their positive social networks
and exposes them to negative behaviors,
increasing the likelihood that they will
become involved in criminal activity upon
release.31 Youth should never be placed
in a facility because of concerns about
their family situation or due to the lack
of community-based services that can
adequately address their needs.
5.
Establish a flexible continuum of
services and programs for youth and
their families.
Reducing reliance on confinement requires creating a continuum of communitybased services and supervision options
for delinquent youth. These services
must be well coordinated and focus on
addressing social service, mental health,
and substance abuse needs. They should
also facilitate academic progress, provide
developmental opportunities, and help
maintain public safety.
6.
Ensure that all youth—both those
in institutional placement and those
in community-based programs—are
treated with dignity and respect in
nurturing settings that emphasize
a positive youth development approach.32
Whether they are in confinement or in
a community-based program, providing
respectful treatment is an important first
step in helping youth internalize good
behaviors and establish positive relationships. Research also clearly demonstrates that a strength-based treatment
approach focused on rehabilitation is
more effective than punitive and disciplinary models.33 Youth will be more likely
to thrive after leaving the juvenile justice
system if the system recognizes their
strengths and builds on their skills.
7.
Help youth transform their behaviors
to become productive, law-abiding,
successful citizens.
Youth must understand the consequences of their actions and gain the
necessary skills and competencies to
avoid future involvement in the justice
system. Programs and services that teach
life skills and focus on changing negative
behaviors can promote better outcomes
and enhance public safety.34
8.
Evaluate program performance to
increase transparency and enhance
effectiveness.
Ongoing monitoring and evaluation can
help ensure that programs are implemented effectively and that the system
remains accountable for its practices
and outcomes. Sharing the information
gathered through these processes with
system stakeholders and the public can
guide decision making and drive system
improvement.
S ECT ION TI TLE HERE
19
An Overview of New York State’s
Juvenile Delinquency System
This section provides a short orientation to New York’s juvenile delinquency system.
New York State is one of only three states that statutorily define age 15 as the cut-off point for
juvenile jurisdiction. Any child who allegedly commits a crime at age 16 or older, regardless of the
offense, is processed in the adult criminal justice system.
In New York State, youth who are arrested may fall into one of two categories:
Juvenile Delinquent (JD): A youth who was found by the family court to have committed an
act while between the ages of 7 and 15 that would constitute a crime if committed by an adult.
Juvenile Offender (JO): A youth who committed a crime while under the age of 16 and was
tried and convicted in the criminal (adult) court, rather than the family court, due to the severity
of the offense. 35
The Task Force’s primary focus is on JD cases. Figure 2 shows where the disposition of JD
cases, as processed in family court, occurs within the New York State juvenile justice system.36
(The processing of JO cases in criminal court is not included here.)
Glossary of Key Terms37
Some of the terms used in this report may be specific to New York State’s juvenile justice system.
The definitions in this section are provided to help readers who may not be familiar with this precise language. This section begins with definitions of key points within the juvenile justice system,
is followed by an overview of dispositional options available to family court judges, and ends with
terms related specifically to Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) custody.
System Points
Juvenile arrest: When a youth between the ages of 7 and 15 is stopped by a police officer and
taken into police custody in relation to the investigation of a crime. This is the point of entry into
the juvenile justice system.
Detention: The practice of temporarily holding youth in a secure or non-secure facility, pending a
court hearing, similar to jail in the adult context.
Referral to court or diversion/adjustment: The local probation department conducts an
intake assessment to determine whether an alleged juvenile delinquent should be referred to the
prosecutor’s office or diverted from prosecution through services in the community.38 When cases
are sent to the prosecutor’s office, prosecution staff decide whether and how to proceed.
20
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
Court processing: A series of court hearings and procedures, including arraignment (initial appearance
in court), fact finding (a finding by the judge that a youth committed some or all of the acts outlined in the
court petition or criminal complaint), and disposition (when a judge determines whether a youth should be
adjudicated—deemed a juvenile delinquent—and orders a sentence).
Figure 2: Flowchart of New York State’s Juvenile Delinquency System
Juvenile Arrest
Home
Court
Detention
Probation Intake
Referral to
Court
Court Diversion/
Adjustment
Court Processing
Disposition
Withdrawal/
Dismissal
Adjourned in
Contemplation
of Dismissal
Conditional
Discharge
Private Facility
Placement in OCFS
Custody
State-Operated Facility
Probation
Placement in
Local Social
Service Custody
Day Placement
A N OVERVIEW O F NEW YO R K S TAT E’ S J UVEN IL E D EL INQU ENC Y SYST EM
21
Dispositional Options
Withdrawal: The prosecuting agency makes a determination not to proceed for reasons that may include,
but are not limited to, insufficient credible evidence; extenuating circumstances; or further investigation
exonerating the youth.
Dismissal: The case is terminated by the judge for factors that may include, but are not limited to, insufficient evidence presented by the prosecution; failure by the presentment agency to commence the case
within the statutory timeframe; or individual circumstances that mitigate the need for a finding.
Adjournment in contemplation of dismissal: Court proceedings are suspended for a specified
period of time (typically six months). During this time, the youth must comply with conditions outlined in the
court order. If the youth complies, the case will be dismissed with no adjudication. If the terms of the court
order are violated, the case is brought back to court to resume proceedings.
Conditional discharge: The youth is released without court supervision but must comply with certain
conditions for a specified amount of time. These conditions can include obeying curfew, attending school,
and adhering to rules set by a parent or guardian.
Probation: The court determines that a delinquent youth is in need of guidance, training, or other assistance, and sentences him or her to probation supervision. Under probation, the youth remains in the
community but must meet certain conditions, such as completion of community service or participation in
an alternative to residential placement program. If the terms of probation are violated, probation may be
revoked and the court may consider imposing stricter sanctions. Periods of probation typically last from 12
to 24 months.
Placement: By statute, the court may determine that a delinquent youth can remain in his or her own
home or in the custody of a suitable relative or other caregiver, or it may place the youth in the custody of
either the local department of social services (DSS) or OCFS. Reliable statewide data on the total number
of youth placed in DSS custody is currently unavailable. In 2007, 1,680 youth were admitted to OCFS
custody.39
OCFS custody: Youth placed in OCFS custody are typically ordered to serve their sentences in either
a private or state-operated institutional placement facility. Judges can directly place a youth with a
specific private facility, designate the type of state-operated facility in which a youth should be placed,
or give OCFS the discretion to determine where a youth will reside.40 The median age of youth at time
of admission to state custody in 2007 was 15.7.41
OCFS Custody
Private facilities: OCFS contracts with 49 private agencies to provide placement services to delinquent
youth in its custody. In 2007, 48.1 percent of youth (808) were placed in a private facility; of these, 63
percent (508) were from New York City.42 During this same year, 98 percent of all delinquent youth sent to
private facilities were referred there directly by judges at disposition.43 As shown in Figure 3, 62 percent
had a misdemeanor as their most serious placement offense, and 35 percent had a felony as their most
serious offense.44 The median length of stay for youth in private facilities is 11.6 months.45
Day placement: By law, OCFS has the discretion to establish and use day placement, a communitybased non-residential option, for any youth placed in its custody pursuant to the general delinquency placement provision under section 353.3 of the Family Court Act.46 However, this option is rarely used. In 2007,
fewer than 2 percent of youth (10) in OCFS custody received day placement in lieu of being placed in an
institutional facility.47
22
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
State-operated facilities: These facilities, operated and monitored by OCFS, have three security levels:
secure, limited secure, and non-secure. Under the Family Court Act, judges may designate in which of these
security levels a youth should be placed or place the youth in OCFS custody, giving the agency the discretion
to make specific facility assignments during the intake and assessment process.48 In 2007, 50.3 percent
of youth (845) in state custody were placed in an OCFS-operated facility.49 Of these youth, judges designated the level of facility in which a youth should be placed 80 percent of the time.50 The median length of
stay for youth in state-operated facilities is 10.5 months.51
Non-secure facilities: These smaller facilities do not have perimeter fencing, more closely resemble
group homes, and typically range in size from 22 to 50 beds. OCFS currently operates 11 non-secure
facilities. In 2007, 64 percent of youth in non-secure facilities were adjudicated on a misdemeanor,
and approximately 34 percent were adjudicated on a felony (see figure 3).52
Limited secure facilities: These facilities are generally less restrictive than secure facilities; however, several of them look and feel exactly like secure facilities, with surrounding barbed wire. OCFS
currently operates seven limited secure facilities ranging in size from 25 to 183 beds. In 2007, 56
percent of youth (all JDs) in limited secure facilities were adjudicated on a misdemeanor; 42 percent
were adjudicated on a felony (see figure 3).53
Secure facilities: These facilities provide the most controlled and restrictive residential programs and
are generally reserved for JOs and JDs with the most serious felony cases, known as designated felonies.54 The facilities are surrounded by barbed wire and have secure hardware for internal doors. OCFS
currently operates five secure facilities that range in size from 30 to 180 beds. In 2007, 93 percent of
youth in secure facilities had a felony charge at adjudication (see figure 3).55
Figure 3: Charge Severity at Adjudication by Facility Type, 2007
Overall
53%
45%
Private Agencies
62%
35%
OCFS Non-secure
64%
34%
OCFS Limited Secure
56%
42%
7%
OCFS Secure
0%
93%
10%
20%
30%
40%
Misdemeanor
50%
Felony
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
Other/Unknown
A N OVERVIEW O F NEW YO R K S TAT E’ S J UVEN IL E D EL INQU ENC Y SYST EM
23
1
The
Fundamentals
of Reform
T O I MP ROV E TH E L IV E S OF I TS YO UNG PEOPL E and keep its communities secure, New York State must sharply change the direction its juvenile
justice system has been following for decades. The recommendations in this
chapter represent a foundation for this new course. Unlike the recommendations in subsequent chapters, which pertain to specific aspects of New York
State’s juvenile justice system, the recommendations here pertain to every aspect of the system and are integral to all of the recommendations that follow.
First and foremost, New York State should decrease its use of institutional placement, downsizing or closing facilities that are no longer needed and
reinvesting the savings in community-based alternatives to institutional
placement. Second, it must aggressively address and reduce the disproportionate representation of youth of color in institutional facilities. Third, New
York State must operate a unified and cohesive system of care that ensures
the safety of all youth in its custody, both those in private and state-operated
facilities.
RECOMMENDATION
1. Reduce the use of
institutional placement, downsize or close
underutilized facilities, and reinvest in
communities.
One overarching reality shapes every recommendation in this report:
too many children in New York State are locked up in institutional facilities that harm rather than help them. There are several reasons for this
unacceptable state of affairs. First, there is no standardized, statewide
system in place for determining whether youth placed in state custody
truly pose a significant risk to public safety. Second, too many young
people are placed in institutions not because they are dangerous, but because they have social service and/or mental health needs that have not
been met in their communities, often due to a lack of resources. Yet as the
U.S. Department of Justice report makes clear, services available in some
facilities are either inadequate or non-existent, further compounding the
negative outcomes associated with placement.
The decision to remove low-risk youth from their communities and
place them in institutional confinement is a decision of considerable consequence. As will be made clear later in this report, institutional placement can be detrimental to low-risk youth and result in greater risk to
The decision to remove low-risk youth from their communities and
place them in institutional confinement is a decision of considerable
consequence.
public safety. Furthermore, many of the children who are currently being
placed could be better served at home with their families or caregivers,
receiving the support or services they need within their own communities. The recommendations of the Task Force, taken together, reflect this
simple proposition: A juvenile justice system should reserve institutional placement only for those youth who pose a significant risk to public
safety; those who pose little risk or simply need services should not be
removed from their communities.
The discrete recommendations and strategies outlined in this report
offer a road map for reducing the number of children in institutional
placement while better protecting public safety. This reduction will make
it possible to downsize or close facilities, freeing resources for investment in these youth’s home communities. The number of available beds
should reflect actual demand, calculated with the goal of reducing reli-
26
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
ance on institutions to treat these youth. Other states have achieved these
results (see Chapter 2). New York should follow their lead.
RECOMMENDATION
2. Reduce the disproportionate
representation of youth of color in institutional
placement.
As figure 4 shows, the overwhelming majority of young people confined to institutional placement in New York State are children of color.
Nearly 85 percent—or five out of six—of the young people entering OCFS
custody in 2007 were either African American (59.4 percent) or Latino
(24.8 percent). Yet combined, these youth only represent 44 percent of
the state’s general youth population.56 In New York City, the disparities
are even more pronounced: 93.5 percent of New York City youth placed
in custody were children of color.57 This disparity raises profound questions about the fairness of the entire juvenile justice system—from arrest
through prosecution and placement.
An in-depth examination of the systemic issues and societal conditions that might produce this disparity is beyond the scope of the Task
Figure 4: Race/Ethnicity Breakdown of Admissions to Residential Placement by Facility Type, 2007
Overall
Private Agencies
All OCFS-operated Facilities
OCFS Non-secure
OCFS Limited Secure
985/60%
411/25%
490/61%
205/25%
495/59%
206/24%
133/56%
67/28%
218/54%
90/22%
144/71%
OCFS Secure
0%
10%
20%
African American
30%
Latino
49/24%
40%
50%
Asian
60%
70%
Native American
80%
White
90%
100%
Other
C HAPT ER 1 | THE FU NDAMENTA LS OF REFORM
27
Force’s mission. Nevertheless, the Task Force did conclude that the racial imbalance represents a fundamental challenge to the state’s entire
juvenile justice reform agenda. As New York State works to reduce the
overall number of young people in its facilities, it must also address the
disproportionate representation of youth of color within that population.
Reducing racial imbalance in institutional placement must be a top priority of any reform agenda.
This challenge is significant but not insurmountable. Across the United States, organizations such as the Haywood Burns Institute and the
Center for Children’s Law and Policy are working with state and local
jurisdictions to ensure that their juvenile justice systems are fair and equitable. In doing so, they are helping to reduce similar racial imbalances.
New York State should consider engaging national experts to help its
policymakers adopt data-driven, consensus-based approaches to address
this issue. The state should also ensure that stakeholders from communities of color have a meaningful role in the process. Such an effort will
require a long-term commitment to reform. It will also require honesty
and courage.
If these recommendations are followed, New York will reduce the
overall number of youth in institutional placement and lessen the
disproportionate impact of the system on children of color.
The Task Force members believe that the full complement of recommendations presented in this report will begin to address this situation.
Each recommendation is designed to promote fairness in the context of
dispositional decision making, alternatives to placement, and institutional placement itself. If these recommendations are followed, New York will
reduce the overall number of youth in institutional placement and lessen
the disproportionate impact of the system on children of color.
It is important to stress, however, that because the Task Force focused
on post-adjudicatory reform, any benefits will be limited to that context.
Racial disparities in the juvenile justice system are part of a much broader
phenomenon that begins with the interactions between police and young
people. Addressing racial disparities at the back end without a more comprehensive examination of the entire system represents an incomplete
and wholly inadequate response to a grave reality.
28
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
RECOMMENDATION
3. Ensure that New York State
operates a unified and cohesive system of
care that keeps all youth in its custody safe,
whether in private or state-operated facilities.
New York State currently operates two parallel residential systems for
youth in OCFS custody. Some youth are placed in facilities operated directly by the state; others are sent to private facilities operating under
contract with OCFS. Over the past several years, the proportion of youth
in this latter category has grown significantly. In 1998, 30 percent of all
placed youth entered a private institution.58 By 2007, the proportion had
risen to nearly 50 percent (see figures 5 and 6 on the next page).59 The
phenomenon, however, is not consistent across the state: for example, in
2007, 53 percent of committed youth from New York City were admitted
to private institutions compared to 81 percent from Nassau County.60
OCFS is responsible for licensing, regulating, and supervising its stateoperated facilities and private agencies.61 Youth in both types of facilities
are considered to be legally under the custody of the state.62 Yet these two
groups of youth currently travel two very different paths. Youth placed in
OCFS-operated facilities are assessed, monitored, and supervised directly
by the agency. Youth in private facilities also receive assessments, but
the assessments vary from one location to the next and are not the same
as those used in state facilities. Although OCFS has a case management
system to track individual youth placed in private agencies, the agency
does not regularly review or analyze this information in aggregate form.63
As a result, the Task Force was unable to determine what the private facility assessments illustrate about the needs of youth in those facilities.64
In conversations with the Task Force, OCFS officials characterized their
relationship with the private agencies as being more reactive than proactive. For example, most of OCFS’s interactions with the private facilities
are in response to reports of critical incidents—serious situations involving youth at private agencies, such as assaults or alleged child abuse—or
requests for modification of placement—when a private agency asks to
move a youth in its care to a state-operated facility.65 The Task Force was
shocked to learn that, according to state officials, OCFS’s contracts with
private agencies do not include performance measures to ensure that
these agencies provide youth in their facilities with a certain standard of
care and supervision.66
This combined lack of aggregate data on, and oversight of, private
agencies raises significant questions about the costs associated with private placements, particularly since the proportion of youth admitted to
these facilities has risen dramatically over the past decade. These concerns are exacerbated by marked differences in the payment structure for
private placements versus state-operated facilities: the cost of an OCFSoperated placement is shared equally by the state and the youth’s county,
C HAPT ER 1 | THE FU NDAMENTA LS OF REFORM
29
Figure 5: Admissions to Private Facilities versus OCFS-operated Facilities, 1998–2007
1998
30% / 702
70%/1,644
1999
30%/693
70%/1,589
2000
22%/539
78%/1,938
2001
27%/581
73%/1,611
2002
32%/673
68%/1,453
2003
36%/756
64%/1,359
2004
42%/865
2005
40%/819
2006
39%/781
2007
49%/808
0%
10%
Private %
1998
30% / 702
58%/1,199
70%/1,644
OCFS %
1999
30%/693
60%/1,246
70%/1,589
22%/539
2000
27%/581
2001
2002
20%
30%
2003
50%
Private
73%/1,611
51%/845
32%/673
40%
78%/1,938
61%/1,197
60%
36%/756
70%
80%
68%/1,453
90%
64%/1,359
OCFS
42%/865
2004
58%/1,199
40%/819
2005
100%
60% /1,246
Figure 6: Admissions to Private Facilities versus OCFS-operated Facilities, 1998–2007
39%/781
2006
61%/1,197
2,500
49%/808
2007
2,000
51% / 845
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
50%
60%
2006
2007
1,500
1,000
500
0
1998
1999
2000
Private
OCFS
Source: OCFS Quarterly Reports
30
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
70%
80%
90
but the cost distribution of a private placement can vary significantly and
may, in some cases, fall entirely to the county.67 Young people also spend
more time in private facilities than in state-operated facilities: in 2007,
the median time spent in a private facility was 11.6 months, compared to
10.5 months in state-operated facilities.68
The Task Force is deeply concerned that OCFS is not operating a cohesive, uniform system of care for all youth in its custody. State law mandates that OCFS has the same obligation to young people in private and
public facilities.69 In order to meet this obligation, OCFS must be more
than a nominal custodian of youth in private facilities. This report provides a number of recommendations and strategies intended to accomplish this goal. These include developing a standard process to assess the
risks and needs of all youth in placement, establishing a consistent payment and reimbursement structure for localities that place youth in OCFS
custody, and collecting and analyzing data on all facility programs to assess their performance over time.
The Task Force’s call for a cohesive system in no way implies that
private facilities are qualitatively inferior to OCFS-operated facilities, or
vice-versa. As the system currently operates, however, there is little aggregate data to track—and therefore ensure—systemwide quality or accountability. Only by implementing the reforms presented in this report
in a consistent and equitable manner can New York say that it is truly
transforming its juvenile justice system.
OCFS must be more than a nominal custodian of youth in
private facilities.
C HAPT ER 1 | THE FU NDAMENTA LS OF REFORM
31
2
Keeping More
Kids at Home:
A Shift to
Communitybased Services
A S U C C E S S FU L JU V ENI L E J US T ICE system keeps the public safe and
helps young people become healthy, productive, law-abiding citizens. New
York State’s current system does neither. New York places nearly 1,700 children in juvenile justice institutional facilities each year. Once they leave these
institutions, many young people re-offend and return to the system. Of a group
of 9,477 young people released from the state’s residential institutions between
1991 and 1995, for example, 75 percent were re-arrested, 62 percent were re-convicted, and 45 percent were incarcerated within three years of their release.70
These dismal statistics comport with current research, which shows that
locking up youth often leads to poor outcomes for both the children who
are placed and the communities to which they will inevitably return. In par-
ticular, institutionalizing young people who do not pose a serious risk to
public safety is ineffective and unsafe. For example, one study showed
that correctional interventions can actually increase recidivism among
low-risk youth.71 The reasons for this are not surprising. Exposed to negative peer influences in institutions, low-level offenders learn unhealthy,
even criminal habits.72 Family relationships and community links, which
are central to healthy youth development, can be undermined by the
estrangement that accompanies placement, even in well-run residential
facilities. In other words, when a low-risk young person is placed in an
institution, “the very attributes that make them low-risk become interrupted.”73 Additionally, institutional placement rarely helps young people, whatever their level of risk to public safety, gain the skills they need
to find viable alternatives to delinquent behavior.74 As a result, many formerly incarcerated youth are unable to resist the negative pressures they
face upon returning home.75
Most system-involved youth can be better served by communitybased supports grounded in evidence-based principles and practices. Research indicates that community-based alternatives to placement often
produce lower recidivism rates than placement in institutional facilities.76
Young people who are served in their communities have been shown
to be more likely to apply what they learn in treatment to their lives.
For example, youth who participate in programs such as Multisystemic
Therapy (MST), Functional Family Therapy (FFT), and Multidimensional
Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) can have reconviction rates up to 18 percent lower than those in institutional placement.77 These programs can
also save New York State money. According to a preliminary New York
State cost benefit analysis conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice and
largely modeled after similar analyses performed by the Washington
State Institute for Public Policy, evidence-based alternatives can save up
to $23,600 per participant for taxpayers alone in New York State and up
to $96,000 for both taxpayers and victims over the long term.78
Community treatment and supervision is better suited than residential placement to working with a young person holistically, addressing
his or her behavior in relation to family, school, and peers. Young people
who are served in their communities have been shown to be more likely
to apply what they learn in treatment to their lives.79
In New York State, there are two primary system points at which youth
might be sent to community-based alternatives to placement: in court at
the time of disposition (sentencing) or when they are placed in the custody of the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). Because the
state lacks an adequate network of such supports, however, children who
34
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
do not pose a significant risk to public safety often end up in institutional
facilities. In interviews with a wide range of stakeholders, the Task Force
found that judges faced with young people who have specific treatment
needs, such as mental health or substance abuse issues, regularly choose
institutional placement because they believe those facilities are the only
place where needed services are available. Similarly, despite its statutory
authority to use an alternative, non-residential option called day placement, OCFS currently places all but 2 percent of the young people in its
custody into institutions.80
The following three recommendations provide a guide for how New
York can reduce the number of young people who are placed in institutional facilities; increase the availability, use, and quality of alternatives
to placement; and redirect cost savings to communities. Taken together,
these recommendations aim to create a system that provides better services to youth and their families and enhances public safety.
RECOMMENDATION
4. Reserve institutional
placement for youth who pose a significant
risk to public safety, and ensure that no youth
is placed in a facility because of social service
needs.
Amend section 352.2 of the New York
State Family Court Act to include the following provision
for delinquency dispositions, other than those involving
designated felony acts: The court may order institutional
placement only when a child poses a significant risk to
public safety and, even then, only when no communitybased alternative could adequately mitigate that risk.
STRATEGY 4-1:
The Family Court Act currently requires family court judges to consider “the best interests of the respondent as well as the need for protection of the community” when deciding a disposition in a delinquency
case.81 In all delinquency cases other than “designated felony act” cases—
the most serious felony offenses which are governed by a different subsection—it continues, “the court shall order the least restrictive available
alternative . . . which is consistent with the needs and best interests of the
respondent and the need for protection of the community.”82
These provisions prescribe general considerations to inform dispositional decisions, but they do not expressly recognize institutional place-
CHA PTER 2 |
KEEP IN G MOR E KIDS AT HOME: A S HIFT T O C OMMU NITY-B ASED SERV ICES
35
ment as a significant deprivation of liberty that should be used sparingly.
Nor do they help judges decide when such placement is appropriate. As
noted earlier, lacking such guidance, judges sometimes confine youth
who have social service needs but who do not pose a significant risk to
public safety. The Task Force encountered countless anecdotes of youth
being placed in facilities for reasons other than the protection of public
safety—when over-burdened parents are unable to provide supervision,
for example, or when communities lack the resources they need to respond to youth’s substance abuse or mental health needs.83 Data showing
that 53 percent of admissions to institutional facilities in 2007 were for
Service needs should never be a justification for locking up a child
in an institutional facility.
low-level, or misdemeanor, adjudications add to the Task Force’s supposition that many of these young people do not, in fact, need to be locked up
in order to protect the public.84
It is important to note that the practice of institutionalizing youth in
order to give them access to needed services disproportionately impacts
youth of color, who often come from under-resourced, urban, and marginalized communities. In effect, the current system is punishing young
people for circumstances that are beyond their control. To perpetuate a
system in which young people who pose little or no threat to public safety
are removed from their homes and their communities is a recipe for ongoing failure. It consigns them to a future with little promise, bleak prospects for advancement, and repeated involvement in the justice system.
Service needs should never be justification for locking up a child in
an institutional facility. If there is concern that abuse or neglect is occurring in a youth’s home, that is a matter for child welfare officials—not the
juvenile justice system. Institutional placement should be reserved for
youth who pose a significant risk to public safety, and the statute should
reflect that limitation. The determination of a youth’s risk to public safety
and the mitigation of that risk should be made using a validated risk assessment instrument, which is discussed in the next strategy.
Use validated instruments to measure risk
to public safety and guide placement decisions.
STRATEGY 4-2:
Many jurisdictions around the country are developing and implementing validated tools to make dispositional decision making in the court
room more standardized and objective. These tools typically identify
traits or conditions that predict the likelihood that a person will commit
further illegal acts and the severity level of those acts.85 They become vali-
36
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
dated after statistical analyses have shown that the instruments successfully classify people into levels of risk to public safety (i.e., low-risk cases
actually have the lowest rates of re-offense, whereas high-risk cases have
the highest rates of re-offense). Jurisdictions seeking to limit the use of
institutional placement to only those youth who pose a significant risk to
public safety are increasingly turning to validated instruments.
The Task Force recommends that validated risk assessment instruments be used in every jurisdiction in the state and by every dispositional decision maker. Probation departments should use them to guide
their dispositional recommendations to
judges.86 Judges should use them to inform
dispositional decisions. OCFS should use
them to determine whether children in its
custody—including those whom the court
placed directly in a private facility—could
Using a Dynamic Approach in Postdispositional Risk Assessment
Instruments
be better served in the community through
a day placement alternative.
According to research, most adolescents who engage in criminal behavior
It is important, here, to underscore the dif-
will end that behavior in late adolescence or early adulthood. Some
ference between risk assessments and needs
adolescent risk factors may also decrease as a result of treatment and
assessments, which determine the services
social service intervention. It is crucial that assessments of risk for
that a youth requires. Both are useful—and
can even be included in the same tool. However, many stakeholders expressed concern
to the Task Force that mental health needs
assessments presented in family courts
around the state regularly recommend that a
violence and serious offending among youth account for the impact of
youth development and social services and supports on the time frame
for which predictions remain accurate. New York State should be careful
that any tool it uses accounts for this dynamic quality of risk and allows
for reassessment.
young person be placed in a facility in order
SOURCE
to meet his or her mental health needs. As
G. M. Vincent, A. Terry, & S. Maney, “Risk/Needs Tools for Antisocial Behavior and Violence among
Youthful Populations,” in Handbook of Violence Risk Assessment and Treatment for Forensic Mental
Health Practitioners, edited by J. Andrade, 337–424 (New York: Springer, 2009).
87
noted earlier, the practice of institutionalizing youth solely to meet their mental health
or social service needs should be discontin-
ued, and additional community-based services should be developed.
The Task Force recommends that all existing and new post-adjudicatory risk assessment instruments be reviewed to ensure that they make
placement recommendations based only on risk to public safety and that
they do not penalize youth from under-resourced communities for unmet
social service needs. These instruments should also be tested to ensure
that they are culturally competent and promote racial equity and fairness.
In addition, state officials should consult with national experts to ensure
that any instrument used in New York State defines risk accurately and
effectively and has been tested for validity as well as reliability. What
it means to pose a sufficient risk to public safety to justify institutional
placement is a complicated issue. Some instruments simply identify risk
of recidivism, meaning a re-arrest for any type of offense, regardless of
severity. Other tools are more targeted, focusing specifically on risk of
violence or serious re-offending. In keeping with its belief that the use of
institutional placement should be vigilantly limited, the Task Force urges
CH AP TER 2 |
KEEP IN G MORE KIDS AT HOME: A SHIFT T O C OMMU NITY- BA SED SERV ICES
37
the state to employ the latter type of instrument. As no standardized instrument can be guaranteed to contemplate every possible risk—or lack
of risk—that a given youth might present, however, it is important that
any instrument the state chooses leaves room for a certain level of discre-
An Overview of Three
Evidence-Based Programs
▪ Multisystemic Therapy (MST): Trained
counselors help parents respond to the
behavior of their adolescents by providing
intensive therapy and crisis intervention
over a four-month period.
▪ Functional Family Therapy (FFT):
tion on the part of the examiner.
RECOMMENDATION
5. Develop and expand
community-based alternatives to institutional
placement.
Family court judges face a difficult challenge when they encounter
youth who have social service needs that demand to be met but who do
Individual therapists work with a family
not—or would not, if such services were provided to them—pose a sig-
in the home to improve problem solving,
nificant risk to public safety. If judges are to meet this challenge with-
increase emotional connections, and
out resorting to confinement, the state and localities must expand exist-
strengthen parents’ abilities to provide
ing dispositional options and develop new ones. For this to occur, a full
structure, guidance, and limits for their
range of system stakeholders—including legislators, state and local agen-
children.
cies, defense attorneys, prosecutors, child welfare officials, and program
▪ Multidimensional Treatment Foster
Care (MTFC): Specially trained foster
staff—must work collaboratively and creatively. The following strategies
are meant to guide the state’s increased use of community-based alternatives to placement by addressing the characteristics of such program-
families work alongside a family therapist
ming, the points within the system where programs should be accessed,
to care for youth in their homes over a
and financial incentives that can encourage their use.
six- to nine-month period. Simultaneously,
the youth’s family receives intensive
therapy and training to help them provide
consistent discipline, supervision, and
support.
Expand the use of evidence-based
alternatives to placement.
STRATEGY 5-1:
Over the past several years, a number of programs have gained national
attention for their ability to reduce recidivism and provide young people
SOURCE
Adapted from Best Practices in Juvenile Justice Reform, The
Case for Evidence-Based Reform (Future of Children), available online at http://www.futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/highlights/18_02_Highlights.pdf.
with the skills they need to become productive citizens and community
members. These programs include Multisystemic Therapy, Functional
Family Therapy, and Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (see sidebar on evidence-based programs). Some counties in New York State have
already begun to use these programs in their juvenile justice systems. For
example, the New York State Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives established the Juvenile-Risk Intervention Services Coordination
(J-RISC) Initiative in 2008 to fund the adoption and use of evidence-based
programs in seven counties: Dutchess, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, Orange, Oswego, and Schenectady. (For additional examples, see insert on
Current Alternative-to-Placement Programs in New York State.)
These services not only better protect public safety, they do so while
saving costs. Indeed, as cited previously, the Vera Institute’s preliminary
New York State cost-benefit analysis demonstrates that evidence-based al-
Current Alternative-to-Placement Programs
in New York State
Several jurisdictions in New York State have enhanced their local continuum of dispositional
options to include more community-based alternatives to residential placement. Programs in four
jurisdictions—Erie County, New York City, Onondaga County, and Suffolk County—are highlighted
briefly below.
Erie County
Erie County has developed a continuum of community and
four to twelve months and uses MST, FFT, and MTFC to serve
youth and families.
evidence-based services that work in tandem to keep juvenile
Between 2002 and 2007, there was a 28 percent reduction in
justice-involved youth out of institutional placement. The
the number of New York City youth admitted to OCFS custody.
continuum, which is designed to be home-based and flexible,
During this same time, the admission of African American
includes numerous programs, such as MST, FFT, outpatient
youth to OCFS custody decreased approximately 34 percent.
substance abuse treatment, intensive in-home services, and
gender-specific responses for females. From 2004 to 2008,
Onondaga County (Syracuse)
Erie reduced its placements of juvenile delinquents—to
In the mid-1990s, Onondaga County created a continuum of
both OCFS and the local department of social services—by
community-based programs designed to reduce reliance on
52 percent, from 140 to 67. During this time, Erie County
institutional placement, including the Probation Rehabilitation
averaged only five new JD admissions to OCFS per year.
Intensive Services and Management (PRISM) program.
New York City
Created through a collaboration between the Onondaga
County Departments of Probation and Social Services and the
New York City’s Department of Probation administers two
Salvation Army, PRISM provides youth at risk of being placed
programs, Esperanza/Hope and Enhanced Supervision
with a range of services for one year, including supervision,
Probation (ESP), as alternatives to institutional placement.
crisis intervention, and FFT. From 1995 to 2008, Onondaga
Launched in 2002, Esperanza provides short-term (four to six
reduced its placements—to both OCFS and the local
months), intensive, in-home therapeutic services and crisis
department of social services—from 103 to 28, accounting for
management to youth who would have otherwise been placed
a 73 percent reduction in juvenile delinquency placements.
in an institutional facility. ESP is an alternative to placement
for moderate- and high-risk juveniles who are in need of extra
Suffolk County
attention and support while under probation supervision. In
The Juvenile Day Reporting Center provides youth who are
February 2007, New York City’s Administration for Children’s
at risk of institutional placement with daily supervision and
Services launched the Juvenile Justice Initiative to provide
educational programming. In 2007, Suffolk County placed
home-based services for youth who have been identified as
153 youth with OCFS, 42 fewer (or 21.5 percent less) than
placement-bound at disposition. The program typically lasts
in 2006.
SOURCES
ESP and Esperanza: See The NYC Story: Reducing the Use of Out of Home Placements in Delinquency Cases, PowerPoint presentation available at
http://www.juvjustice.org/media/resources//resource_156.pdf; and Darnell Grisby, “Alternative to Jail Programs for Juveniles Reduce City Costs,”
New York City Independent Budget Office, Inside the Budget, July 11, 2006, available at http://www.ibo.nyc.ny.us/newsfax/insidethebudget148.pdf.
JJI: Interviews with Leslie Abbey, executive director of Juvenile Justice Initiative, and the Juvenile Justice Initiative web site at http://www.nyc.gov/html/
acs/html/support_families/juvenile_justice.shtml.
Data on New York City placements to OCFS custody: Office of Children and Family Services, Youth in Care Report, 2002 and Youth in Care Report, 2007.
PRISM: Interviews with Roxanne Hall, PRISM director, and Mary Winter and Jackie DeNiro, Onondaga County Department of Probation.
JDRC: Interview with Lorra Caligiuri, Suffolk County supervisor probation officer, and Suffolk County Department of Probation Specialized Programs:
Family Court available at http://www.co.suffolk.ny.us/Probation/SpecializedPrograms-FamilyCourt.pdf.
Erie County information: Information provided by Thomas Lillis, family court clinic supervisor, Erie County Department of Social Services.
S ECT ION TI TLE HERE
39
ternatives can generate significant benefits for local taxpayers. The study
projects that New York could save over $11 million in net benefits to both
taxpayers and victims by expanding the use of MST, FFT, and MTFC to
accommodate 15 percent of youth currently placed in juvenile facilities.88
A cost-benefit study by the
Vera Institute of Justice
projects that New York could
save over $11 million in net
(See Appendix A for a detailed description of Vera’s cost-benefit study.)
Broaden the evidence-based field by
supporting and conducting evaluations of new, innovative
programs that apply the principles of best practice.
STRATEGY 5-2:
Over the past several years, researchers have identified principles that
benefits to both taxpayers and
underlie successful evidence-based placement alternatives. Many small,
victims by expanding the use
principles but lack the resources to conduct the in-depth research needed
of MST, FFT, and MTFC.
community-based, grassroots organizations embrace these best practice
to verify—or repudiate—their programs’ effectiveness. Therefore, in addition to funding well-established evidence-based programs such as MST
and FFT, New York State should also partner with philanthropic organizations and seek federal funding to cultivate and evaluate innovative,
community-based programming that can expand the evidence-based field.
In determining what programs to fund, New York State should look
for programs that are rooted in the foundational principles of proven
successful alternative-to-placement interventions. Most importantly, alternative-to-placement programs should be structured in the following
three ways. First, they should be targeted to medium- or high-risk youth.89
Second, they should be individualized to meet a youth’s specific needs
and build on his or her strengths.90 Third, they should be family-focused.91
Each of these programmatic principles is discussed briefly below. Taken together, they echo the philosophical principles that guide the Task
Force’s work as a whole.
It is critical that alternative-to-placement programs be geared toward
youth who, but for the existence of an alternative option, would have
been placed in an institutional facility. Research shows that allocating
more resources toward higher risk offenders, as measured by a validated
risk assessment instrument, is the most cost effective approach to juvenile justice and the most influential in reducing recidivism and improving outcomes for youth and families.92 Results from one of the most highly regarded meta-analyses in the field, by Mark W. Lipsey, revealed that,
of all the characteristics of juvenile offenders that it studied, none was
more strongly correlated with the effectiveness of interventions than the
offender’s initial level of delinquency, “with larger effect sizes (greater
recidivism reductions) associated with higher risk juveniles.”93 Similarly,
another meta-analysis determined that “reductions in recidivism of 11
percent were noted in programs that had mostly higher-risk offenders
versus 2 percent reductions for programs that took in both low- and highrisk offenders.”94 In fact, intensive, court-ordered supervision of low-risk
youth can do more harm than good and risks unnecessarily widening the
net of the juvenile justice system.95
40
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
According to research, juvenile justice interventions are most effective when they provide services that are individualized to meet a youth’s
specific needs. As one analysis put it, “Programs that tailor their interventions to an individual’s identified risks and needs appear to be more successful than those that try to impose a single strategy on all cases. Accordingly, an essential first step is a thorough assessment.”96 A validated needs
assessment instrument can identify specific needs and help determine
Positive Youth
Development
the best service delivery approach.97 These instruments, as well as any
other assessment tools and services, should be carefully designed and ad-
Positive youth development is an approach
ministered to embrace the array of cultural, racial, and gender differences
to working with young people that
among young people and their families. Some young people will need
emphasizes a youth’s strengths rather than
mental health or substance abuse treatment, and alternative-to-placement
programs should provide such treatment whenever it is appropriate.
In making treatment available, however, it is important to remember
that some youth in these programs may not require any treatment at all—
at least not in the clinical sense. In order to ensure genuinely individualized and effective services, programs should emphasize and capitalize on
the young person’s strengths and skills, rather than focus solely on his or
weaknesses. Key components of positive
youth development include providing youth
with opportunities to build the competencies
they need to make a successful transition
to adulthood (e.g., strengthening their
commitment to learning and enhancing
her problems or weaknesses. Consistent with the principles described at
decision-making skills) and establishing
the outset of this report, the Task Force members looked to the literature
supportive relationships with caring adults.
on positive youth development and noted that often more than formal
Research has shown that programs and
treatment, youth need opportunities for recreation, mental stimulation,
services that incorporate these elements can
healthy peer interactions, role models, and a range of other support mech-
make youth more resilient and help them
anisms (see sidebar on Positive Youth Development).
develop the healthy habits and behaviors
Finally, alternative-to-placement programs should be family-focused,
needed to avoid negative influences.
both to leverage family strengths and to improve family functioning. An
Because positive youth development
overwhelming body of research and experience indicates that parents,
legal guardians, other family members, and even larger community structures are crucial to a youth’s successful development; effectively engaging and supporting these natural resources is a pivotal strategy for support services.98 Programs that emphasize family interactions are thought
to be the most successful because they focus on “providing skills to the
adults who are in the best position to support the child.”99 Indeed, stud-
principles describe the conditions necessary
for all youth to succeed, this approach is
valuable for working with system-involved
youth who can be safely served in their
communities through alternative-toplacement and reentry programs, as well
ies have shown that parenting and family interventions can significantly
as those who must be cared for in an
reduce the risk of re-arrest.100
institutional placement facility.
Build a continuum of alternative-toplacement programs with graduated levels of supervision
and services, including respite care for young people with
families in crisis and programs for sexually exploited youth.
STRATEGY 5-3:
Alternative-to-placement programs should be structured to meet a
range of service and security needs, from the most minimal to the most
intensive. Administrators and officials should be able to move a young
person between and among programs that offer different levels of treatment, supervision, and privileges according to the youth’s successes and
SOURCE
Search Institute: 40 Developmental Assets, Available
at: http://www.search-institute.org/assets/; W. Barton,
“Incorporating the Strengths Based Perspective into Juvenile
Justice Aftercare,” Western Criminology Review 7, no. 2
(2006): 49-61; R. Izzo, & R. Ross, “Meta Analysis of Rehabilitation Programs for Juvenile Delinquents: A Brief Report,”
Criminal Justice and Behavior 17, no. 1 (1990): 134-142; and
D. MacKenzie, “Evidence-based Corrections: Identifying What
Works,” Crime and Delinquency 46, no. 4 (2000): 457-471.
challenges. Similarly, the continuum should be used to offer graduated
administrative responses to technical violations of probation or noncompliance with alternative program requirements.
As the Task Force conducted its systemic review, it became clear that one
of the biggest deficits in New York State’s juvenile justice system is its lack
of temporary safe places for young people who are experiencing family crises. The Task Force particularly recommends that the New York State continuum include respite care—a voluntary, short-term residential option for
youth who do not pose a risk to public safety but whose families are in crisis
and in need of intensive family-focused treatment and reunification.101
The Task Force also recommends that New York State allocate funds
to ensure that a range of services are made available for youth under the
Safe Harbor for Exploited Children Act.102 Recognizing that commercially
sexually exploited youth are victims, not criminals, the Safe Harbor Act—
enacted in 2008—stops the prosecution of children 15 years of age and
younger who are arrested on prostitution-related charges. For children
meeting the state definition of a trafficking victim, the family court must
provide a range of services that includes crisis intervention, short-term
safe houses, and long-term safe houses. The Act is scheduled to go into effect on April 1, 2010, but its full implementation is contingent upon funding in the state’s upcoming budget. The Task Force calls upon the state to
include funding to support these critical services.
Ensure that courts order community-based
alternatives when making dispositional decisions.
STRATEGY 5-4:
The expansion of alternative-to-placement programs called for in strategies 5–1 and 5–2 will give judges a variety of options when they look for
community-based services for the adjudicated youth in their courtrooms.
To ensure that decision makers use these options, New York should conduct extensive outreach and training on these new programs with all
stakeholders who play a role in dispositional decision making, including
judges, probation officers, and attorneys. This training should include
warnings against net widening, since many youth may need no supervision or support other than that which their families and communities
already provide. Finally, service providers should be held accountable for
providing regular reports to the judiciary about how participants are faring in the alternative programs.
42
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
Ensure that OCFS uses its authority to use
day placement as a community-based alternative for youth
in its custody.
STRATEGY 5-5:
As stated previously, New York State law authorizes OCFS to establish
and use day placement programs.103 Historically, however, this authority
has rarely, if ever, been used. Children in OCFS custody are placed in an
institutional facility 98 percent of the time.104
The Task Force recommends that OCFS exercise its day placement
authority. In doing so, it should assess the risks to public safety posed
by young people in its custody, including those who are headed to private facilities, and carefully consider which youth could be safely served
through the day placement option, which should be guided by the same
alternative-to-placement programmatic principles described earlier.105 Although OCFS currently uses evidence-based programming such as MST
and FFT, it does so only for youth who have recently been released from
institutional facilities. OCFS should add similar programs as part of the
day placement option. Additionally, day placement should be used as a
step-down option for young people who need extra support transitioning
out of facilities, both OCFS-operated and private.
For guidance about how to structure its day placement programs, OCFS
can look to Missouri. There, youth in state custody with the least serious offending histories and the lowest likelihood of re-offending—about
12 percent of youth committed to state custody—are put in communitybased supervision programs.106 Many of these youth are assigned to one
of the state’s 10 day treatment centers, where they spend their weekdays
receiving education and counseling. After school, the programs involve
young people in community service, tutoring, or in individual and family
Providing state reimbursement
for alternatives to
placement—as done in Ohio
and Illinois—would spur the
counseling.
Provide counties with a financial incentive
to use probation supervision and other alternative-toplacement programs.
STRATEGY 5-6:
use of such alternatives.
New York State currently reimburses local jurisdictions for 50 percent
of the cost of placing a youth in a state-operated facility. However, the
state does not guarantee localities a similar reimbursement to support
the cost of assigning youth to community-based alternative-to-placement
programs or probation services. Providing state reimbursement for alternatives to placement—as is done in Ohio and Illinois (see insert on State
Incentive Programs to Reduce Reliance on Placement on page 44)—would
spur the use of such alternatives. The Task Force recommends that the
state provide at least 65 percent reimbursement for all local placement
alternatives, including those administered by probation. The state could
model this new funding initiative on an existing statewide reimbursement scheme for local programs that prevent foster care placements.107
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43
State Incentive Programs to Reduce Reliance
on Placement
Some states, most notably Ohio and Illinois, have created innovative financial incentives for
localities to support the growth of community-based alternatives to placement. These initiatives
have reduced the number of youth entering state custody, improved recidivism rates, and resulted
in substantial cost savings.
In 1993, Ohio’s state legislature enacted RECLAIM Ohio to
In 2004, Illinois developed Redeploy Illinois to discourage
decrease the number of unnecessary commitments paid for by
counties from sending youth to expensive institutional
the state and to increase the availability of community-based
placement facilities that were paid for by the state. Redeploy
services that could treat young offenders close to home. Under
Illinois offers counties fiscal assistance to develop a local
the initiative, counties receive a yearly allocation that increases
continuum of supervision and program options at the local
based on youth being diverted from state commitment. This
level, ensuring that youth are served in the least restrictive
allocation can be used to establish more cost-effective local
setting possible. In exchange, participating counties agree to
community-based alternatives to placement, such as mental
reduce the number of youth sent to placement by 25 percent
health services and family therapy, or to contract with existing
or face a fine. In the first three years of implementation, the
providers for these services. The initiative was piloted in nine
four pilot sites reduced their commitments by an average of
counties and later extended statewide after an evaluation
51 percent. The estimated two-year cost savings in the pilot
found that it had favorable results. Specifically, the 1995
localities ranged from $1.38 million to $3.83 million, for a
evaluation reported that commitment rates dropped by 43
total of nearly $8 million in net benefits to the state. Redeploy
percent in the pilot counties. A 2005 follow-up study tracking
Illinois was recently recognized by the John D. and Catherine
youth who were terminated from community-based services
T. MacArthur Foundation as a “model for change,” and the
and Department of Youth Services (DYS) facilities between
program is now open to all Illinois counties.
July 2001 and June 2002 found that youth who participated
in RECLAIM programs had average recidivism rates over a 2.5
to 3.5 year period of 20 percent, compared to a 53 percent
recidivism rate for youth released from DYS placement.* SOURCES
RECLAIM Ohio: Department of Youth Services: RECLAIM Ohio. Retrieved from http://www.dys.ohio.gov/dnn/Community/ReclaimOhio/; E. Latessa,
M. Turner, M. Moon, and B. A. Applegate, A Statewide Evaluation of the RECLAIM Ohio Initiative (Cincinnati, OH: University of Cincinnati, 1998) 5970, available online at http://www.uc.edu/ccjr/Reports/ProjectReports/Reclaim.PDF; and C. Lowencamp, & E. Latessa, “Understanding the Risk
Principle: How and Why Correctional Interventions Can Harm Low-Risk Offenders,” Topics in Community Corrections 3, no. 8 (2004).
*Note: Recidivism was defined in the study as (1) adjudication for a felony offense in juvenile court, (2) placement in an adult community supervision program, or (3) admission to a Department of Youth Services facility or adult prison.
Redeploy Illinois: Redeploy Illinois Annual Report 2007: Implementation and Impact, available online at http://www.jjustice.org/pdf/Redeploy_Illinois_Legislative_Report_5_07.pdf; and D. Geraghty, L. Jacobs, and P. Wolff, “Financial Incentives to Reduce Youth Confinement: Redeploy Illinois,”
in The Second Century: Juvenile Justice Reform in Illinois (Chicago: The MacArthur Foundation, December 2008).
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CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
RECOMMENDATION
6. Redirect cost savings into
neighborhoods that are home to the highest
number of youth in the juvenile justice system.
As noted in recommendation 1, New York State should close facilities
that are no longer needed. The cost savings that arise from these closures
should be reallocated into the communities and neighborhoods that
need them the most. As stated previously, too often youth from underresourced communities—predominantly youth of color—end up in institutional facilities because they do not have access to the youth development programs, specialized services, and financial resources available to
more privileged youth. When designing and implementing alternative-toplacement programs, it is important for New York State to recognize that
no one is better positioned to understand and support young people than
their own communities. Therefore, the state should encourage, cultivate,
and fund alternative programs located precisely in the jurisdictions from
which so many system-involved youth come (see figure 7).
Figure 7: Home Zip Codes of Youth Admitted to OCFS Custody, 2007
ADMISSIONS BY ZIP CODE
1–4
5 – 12
13 – 24
25 – 38
DETAIL
NEW YORK CITY AREA
Source: OCFS STATPOP
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45
3
Rethinking
Institutional
Placement
E V E N A FTE R N E W YOR K STAT E establishes a strong infrastructure of
community-based services and reduces its reliance on institutional placement facilities, a small number of youth—those who present a significant
risk to public safety that cannot be adequately mitigated by any community-based alternative—will continue to be placed outside of their homes
for some period of time. New York has a moral and statutory obligation to
ensure that these youth—those in both state-operated and private facilities
alike—are nurtured, cared for, and given the support needed to safely and
successfully return to their communities.108 Currently, many facilities fail to
meet this obligation. In some cases, youth not only leave facilities without
having received the support they need to become more productive, law-abiding citizens upon release, but they are also more angry, fearful, or violent
than they were when they entered.
Many factors contribute to New York’s high recidivism rates and poor
outcomes, including the location of facilities, unsafe conditions of confinement within facilities, over-zealous use of physical restraints, and general
neglect as expressed in poorly maintained environments, under-resourced
programs, and high staff turnover.
Nearly three-quarters of the youth who reside in institutional placement facilities are from the New York City metropolitan area, yet many
of the facilities in which they are placed are located upstate—sometimes
hundreds of miles away.109 Placing youth far from home weakens their
connection to their families and schools and attenuates their links with
their communities—both of which, when supported, can help produce
positive changes in an incarcerated youth’s behavior.110
Alarming conditions inside some of the state’s institutional placement
facilities point to the failure of the current system to protect youth and
staff. As cited earlier, Human Rights Watch found that girls in two of the
state’s facilities were abused and neglected by staff entrusted with keeping them safe and promised services were often not delivered.111 In June
2009, a violent outburst by a youth in a private facility resulted in the
death of a young female staff member.112 More recently, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recounted several shocking incidents of violence
and abuse in which youth in four state-operated facilities were physically
brutalized for typical adolescent behavior, such as slamming a door or
refusing to get dressed.113 The DOJ investigators also found that staff repeatedly used restraints to manage the behavior of youth who exhibited
clear signs of mental illness.114
The U.S. Department of Justice recounted several shocking
incidents of violence and abuse in which youth in four stateoperated facilities were physically brutalized for typical adolescent
behavior, such as slamming a door or refusing to get dressed.
During the course of its review, the Task Force found many facilities in
physical disrepair; youth with limited access to meaningful services and
programs; and high staff turnover due to low salaries and inadequate
training. Such circumstances, which are often the consequence of operating an under-resourced system, can foster environments in which youth
and staff alike feel unsupported, making quality care difficult to provide.
These conditions also disproportionately affect African American and
Latino youth, who are overrepresented in New York’s institutional placement facilities.
There are, however, some private and state-operated facilities in New
York that do offer positive, rehabilitative environments. These facilities
resemble those in Missouri, which has been the national leader in the
juvenile corrections field for more than two decades.115 Placed youth in
Missouri live in small, nurturing facilities close to their homes and families where they receive the support they need to lead more productive
lives. As a result, only 22.5 percent of youth released from Missouri’s
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CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
placement facilities are recommitted to any correctional setting three
years after discharge.116 These results have prompted other jurisdictions,
including Louisiana, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia, to follow
Missouri’s lead and reexamine their approach to working with youth in
custody.
Recommendations 7 through 12 outline how New York State can reform its institutional placement system along similar lines. The recommendations pertain to youth in both private and state-operated facilities.
Although the Task Force focused predominantly on juvenile delinquency
cases, the recommendations here should also be read to apply to young
people who are tried in criminal court as juvenile offenders. (As noted
previously, JOs are placed in OCFS secure facilities alongside some juvenile delinquents.)
RECOMMENDATION
7. Place youth close to home.
Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in facilitating adolescents’
development and their transition to adulthood.117 Placing youth close to
home can help foster and cultivate positive relationships and allow families to participate in treatment and discharge planning designed to prepare youth for better outcomes upon release.
Strategy 7-1 outlines ways to keep youth close to home and help them
maintain strong ties to their families and communities.
Establish a standard distance within which
all youth are placed, and provide transportation to families
with children in custody.
STRATEGY 7-1:
Research shows that keeping youth close to their families during
placement gives them opportunities to repair and renew relationships
and practice skills for addressing challenges they may face upon release.
It also yields better effects on recidivism.118 The great distances between
New York’s placement facilities and the home communities of many
placed youth is counterproductive. In 2007, 74 percent of New York
State’s total institutional placement admissions came from the New York
City metropolitan area.119 Yet, as figure 8 on the next page shows, many
state-operated facilities are located in distant, upstate communities. For
example, the median distance between a youth placed in the Allen Residential Center—the non-secure placement facility that housed the most
youth in 2007—and his or her home community was 125 miles.12o (See
Appendix B for a more detailed look at where admissions to Allen Residential Center come from.) Some young people at both Lincoln Hall, one
of the largest private facilities in the state, and the Highland Residential
Center, a limited secure facility, were placed almost 300 miles away from
their homes.121 For economically disadvantaged urban families who rely
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49
on public transportation, traveling these distances to visit an incarcerated youth can be especially difficult.
The Task Force recommends that New York State establish a maximum distance from home within which all youth in state custody are
placed. Ideally, this distance will allow families and caregivers to make
easy, regular trips to the facility and facilitate access to post-placement
services in their communities. To encourage visitation and strengthen
family relationships, the Task Force encourages OCFS to follow the lead
of some of its private agencies that provide transportation to and from
facilities at no cost to families and caregivers. This approach will require
OCFS to review where youth entering placement are coming from and
locate facilities accordingly to ensure that youth are served close to home.
As a model, New York should look to Massachusetts and Missouri, which
have developed regional placement systems to keep youth close to home
(see Missouri insert for more on this topic).122
Figure 8: Selected Placement Facilities*
FAC I L I T Y T Y P E
Non-secure
Limited Secure
Secure
Private
Annsville Residential Center
Industry Limited Secure
Industry Secure Center
Taberg Residential Center
Harriet Tubman Residential Center
Louis Gossett, Jr. Residential Center
MacCormick Secure Center
Tryon Residential Center
Tryon Girls Center—Limited Secure
Tryon Girls Center—Secure
Lansing Residential Center
Allen Residential Center
Youth Leadership Academy
Brookwood Secure Center
Red Hook Residential Center
Highland Residential Center
Middletown Residential Center
Goshen Secure Center
Children’s Village
Ella McQueen Residential Center
Staten Island Residential Center
*Note: Map includes all state-operated facilities and the three private agencies with the highest
number of JD placement admissions in 2007. OCFS contracts with 49 private placement agencies;
however, in 2007, the majority of private admissions went to three facilities: Lincoln Hall, GrahamWindham, and Children’s Village.
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CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
Lincoln Hall
Graham—Windham
Bronx Residential Center
Brentwood Residential Center
Brooklyn Residential Center
Missouri: A National Leader in Juvenile Corrections
Missouri leads the nation with its distinct approach to juvenile corrections. Over the past two
decades, the state’s Division of Youth Services (DYS)—the agency responsible for the care of youth
placed in state custody—has developed a model of care premised on rehabilitation. In 2008, DYS
received Harvard University’s Innovations in American Government award for its work in the field.
Key elements of the Missouri model are described below.
Youth are placed close to home: DYS has divided the state
into five regions and aims to keep all children within driving
distance of their families. Families can visit and call youth
twice a week, allowing them to be actively involved in the
treatment process. In the absence of an immediate family
member, extended family or another responsible caregiver can
also be involved.
Youth are actively involved in their treatment: After entering
a facility, youth create individualized treatment plans with a
service coordinator, who manages their case. These plans
identify a youth’s treatment needs and track his or her
progress toward meeting different goals. Every youth must
pass through a series of levels to graduate from the program.
This structure provides a road map of varying expectations and
responsibilities that reflect stages of the behavioral change
process.
Treatment is group-based: Because many of the symptoms
and needs exhibited by young people often stem from similar
core issues, each youth is assigned to a group of 10 to 12 youth
after arriving at a facility. Youth remain with their groups all day,
attending school and treatment sessions together.
Physical restraints are used as a last resort: DYS creates
a safe environment within its facilities by cultivating an
atmosphere of healthy relationships and mutual respect.
Dangerous techniques, such as face-down restraints, are not
permitted. Instead, staff employ a number of techniques to
defuse trouble and foster a safe environment. Within groups,
young people use circles—where the group physically stands
or sits in a circle—to clarify issues, resolve conflicts,give each
other feedback, or raise concerns. In rare instances when a
restraint occurs, youth and staff reflect on how this situation
was handled and whether it could have been prevented. With
this approach, serious injuries to youth or staff are avoided.
Facilities are warm and home-like: DYS facilities do not use
razor wire fences, and inside, facilities are clean and nurturing,
with bright furnishings in rooms and common areas. Colorful
bulletin boards cover most facility walls, often featuring art work
or positive messages written by youth. Young people also care
for pets, wear their own clothing, and participate in different
activities, ranging from GED classes and vocational training to
theater groups and sporting events.
DYS invests in its staff: Youth are overseen at all times by
highly trained, well-educated staff members who have strong
interpersonal skills. During their first two years, staff complete
236 hours of training that emphasize DYS’s values and beliefs
and includes extensive practice in applying different concepts
used with youth. Staff members also receive approximately 40
hours of ongoing training every year.
Reentry is strongly emphasized: Youth work with staff to
plan for release as soon as they enter the facility. Upon release,
young people typically remain in aftercare programs for a
minimum of four months. During this time, they may enter
a DYS day treatment program, which provides educational
instruction and services in the community to help them
transition from institutional placement back to home life. Youth
are also monitored and supported by a community mentor, who
is based in the home community and can help them find jobs.
Only 22.5 percent of youth released from juvenile custody in
2005 were re-incarcerated in juvenile or adult correctional
facilities for rules violations or new offenses within three years
(nearly half of the similar rate in many other states). Approximately 84 percent of youth exiting DYS custody in 2007 were
productively engaged in school, college, and/or employment at
the time of discharge.
In recent years, the Missouri model has caught the attention of
policymakers nationwide. After retiring in 2005, Mark Steward,
the former head of DYS and architect of the model, created
the Missouri Youth Services Institute (MYSI) to teach interested
jurisdictions about how to use the insights and lessons from
Missouri to inform their own planning efforts.
SOURCES
Dick Mendel, The Missouri Method: How One State Revolutionized the Art of Rehabilitating Youthful Offenders and What Your State Can Do to
Replicate its Success (Annie E. Casey Foundation, Release Date pending); and Dick Mendel, Small is Beautiful: Missouri Shows the Way on Juvenile
Corrections (Annie E. Casey Foundation, Spring 2003).
RECOMMENDATION
8. Develop a standard process
to accurately assess a youth’s risks and
needs.
Chapter 2 discussed the assessment tools that can determine whether youth present a severe enough risk to public safety to warrant being
placed in a facility. However, all placed youth do not present the same level of risk or the same service needs. A proper assessment of each placed
youth’s risk level is critical in determining what kind of facility—secure,
limited secure, or non-secure—is most appropriate for him or her.123 After
all, as that earlier discussion noted, lower-risk youth are more likely to
adopt anti-social behavior when placed with higher-risk peers.124 Similarly, a well-designed needs assessment can identify the underlying causes
of a youth’s delinquent behavior and inform the development of an effective treatment plan.125
In New York, a youth’s classification—the assignment of delinquent
youth to a specific facility—occurs either in the court or during the facility intake and assessment process. Although youth placed into specific
private facilities are evaluated upon their arrival, each agency has its own
assessment tools. OCFS does not specify in its contracts what assessment tools should be used, and it does not analyze aggregate information
gathered from these assessments. By contrast, when the court deems that
placement in a state-operated facility is required, OCFS makes the final
facility assignment based on a standard intake and assessment of youth
at the state’s reception centers.
OCFS officials report that the severity of a youth’s adjudicated offense
or his or her prior criminal history rarely factor into the classification decision. Rather, the primary consideration is the availability of programs
and services to treat a youth’s needs. As a result, a youth whose criminal
history or service needs would dictate that he or she be placed in a nonsecure facility close to home might instead be sent to a more restrictive
facility to ensure he or she has access to specific services.
The current practices raise serious questions about whether the existing intake and assessment process is aligned with the goal of a cohesive
placement system for all youth in OCFS custody. Strategy 4-2 called for
the use of a standardized and validated instrument that would inform
placement decisions by gauging the risk to public safety posed by individual children. OCFS should use this instrument to both determine
when or if any youth in its custody—whether referred to a private or
state-operated facility—is eligible for a day placement and inform what
level of facility—secure, limited secure, or non-secure—into which he
or she should be placed. In addition, a standardized needs assessment
should be used to identify a young person’s educational, mental health,
and social service needs. This risk and needs approach—which could be
combined in a single tool—will provide a more consistent intake and assessment process for all youth in custody.
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CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
To administer this standardized tool, the Task Force recommends that
all youth placed in OCFS custody—both those in state-operated and private facilities—be assessed at the time of placement. The Task Force calls
upon New York State to review the current statutory language governing placement to determine what changes would be required to implement this new intake and assessment process. It is also critical that this
recommendation be considered in conjunction with recommendation 7,
which calls for youth to be placed close to home, and recommendation
10, which recommends that every facility be equipped to address youth’s
service and educational needs. Moving forward, New York should also review the practices of other jurisdictions, such as the District of Columbia,
which has developed a risk-driven classification system.126
RECOMMENDATION
9. Require all facilities’ culture
and physical environments to be conducive to
positive youth development and rehabilitation.
A facility’s culture and physical environment lay the foundation for a
youth’s experience in confinement. For this reason, staff, programs, and
spaces inside these facilities should work together to create a safe environment that encourages young people to participate in different interventions that will help prepare them for life after placement.127 Positive
youth development, which provides a framework for how to work with
youth, suggests that young people develop and flourish when they are
connected to the right mix of opportunities, relationships, and social assets (see sidebar on Positive Youth Development on page 41).128 Jurisdictions like Santa Clara County, California, and the District of Columbia
have followed Missouri’s model in using this framework to develop treatment philosophies and facility designs that build on youth’s strengths
and encourage rehabilitation. The results have been impressive: a study
of Santa Clara County, which recently piloted a redesigned residential
program for high-risk youth that incorporates elements of the Missouri
model, found a drop in the average number of behavioral incidents per
youth from 9.8 under the old model to 4.9.129
A facility’s culture and physical environment lay the foundation
for a youth’s experience in confinement.
The culture and physical environments of New York State’s institutional placement facilities vary significantly. Some private and state-operated facilities do have a nurturing, rehabilitative atmosphere. Others—as
outlined in the DOJ report—are punitive and feel like adult prisons. In
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53
these facilities, staff are sometimes quick to resort to punishment and
excessive force in situations that do not warrant such an approach. Such
conditions are unacceptable and indicate that the current system is failing to protect the safety of youth placed in OCFS custody.
To its credit, over the past two years, New York State has started to
take steps to ensure a safe and therapeutic environment within all of its
facilities. For example, OCFS recently adopted the Sanctuary Model within its facilities, which emphasizes nonviolence and open communication
(see sidebar on the Sanctuary Model).
In addition, OCFS developed an automated restraint tracking system
and established therapeutic intervention committees in 2008 to monitor
and reduce the use of unnecessary physical restraints in its facilities.130
The Task Force applauds OCFS for these initial efforts, but much more
still needs to be done. New York should build on these efforts to create
a system of care that treats all youth in OCFS custody with dignity and
respect and prepares them to lead healthy and productive lives. The following three strategies are designed to transform the culture and physical environment within every institutional placement facility to be more
conducive to rehabilitation and positive youth
development while maintaining the safety of
The Sanctuary Model
Beginning in early 2007, OCFS adopted the Sanctuary model
to establish a more therapeutic environment within its facilities.
Developed by Dr. Sandra Bloom in the early 1990s, Sanctuary is a
systems approach for creating or changing organizational culture in
order to more effectively heal and address trauma. Key components of
the model include a commitment to nonviolence, open communication,
social responsibility, and growth and change. Implementing Sanctuary
requires two years of intensive staff training and leadership
development. While Sanctuary has been applied in a number of
settings to date, including acute care mental health facilities, OCFS’s
use of this model is the first attempt to implement it in a juvenile
justice system. OCFS has staggered its implementation of Sanctuary:
staff at 20 facilities have been trained in the model since January
2007, and the approach will be fully rolled out across the system
both youth and staff.
Ensure that youth are
safe and protected from excessive
use of force or restraints as a form of
punishment.
STRATEGY 9-1:
An effective response to conflict is essential for protecting the safety of both youth and
staff, particularly since correctional climates
can have a significant effect on interpersonal
violence within facilities.131 The OCFS policy
manual limits the use of physical restraints in
state-operated facilities to “exceptional circumstances when all other appropriate pro-active,
non-physical behavioral management techniques have been tried and have failed.”132 The
by 2012. Currently, the OCFS Bureau of Evaluation and Research is
policy provides that when the use of physical
conducting an evaluation of the Sanctuary program at nine state-
restraint is necessary, “staff shall employ only
operated and private facilities, which will document the implementation
the minimum amount of physical control neces-
process and examine whether this approach is associated with positive
sary to stabilize the youth/situation.”133 Similar-
changes in facility climate, safety, and behavior of youth and staff.
ly, state regulations governing private agencies
state that restraints may only be used “when
SOURCE
Office of Children and Family Services, An Introduction to the Sanctuary Implementation Process
(New York: Office of Children and Family Services, February 2009).
other forms of intervention are either inappropriate or have been tried and proved unsuccessful” and “never… for punishment or for the convenience of staff.”134
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In practice, however, staff at some facilities routinely have used what the
U.S. Department of Justice report called “uncontrolled, unsafe applications
of force that deviate from generally accepted standards and OCFS policy.”135
In fact, DOJ concluded that the treatment of youth in the four facilities that
were under investigation violated their Constitutional rights.136 Similarly,
Human Rights Watch found that girls in two facilities were kicked,
choked, and thrown against walls.137
Below are a few examples of the use of restraints documented in the
DOJ report:
▪
In one facility, staff routinely pushed a button on their radio—
also known as “pin pushing”—any time a youth exhibited resistance to following directions, triggering a de-escalation response team. The response team often restrained youth for the
most minor of violations, ranging from slamming the door to
glaring at a staff member. These restraints caused severe injuries, including bruising, swelling, and broken bones.138
▪
Dangerous restraint practices coupled with poor execution led
to the death of one youth in 2006 when a 15-year-old boy at the
Tryon Residential Center was pinned face-down to the floor
and handcuffed by two staff after becoming angry about losing
his recreational privileges. Minutes later, the youth stopped
breathing and later died at a nearby hospital; his death was
later ruled a homicide by the medical examiner.139
Staff at the four facilities repeatedly told DOJ investigators that they
knew of no “other tactics that could be used to more effectively address
certain situations.”140 They also expressed concern that efforts to “reduce
the use of restraints put their own safety at risk.”141 Such observations
reveal a need for better staff training on how to defuse tensions in crisis
situations.
Data on the use of restraints across the system is limited. According
to Task Force interviews of OCFS officials, the agency did not gather and
analyze restraint data electronically from state-operated facilities until
2008. OCFS has some electronic data on the use of restraints at different private facilities, but these agencies are not required to collect and
report this information to the newly launched restraint tracking system.
As a result, no aggregate data on the use of restraints in private facilities
was available for the Task Force’s review. The Task Force’s examination
of quarterly restraint reports from the first quarter of 2008 through the
third quarter of 2009 found significant variation from one state-operated
facility to another. For example, Red Hook Residential Center, a 22-bed
non-secure facility, reported 24 restraints in 2008.142 By contrast, the 50bed Lansing non-secure facility reported 806 restraints during the same
period.143
These findings underscore the need for OCFS to aggressively limit and
monitor the use of restraints in all facilities. Similarly the agency must
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55
provide staff with comprehensive training on how to use de-escalation
techniques, rather than physical force, to defuse conflict and protect
youth from harm and ensure that staff use these techniques going forward. The Task Force commends OCFS for beginning to gather data on
the use of restraints in its state-operated facilities, but private facilities
should also be required to collect and report similar data. OCFS should review and analyze this data to continually monitor restraint usage across
the system. In addition, the Task Force recommends that the state end the
practice of shackling youth during transport to a facility.144
STRATEGY 9-2:
Promote a culture of caring and mutual
respect.
Research from both the juvenile and adult justice systems shows that
establishing strong relationships in facilities is crucial to creating a safe
environment. For example, one study from the adult correctional field
found that relationships between inmates and staff that are rooted in decency, trust, and respect result in lower rates of violence and disorder
and higher levels of well-being in prisons.145 Another study reported that
when juveniles feel fairly treated rather than alienated by repressive controls, they are more likely to refrain from violence and collaborate with
facility staff to achieve programming goals.146
At some of New York State’s placement facilities, staff develop strong,
trusting relationships with youth in their care and approach their jobs
more as counselors than correctional officers. Staff at other facilities,
however, adhere to a more punitive approach.
New York State should focus resources on cultivating facility staff
who embrace the first approach. As noted later in recommendation 11,
this should include amending recruiting policies, providing incentives for
changed behavior, and enhancing training opportunities for staff. Culture
change is a complex process. But if successful, it promises great returns in
terms of better outcomes for young people, staff, and public safety.
Make the physical appearance of facilities
less punitive and more nurturing.
STRATEGY 9-3:
Several facilities in New York continue to resemble adult prisons. Razor wire installed at many secure and limited secure state-operated facilities in the 1990s and poorly maintained interior spaces reinforce the
notion of a punitive, uncaring system. During one site visit, Task Force
members were shown rooms that looked and felt like prison cells, with no
ventilation, inadequate furniture, and bare concrete walls.
The Task Force recommends that New York review its use of security
construction features and employ less obtrusive security methods, such as
curved fencing, which does not have the harsh appearance of razor wire
used at adult prisons. In conjunction with better staff training to super-
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CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
vise and engage youth in productive activities (see recommendation 11 for
more on this issue), these approaches can create a more positive, humane
setting for young people in facilities while still maintaining safety and security. During its review, Task Force members visited a few state-operated
and private facilities within New York that were more conducive to rehabilitation and positive youth development. For example, Red Hook Residential Center in upstate New York demonstrates the impact that a smaller
facility can have on creating a sense of community and a more nurturing
environment. As a starting point, OCFS should look to these facilities as
well as those in Missouri for guidance on how to redesign its exterior and
interior spaces. In Missouri, for example, razor wire is not used even at
the most secure facilities (see Missouri insert on page 51 for more details).
Living spaces should feel more home-like, consistent with the principles
of positive youth development. Youth should also have the opportunity
to decorate their walls and post pictures, speak with their peers during
mealtimes, and wear their own clothes instead of uniforms.
RECOMMENDATION
10. Fund and provide services
and programs, including education and mental
health treatment, which prepare youth for
release.
The Task Force found that many state-operated placement facilities
lack sufficient resources to ensure that youth receive an array of necessary services. As noted in the DOJ report, specialized treatment, such as
substance use and mental health services, is either inadequate or unavailable due to poor assessments and limited staffing.147 In addition, educational programming is often hampered by a lack of basic materials and
technology. Unfortunately, there is no aggregate information available on
the treatment processes, services, and programs offered by the 49 private
facilities under contract with OCFS to provide placement services. As a
result, the Task Force was unable to fully evaluate how well New York’s
existing placement system serves young people in those facilities.
The following strategies outline ways to provide all confined
youth—including both those in private and state-operated facilities—
with services and educational programs that are aligned with positive
youth development.
Engage youth, families, treatment providers,
and facility staff in the treatment planning process.
STRATEGY 10-1:
Engaging stakeholders—including youth, families and caregivers,
treatment providers, and facility staff—in the treatment planning pro-
CHA PTER 3 | RETHIN KIN G INS TITU TIONA L PLAC EM ENT
57
cess can help to ensure that placed youth get the support and services
they need. Involving youth and families in treatment planning has been
shown to decrease the likelihood of further criminal behavior and reduce
juvenile incarceration rates.148 For youth with specialized needs, such as
mental health or substance use problems, this process also provides an
opportunity for staff and families to agree on a diagnosis and collaboratively develop treatment goals. Treatment plans should be written so that
young people understand and own their goals. They should be revised
and adjusted as the youth progresses and more is learned about his or her
needs and learning styles.
In practice, however, treatment planning in several New York facilities often lacks key members. In conversations with facility directors and
OCFS officials, the Task Force found, for example, that families did not
regularly participate in treatment team meetings—often due to the distances separating families from facilities and sometimes due to language
barriers. Independent consultants from the Missouri Youth Services Institute (MYSI) noted in an assessment they conducted of seven OCFS-
Effectively addressing the needs of youth in institutional placement
facilities requires a comprehensive set of well-coordinated programs
to support their development.
operated facilities that many youth had not been invited to their own
treatment team meetings and only later received feedback on what was
discussed.149
Too often, the treatment plans themselves are inadequate. DOJ investigators describe “a maze of uncoordinated plans and goals for youth”
within facilities.150 Their report noted, for example, that one youth was
assigned several different diagnoses by treatment providers at the same
facility, making it difficult “to develop a cohesive strategy for addressing [the youth’s] needs.”151 They also found that many treatment plans
for youth with complex mental health needs were superficial and lacked
a detailed discussion of how they would “address the youth’s underlying
problems in a meaningful way.”152 Similarly, the MYSI assessment found
that information in the Residential Behavioral Assessment form—the primary tool used to monitor a youth’s progress during his or her stay in
custody—often had no connection to the youth’s specific needs or did
not outline how daily activities were linked to achieving his or her overall
treatment goals.153
The Task Force calls upon OCFS to develop a well-coordinated treatment planning process that is aligned with professional standards. Treatment team meetings should include all treatment providers and youth to
ensure that a youth’s treatment is aligned with his or her diagnosis and
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CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
reflects the youth’s personal goals. This strategy should also be considered in conjunction with recommendation 7, which calls for all youth to
be placed close to home to strengthen bonds with their families and communities. Facility staff should view youth and families as partners and
encourage their participation in every aspect of the treatment process.
Design, implement, and invest in a
coordinated continuum of facility-based services and
programs that address the full range of youth needs.
STRATEGY 10-2:
Effectively addressing the needs of youth in institutional placement
facilities requires a comprehensive set of well-coordinated programs to
support youth development.154 This treatment should not be disconnected from a youth’s daily activities or delivered in isolated sessions aimed
at curing discrete problems; rather, every part of the program should be
aimed at helping youth achieve their treatment goals.155 Research shows
that youth with access to a diverse array of supports and opportunities are
less likely to experience school failure, substance use, and delinquency.156
Figure 9 illustrates the service needs of 891 young people admitted
to state-operated facilities in 2007. Approximately 48 percent of youth
(429) who were screened at intake to OCFS-operated facilities in 2007 had
mental health needs, and 70 percent (625) had substance use issues (as
youth can have multiple service needs, the totals exceed 100 percent).157
Although private agencies conduct similar assessments of youth placed
in their facilities, OCFS does not publicly report similar, aggregate data on
the service needs of these youth.
Figure 9: Assessed Service Needs of Youth Admitted to State-operated Facilities, 2007
700
600
625
500
400
ADMISSIONS
429
394
300
200
203
100
50
0
Health
Limited English
33
Mental Health
Mental Retardation
62
Sex Offender Service
Special Education
Substance Abuse
SERVICE NEED
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DOJ investigators found that some state-operated facilities failed to
provide adequate programs to address the needs of youth with mental
health and/or substance abuse problems.
▪
In one case, facility staff virtually abandoned a youth with
complex behavioral problems and very serious mental health
needs because they lacked the tools to address her condition
and feared for the safety of others. Her needs went largely
unaddressed, even though she urinated and defecated on the
floor, would not participate in activities, and refused medication. She was restrained by staff 15 times in just over three
months.158
▪
Elsewhere, staff were unable to stop a young man from rubbing a scratch raw on his finger after a negative phone call
with his family. Staff handcuffed and shackled him and took
him to the emergency room for an evaluation. 159
OCFS has recently introduced several evidence-based treatment models in its facilities, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), to support its shift to the Sanctuary
Model.160 However, MYSI’s assessment found that some direct care staff
in these facilities were confused about the distinctions—or similarities—
between various therapies and how they should be integrated into their
daily work with youth.161
Interviews conducted by the Task Force with OCFS officials and facility staff indicate that insufficient staffing prevents many facilities from
offering enough specialized services such as mental health programs.
Beyond specialized services and programs, some young people at different state-operated facilities told researchers that they have little to
do in facilities and need more basic resources and programs, including
books, mentoring programs, and parenting classes.162 State juvenile justice advocates echoed these findings in a discussion with the Task Force,
noting that extracurricular activities, such as arts and sports programs,
are severely lacking in some placement facilities. They also noted the inadequacy of services available to serve system-involved girls and lesbian,
gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth, who often
have very specific needs.
Some young people at different state-operated facilities reported
that they have little to do and need more basic resources, including
books and mentoring programs.
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CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
The Task Force commends OCFS for promulgating a policy protecting
LGBTQ youth in its custody.163 The Guidelines for Good Childcare Practices with LGBTQ Youth, which accompany the policy, have set a national
standard for protecting the rights and safety of youth in placement facilities. The Task Force strongly urges OCFS to carefully monitor the policy’s
implementation to ensure that the guidelines are being followed and that
youth feel emotionally and physically safe enough to report any infractions. The Task Force also recommends that OCFS make the policy, guidelines, and the obligations resulting from these documents, applicable to
the private facilities.
More broadly, the Task Force recommends that OCFS assess current
programs, services, and training offered in all state-operated and private
facilities to determine whether they meet the needs of youth in custody
Pennsylvania: Helping
Youth Gain Skills During
Placement
In 2008, the Pennsylvania Council of Chief
Juvenile Probation Officers initiated the
Academic and Career/Technical Training
and are strength-based and culturally competent. OCFS should also part-
Alliance (PACTT) to improve the academic
ner with other state agencies, including the Office of Mental Health and
and career and technical training that
the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, to find ways to pro-
youth in placement receive to help them
vide high-quality care to all youth with specialized needs, regardless of
transition successfully back to their home
the facility in which they are placed. Finally, a strong emphasis should be
communities. To achieve this goal, PACTT
placed on training staff to ensure that they have the tools needed to treat
works with residential facilities to align their
youth with different needs.
academic programs with the Pennsylvania
Department of Education standards,
Provide access to a high-quality education
within facilities that prepares youth for success in the
community.
STRATEGY 10-3:
Time in an institutional placement facility can provide youth a window of opportunity to address fundamental gaps in their education and
reconnect to learning. Yet Task Force interviews with OCFS officials and
accelerate credit recovery, and establish
dozens of career and technical education
(CTE) training programs in high demand
areas that provide family-sustaining wages.
Because the competencies learned are
aligned with industry standards, they are
portable after discharge from placement.
site visits to facilities revealed that youth do not always receive the edu-
These programs promote literacy, teamwork,
cational support they need. Curricula and resources (such as textbooks
cooperation, and general job skills. PACTT
and computers) vary across the system. In some facilities, youth reported
has nurtured the development of close to 40
that textbooks were outdated, irrelevant to their interests, or not matched
CTE programs in facilities across the state.
to their reading level. Other youth stated that they had repeated the same
In addition, many of the facilities now offer
curriculum multiple times.164 Some facility directors with whom the Task
entry-level, industry-recognized certifications.
Force spoke noted that higher education and vocational programming
PACTT has also worked with local workforce
were unavailable because they depend on volunteer recruitment and pri-
investment boards to secure funding to
vate grants.
New York State should invest in books, technology, and tutoring and
mentoring services to enhance educational programs offered to incarcer-
provide youth with part-time paid jobs within
the facilities.
ated youth. These resources should reflect youth’s diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, needs, and interests. State officials should also make
higher education and workforce development programs accessible at all
facilities, as Pennsylvania has done (see sidebar on Pennsylvania). Finally, OCFS should cultivate and leverage relationships with other agencies and organizations, including universities, colleges, and the New York
State Department of Labor. These changes will help youth in placement
to reach their potential and develop useful skills!
SOURCE
“Pennsylvania Academic and Career/Technical Training Project,” Stoneleigh Center, available online at http://stoneleighcenter.org/files/PACTT%20one%20page.pdf; and MacArthur
Foundation’s Models for Change web site, available at http://
www.modelsforchange.net/about/States-for-change/Pennsylvania.html.
Conduct a thorough examination of the
educational and vocational curricula used in all facilities.
STRATEGY 10-4:
Designing and implementing an intensive curriculum is challenging,
Washington, DC: An
Innovative Approach to
Education for Placed
Youth
particularly in under-resourced classrooms with youth of different ages
and skill levels. The Task Force recommends that OCFS thoroughly assess the educational curricula in its facilities, develop a strength-based
curriculum that responds to the needs of youth in custody, and increase
collaboration with local school districts. OCFS should also review the
education reforms implemented by the District of Columbia Department
of Youth Rehabilitation Services, which uses a theme-based curriculum
The District of Columbia’s Department of
tailored to the needs and interests of youth in placement (see Washing-
Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), which
ton, DC sidebar).
is responsible for caring for city youth placed
in the district’s custody, has transformed its
approach to education over the past four
years to more effectively engage youth
in school during and after placement.
Establish OCFS as its own school district
and accredit all facility schools.
STRATEGY 10-5:
Although some private agencies are able to issue credits or diplo-
Specifically, DYRS contracted with the See
mas to youth who complete coursework while they are in institutional
Forever Foundation, which operates the
placement, OCFS cannot.165 Under regulations set by the New York State
local Maya Angelou Charter schools in DC,
Education Department, school principals in a youth’s home district can
to operate the school at the District’s sole
choose to accept or reject credits earned at OCFS facilities.166 The Task
secure government-run placement facility for
Force calls upon New York State to designate OCFS as a separate school
committed youth in Laurel, MD. See Forever
district and accredit all facility schools, provided they meet all the neces-
staff revamped the school curriculum by
sary criteria. Implementing this change will both ensure that all youth
dividing core courses into eight month-long
in OCFS custody receive credits and diplomas upon completion of their
segments. Each month has a guiding theme
(such as power or ethics), and each course
(social studies, English, math, science) teaches
topics relevant to that theme. Because youth
attend class by unit rather than by grade
level, the school also created a literacy pullout program, which provides certain youth
with additional instructional time devoted to
coursework, regardless of where they are placed, and provide OCFS with
access to additional funding for educational programs. Given that this
change will likely require passing legislation or amending Education Law
section 112, the state should carefully review its options and identify the
most effective and efficient way to implement this recommendation. In
the interim, the Task Force recommends that, at the very least, a youth’s
credits for coursework completed within a facility—both state-operated
and private—be automatically transferred to his or her home school after
leaving OCFS custody.
one-on-one or small group reading sessions.
By using month-long modules for different
themes, incoming youth are better able to
transition back to school because courses
start and stop frequently. Youth also attend
eight-week career institutes that help them
explore different career paths in the arts,
carpentry, horticulture, or advocacy.
RECOMMENDATION
11. Support and invest in
staff.
Across the system, staff and administrators play a central role in every
aspect of a young person’s experience in confinement. Direct care staff
in state-operated facilities supervise, mentor, and plan for a youth’s dis-
SOURCE
charge; caseworkers in OCFS’s Voluntary Agency Services unit monitor
Interviews with DYRS staff during Task Force site visit.
youth placed in private facilities; directors and professional staff manage
operations and oversee youth’s treatment and education; and administra-
tors determine where youth will be placed and formulate policies that impact day-to-day life. Yet OCFS officials and facility directors from across
the state told Task Force interviewers that they face significant challenges
that can negatively impact morale and performance and lead to high turnover rates. These include insufficient training, poorly maintained conditions, and substandard wages.
The following five strategies are intended to provide greater support
to staff in all facilities, thereby improving the conditions of confinement
for youth in the state’s care. These staff have an incredibly demanding
job. It is the state’s responsibility to offer them the support, training, and
recognition they need so that they can focus on what brought so many of
them to the job in the first place: a desire to help young people find a better path. As the state works to foster and solidify a systemwide focus on
rehabilitation (versus punishment), staff support and guidance is critical.
These staff have an incredibly demanding job. It is the state’s
responsibility to offer them the support, training, and recognition
they need so that they can focus on what brought so many of
them to the job in the first place: a desire to help young people
find a better path.
Train all facilities’ staff in cultural
competency, positive youth development, and relevant
treatment approaches and philosophies.
STRATEGY 11-1:
As noted in recommendation 7, most of the state’s facilities are in rural areas far from the cities (particularly New York City) that are home
to most of the youth in OCFS custody. Some facility directors reported
that the demographic profiles and life experiences of staff in certain facilities can be quite different from those of the youth in their care. These
differences may sometimes cause cultural rifts that lead to tension and
conflict. At one facility, a youth noted that the staff could not relate to her
cultural background, since “most of us are of color and the staff is mostly
white.”167 Several facility directors also stated that increased staff training in cultural competency—enhancing awareness and communication
across cultural divides—would foster better relationships between staff
and incarcerated youth.
Some staff also lack adequate training on adolescent behavior and
positive youth development. For example, OCFS officials noted during
interviews with the Task Force that until earlier this year, staff training
was more deficit-focused (i.e., “what did you do to be adjudicated?”) than
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focused on trauma and a youth’s assets.168 This approach may not be effective, especially since youth, compared to adults, are more prone to
defiant and disobedient behaviors that can be addressed through verbal
interventions.169 Yet, as described previously, the DOJ report and youth in
some facilities stated that staff consistently resort to threats and force in
response to non-compliant behavior.170
Adequate staffing is required to implement a treatment approach
that actively engages youth.
Staff have also had different reactions to new treatment approaches,
such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy and the Sanctuary Model. Task Force
interviews with some facility directors revealed that direct care staff did
not always understand how these new approaches could be implemented
without compromising their authority. By contrast, staff in other facilities who were supported and mentored by supervisors on how to use
these new approaches reported feeling more satisfied with their jobs and
had more positive interactions with youth.
The Task Force recommends that OCFS train all staff, both administrative and direct care, in cultural competency, youth development, and the
treatment approaches and philosophies used in all facilities. In particular,
OCFS should amend its contracts with private agencies to ensure that
these training components are implemented systemwide. This training
will ensure that staff understand youth’s cultural and racial backgrounds,
their distinct developmental needs, and the treatment approaches and
philosophies that address these needs. OCFS should also provide regular opportunities for professional development and review the work of
Missouri in this area, which invests a significant amount of resources in
training (see Missouri insert on page 51).
Provide funding to ensure that all
placement facilities are adequately staffed to serve youth
needs.
STRATEGY 11-2:
Adequate staffing is required to implement a treatment approach that
actively engages youth. Yet interviews conducted by the Task Force with
different facility directors revealed that low staff-to-youth ratios in many
facilities continue to reflect an approach that emphasizes security and
control rather than building meaningful relationships with youth. OCFS
officials reported, for example, that staff-to-youth ratios of 1: 9 and 1:10
are common in many state-operated placement facilities, even though
these ratios do not allow for effective utilization of the treatment models
being introduced across the system. Officials also noted that many positions have been left unfilled in recent years due to fiscal constraints. As a
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CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
result, staff who are available often rotate among cottages, or units where
youth reside, to fill temporary gaps. This rotation disrupts youth’s routines and compromises the staff’s ability to respond to youth’s complex
behavioral and service needs, form strong bonds or mentor youth, and
maintain a safe and secure environment.
The Task Force calls upon New York State to fund OCFS at a level that
ensures that all facilities—including both those in private and state-operated facilities—are adequately staffed. Recent assessments indicate that
staff-to-youth ratios of 1:4 or 1:5 and smaller cottages would enable staff
to serve youth more effectively, particularly youth with special needs and
disabilities.171
Ensure that OCFS’s Voluntary Agency
Services unit has adequate staff and resources to monitor
the needs of youth in private facilities.
STRATEGY 11-3:
Staff within OCFS’s Voluntary Agency Services (VAS) unit are responsible for monitoring the care of youth placed in private facilities.
According to conversations with OCFS officials, the VAS unit has been
very understaffed in recent years, and high caseloads are not uncommon.
As a result, workers rarely have time to provide careful case management
or conduct comprehensive discharge planning for youth leaving custody
(described in more detail in Chapter 4). The Task Force recommends that
additional resources be allocated to the VAS unit to increase the number
of staff serving youth placed in private facilities.
STRATEGY 11-4:
Recruit and retain a professional workforce.
Currently, OCFS does not require all job applicants to have a college
degree. For example, youth development aides—who supervise and guide
youth in facilities and provide assistance to the professional counseling
staff—are only required to have a high school graduation or equivalency
diploma, or one year of full-time program experience caring for youth or
residential clients in an institutional setting.172
The Task Force recommends that OCFS revise its job descriptions to
ensure that they are aligned with professional standards and attract highquality applicants who have the necessary skills and training, as well as
a sincere interest in working within a system premised on rehabilitation
and treatment. OCFS should work closely with the unions and private
agencies to develop these descriptions, and these standards should apply
to staff in all facilities. For guidance, OCFS should review the job descriptions of other state agencies with positions that serve similar populations.
For example, the Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives requires candidates applying for a probation officer position to have either
a graduate degree or a bachelor’s degree and two years of experience in
counseling or casework.173
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New York should also look at the work of Missouri’s Division of Youth
Services (DYS). DYS recruits extensively at college campuses statewide
and has established an intense interviewing process to identify applicants who are committed to helping youth succeed and have the necessary qualities (such as good listening skills and empathy) to excel at the
job. As a result, 84 percent of Missouri’s youth specialists (similar to New
York’s youth development aides) have either a bachelor’s degree or more
than 60 hours of college credit and two years of work experience at the
agency.174 To fill positions at girls’ facilities, OCFS should also focus on
recruiting more women.
Make salaries for hard-to-recruit positions
competitive with salaries for similar positions in other
agencies.
STRATEGY 11-5:
Under the New York State Civil Service Law, state agencies can either
offer increased salaries to prospective candidates applying for positions
that have demonstrated recruitment and retention problems or request
that the maximum salary be provided to candidates if the agency has
been unable to hire for a certain position.175 In conversations with the
Task Force, however, OCFS officials shared that this authority has rarely been used by the agency. Consequently, salaries for certain positions
are not always competitive with those of similar positions at other state
agencies. The state Office of Mental Health, for example, has negotiated
a special salary plan with the Division of the Budget that allows it to pay
entry-level psychiatrists and medical specialists more than what is specified in the salary schedule that is typically used by OCFS.176
Offering better pay is essential to recruiting and retaining staff who
can meet the needs of youth in custody—particularly those with severe
mental health needs—and operating safe and secure facilities. The Task
Force recommends that OCFS examine its approach to setting salaries for
hard-to-fill positions to ensure that they are more competitive with the
salary structures of other state and local agencies.
Offering better pay is essential to recruiting and retaining staff who
can meet the needs of youth in custody, particularly those with
severe mental health needs, and operating safe and
secure facilities.
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RECOMMENDATION
12. Provide localities with
equal reimbursements for youth who are
placed in OCFS custody, regardless of the
type of facility.
Throughout the course of the Task Force’s work, many stakeholders raised concerns regarding local payments for different institutional
placements. When a youth is placed in a state-operated facility, the cost
of the placement is shared equally by the state and the county in which
the youth lived prior to placement. When a youth is placed in a private
facility, the county’s share of this cost can vary. This variation occurs because localities can choose how to allocate funds from different block
grants provided by the state toward covering the cost of private placements. If the county’s block grant allocation is insufficient to cover the
full cost of all private placements (or is allocated for some other purpose),
then the county must use its own local funds to pay for these placements.
In localities with large numbers of youth admitted to private facilities,
such as New York City, the local government may be paying more for
private placements than for state-operated placements. The Task Force
urges New York State to examine the current payment and reimbursement structure and provide equal reimbursements for youth placed in
OCFS custody, regardless of the type of facility.
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4
Ensuring
Successful
Reentry
B E C AU S E A L L YO U N G PEOP LE who enter facilities will eventually return to their families and communities, the juvenile justice system must
plan for and responsibly manage the reentry process.
This transition is inherently challenging. Upon leaving facilities, young
people are likely to return to environments that are far less structured.177 Research shows that incarcerated youth disproportionately come from communities with high levels of poverty and live primarily in single-parent households with low levels of educational attainment.178 Although many have
strong bonds with peers and family members, some will return to negative
or even harmful relationships. In addition, returning youth frequently have
difficulty reenrolling in school, finding employment, or, for those who lack
an adult caregiver, locating a suitable home.179 Many also cope with substance
use or mental health issues without adequate services to address them.18o
Finally, reentering youth face the same challenges that confront all young
people as they move from adolescence into adulthood, including significant
psychological, emotional, and physical changes.181
Some programs in New York State are already working to provide young
people with the support they need during reentry. In some jurisdictions,
OCFS has established a continuum of evidence-based treatment services
and supervision as part of its aftercare program.182 This allows reentering youth to move between levels of support according to their risks and
needs. Similar local initiatives are under way in Seneca County, Monroe County, and New York City. For example, since launching a reentry
pilot project, Seneca County has decreased the length of stay for youth
in placement from 18 months to six months or less, and the number of
placed youth has decreased by 67 percent, from 33 to 11.183 (For more on
this and other programs, see the insert on Reentry Initiatives in New
York State.)
Notwithstanding such promising developments, juvenile reentry practices in New York State still have a long way to go. Task Force interviews
with facility directors revealed that the amount of reentry planning in
facilities varies widely across the state. Some state-operated facilities
conduct extensive reentry planning; others do virtually none. And while
some private agencies do provide aftercare services to young people released from their facilities, they are currently not contractually required
to do so.
Although it is one of the most important aspects of juvenile justice,
reentry is one of the least researched and developed issues in the field.
Still, the available literature does provide some important guidance. Specifically, reentry programming should
▪
prepare youth to reenter their community,
▪
make arrangements with service providers in the community
to address key needs, and
▪
provide community-based supervision to ensure that released
youth follow up on connections with services and supports.184
Where the literature is silent, the principles of what works generally in juvenile justice, as well as the successes that other localities have
achieved, provide additional guidance.
Recommendations 13 through 15 outline concrete steps that New York
State can take to build a robust, effective juvenile reentry network that
can serve as a model for the nation. As is the case throughout this report,
the recommendations in this chapter pertain to both state-operated and
private agencies. As such, OCFS will need to contractually mandate—and
oversee—that all private facilities provide reentry services in line with
these recommendations.
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Reentry Initiatives in New York State
Several jurisdictions, including Monroe County, New York City, and Seneca County, are piloting
innovative reentry initiatives to ensure that youth successfully transition back to their home
communities after placement. These initiatives are described in more detail below.
Monroe County
New York City
The Nazareth College graduate education programs provide
Under the Juvenile Justice Initiative’s Intensive Preventive
youth placed in the Industry Residential Center—a limited
Aftercare Services (IPAS) program, the Administration for
secure facility in the county—with one-on-one guidance to
Children’s Services is working with OCFS to reduce lengths
help them develop a personal transition plan. The plan
of stay for youth in private facilities and provide treatment
includes a list of people in the community with whom the
upon their return to their community. IPAS staff set a youth’s
resident can connect when returning, some of whom visit
release date for seven months from the day he or she
the resident in the facility to build trust. A local organization
entered the facility. Each youth is assigned to a treatment
called the Academy for Career Development is working
team, including an education liaison, who monitors the young
to provide all returning youth with AmeriCorps mentors to
person’s progress and identifies and addresses any potential
assist them in implementing their plans. Local aftercare
barriers to discharge on the scheduled release date. IPAS
staff are also collaborating with Monroe County officials and
contracts with a nonprofit, community-based service provider,
the Rochester City School District to ensure that youth have
Catholic Guardian Society and Home Bureau, to provide
complete and appropriate school placements and mental
youth with Functional Family Therapy and ongoing case
health services prior to their return to the community.
management. Currently, IPAS is working with youth in the
Bronx and Manhattan, and the program plans to expand to
the remaining boroughs in the near future.
Seneca County
In July 2006, officials launched a pilot project with OCFS and
Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP) to decrease youth’s
average length of stay in placement and provide services
in young people’s home communities. YAP staff members
work with youth and their families both during and after
confinement to identify appropriate reentry services in the
community. Since the initiative began, the average length of
stay for Seneca County youth has decreased from 18 months
to six months or less, and the number of youth placed with
OCFS has decreased from 33 youth to 11. From April 2006 to
May 2008, Seneca County and New York State shared a cost
savings of more than $1.6 million by using YAP services in lieu
of OCFS institutional placement.
SOURCE
YAP: Interviews with Charles Schillaci, commissioner of the Seneca County Division of Social Services, and Stephanie Hart, YAP president;
IPAS: Interview with Leslie Abbey, executive director of the Juvenile Justice Initiative; Monroe County: Interviews with OCFS officials
and Alvin Lollie, facility director of the Industry Residential Center.
S ECT ION TI TLE HERE
71
RECOMMENDATION
13. Limit the amount of time
youth spend in institutional facilities.
Under the New York State Family Court Act, the length of time a youth
can stay in OCFS custody varies according to the severity of the adjudicated offense. For felony findings, initial placement stays cannot exceed
18 months; initial placement for misdemeanor findings cannot exceed 12
months.185 Judges have the authority to order a minimum confinement
term of up to six months for felony cases, but no minimum can be ordered for misdemeanors.186 Also, a small number of JDs placed with OCFS
as restrictive placements based on the most serious felony offenses may
be placed for an initial period of three to five years, depending on the
level of their offense.187
In 2007, youth discharged from state-operated facilities spent a median of 10.5 months in residential custody.188 The median length of stay
in private facilities was 11.6 months.189 Staff at private facilities cited various reasons for their longer lengths of stay. These included a desire to
prolong access to treatment and a need to coordinate release dates with
youth’s home schools to ensure a smooth transition. Other stakeholders,
however, suggested that the state’s payment and reimbursement structure, which is tied to the number of days each young person spends in a
facility, provides private facilities with financial incentives to keep youth
for longer periods of time.
New York State should establish a uniform policy for determining
length of stay.
Research indicates that longer lengths of stay do not necessarily help.
Not only do they carry significant financial costs, but extended placements also have been found to increase the likelihood that youth will
adopt the negative behaviors of anti-social peers.190 In addition, extended
stays compromise young people’s links to positive activities and supports in the community, such as family connections, and prevent youth
from building the skills they need to deal with environmental and systemic challenges.191
New York State should establish a uniform policy for determining
length of stay, which would apply to both private and OCFS facilities.
Specifically, the Task Force recommends that the state establish a legislative presumption that juvenile delinquents in placement shall stay for
no longer than six months—the length of time shown to have the most
significant impact on placement gains.192 The Task Force does not recommend that the overall statutory framework for placement be altered;
there may be young people who need to be placed for longer periods
when public safety demands. Also, the six-month presumptive maximum
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CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
would not eliminate the discretionary role of judges in making placement
decisions, nor would it disturb the limits that are already imposed on that
discretion. It is up to New York State to determine the procedural contours of administering this presumptive maximum, but the Task Force
firmly believes that this presumption should be codified by law.
Realizing the benefits of a six month placement will, of course, require
each facility to actively engage youth and families in treatment and offer
an appropriate range of services, as discussed in recommendation 8. Facilities will also need to emphasize discharge planning to prepare youth
to return to their communities. Officials should review the promising
planning initiatives that are currently being used in different jurisdictions within the state and examine the work of Missouri, which has developed a series of step-down community-based programs to help youth
gradually transition from institutional care to their homes (see Missouri
insert on page 51).
RECOMMENDATION
14. Begin reentry planning
Early planning reminds young
people that they will face
responsibilities and challenges
upon leaving placement but
assures them that they will
be given the tools they need
to meet these responsibilities
and challenges successfully.
and preparation at the time of disposition, and
actively engage different stakeholders in this
process.
Planning for release should begin as soon as the court places a young
person in OCFS custody and should involve several different stakeholders, including the youth, his or her family, the family court judge, and
aftercare workers.193 This approach ensures that youth will reenter the
community in a family-based setting whenever possible and that services
will be available to mitigate the youth’s risk to public safety, as well as to
help him or her succeed inside and outside of the facility.194 Early planning also reminds young people that they will face responsibilities and
challenges upon leaving placement but assures them that they will be
given the tools they need to meet these responsibilities and challenges
successfully.
Currently, OCFS seeks to have most youth in state-operated facilities
connected to services in their home community 60 days prior to their release.195 The reentry planning process in these facilities has been restructured to begin earlier in the youth’s stay and to involve youth and their
families.196 Yet agency officials informed the Task Force that youth and
families are not always engaged in this process, and securing a familybased setting for youth upon release is not always considered a priority. The remote location of some state-operated facilities, as discussed in
Chapter 3, may be partially responsible.197 In a focus group conducted by
OCFS (independent of the Task Force), young people said that they did
not feel included in their reentry planning and found that their plans did
not focus on what they wanted. In conversations with some private fa-
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73
cilities, the Task Force found that youth’s families are involved in reentry
planning to varying degrees.
Community-based aftercare workers and treatment providers are also
variably involved in reentry planning. In upstate New York, case man-
Early Reentry Planning:
Aftercare for Indiana
through Mentoring (AIM)
Indiana’s Aftercare for Indiana through
Mentoring (AIM) is a program that helps
young people transition back to their
communities by facilitating positive
mentoring relationships and connecting
them with community-based services.
agers regularly visit facilities and participate in planning meetings. In
the New York City metropolitan area, high caseloads and significant distances between local offices and many facilities make visiting facilities
difficult. As described in strategy 11-3, monitoring young people in private facilities is especially challenging for downstate caseworkers, particularly since OCFS’s VAS unit is understaffed. OCFS officials noted in
interviews that these caseworkers rarely have time to provide intensive
case management to young people in private facilities. Instead, cases are
prioritized based on whether there are emergencies that require immediate attention. As noted earlier in this report, OCFS does not contractually
require that private agencies provide reentry services to youth.
The Task Force recommends that OCFS review release-planning prac-
Created in 1995 by Roger Jarjoura at
tices at all facilities—both state-operated and private—to ensure that
Indiana University, AIM matches reentering
youth, families, and other key stakeholders are involved in this process as
youth statewide with adult volunteers in
soon as a youth enters a facility. In addition, OCFS should contractually
their communities who act as role models
require that all private agencies provide aftercare services for youth leav-
and help them navigate the pressures and
ing placement. Finally, New York State should provide adequate funding
challenges they face after coming home.
Mentors are assigned to youth as early as
possible—preferably while youth are still in
the facility—and help them develop reentry
and resources to support caseworkers responsible for overseeing placed
youth as they progress through their stay and transition home. In conjunction with recommendation 13, any savings generated from reduced
lengths of stay in facilities should be redirected to fund aftercare services.
plans that outline how young people will
achieve their goals. AIM also assesses the
15. Ensure that reentry plans
needs of juvenile offenders just prior to
RECOMMENDATION
release and links them with community
are individualized and provide for seamless,
agencies that can effectively meet these
needs. Many of the mentoring relationships
continue on an informal basis after the
young person has officially completed the
well-supported transitions from facilities back
to the community.
program. AIM’s success has led to similar
mentoring reentry initiatives in Arkansas
and Alaska.
SOURCE
Adam Segal, The Aftercare for Indiana Through Mentoring
Program (The National Evaluation and Technical Assistance
Center for the Education of Children and Youth Who are
Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk), available online at http://
www.neglected-delinquent.org/nd/resources/spotlight/spotlight200609b.asp.
Provide a continuity of care that addresses
youth’s reentry experiences and their general needs.
STRATEGY 15-1:
Young people leaving institutional placement facilities should be discharged to a family setting whenever possible and connected to services
and supports that can help smooth their transition home.198 By providing
a continuity of care from facility to community, these services and supports can reduce the likelihood that a young person will re-offend after
being released.199 Establishing continuity of care requires the development of comprehensive reentry plans and an infrastructure of community-based services that can mitigate the challenges faced by reentering
youth.200 Based on its review of research and stakeholder interviews, the
Task Force recommends that New York State ensure that reentry planning addresses the following issues:
▪
Securing employment: Learning to become economically selfsufficient is a critical part of adolescence.201 Unfortunately,
many young people returning to their communities receive little
support in achieving this goal, leaving them disconnected from
the job market and at higher risk for engaging in crime.202 Access to training during placement and employment opportunities upon return can enhance these youth’s chances of success.
▪
Accessing treatment services: Many young people in placement facilities have mental health and substance abuse needs.
These youth may find it especially difficult to transition back
to the community without the help of professional support.203
Reentry plans for youth with treatment needs must ensure
that they have access to an adequate level of support when
they are back in the community.
▪
Reenrolling in school: Educational attainment is strongly correlated with successful reentry and reduced recidivism.204 Yet
reconnecting young people to educational programs can be
difficult due to a lack of communication and coordination between placement facilities and schools. Caseworkers and treatment providers should emphasize the importance of pursuing
an education after release and begin the process of reenrolling
young people in the appropriate educational setting as early as
possible (see strategy 15-3 for more information on this issue).
▪
Lack of family support: For a variety of reasons, some youth
leaving OCFS custody do not have a parent or guardian to whom
they can return. These young people sometimes become homeless, turning to shelters for assistance, or are moved to a foster
care group home, often until they age out of care when they
reach 18 or 21. The Task Force recommends that OCFS work
with local child welfare agencies to improve the coordination of
services for reentering youth without a familial resource, as well
as for youth whose families need services in order to become a
permanent resource for their child. Additionally, the Task Force
recommends providing short-term respite care for youth who
are at risk of revocation (being returned to a placement facility)
due to a lack of family support. Similarly, it recommends creating independent living programs for older youth.
▪
Navigating systems: Accessing the services and supports outlined above often requires navigating a potentially daunting
array of systems. Many young people and their families may
not know how to obtain critical identification documents, such
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75
as social security cards and state ID cards, or know where to
sign up for benefits. New York State should provide this information to youth during the reentry planning process and offer
guidance to families on how to handle the transition.
Developing a seamless network of services that youth and their families can access will require significant resources and coordination between facilities, aftercare staff, and community providers. The Task Force
calls upon New York State to provide adequate funding for these services,
with a special focus on jurisdictions with high numbers of placed youth
who exhibit the most critical service needs. These services should incorporate the same principles of best practice described for alternative-toplacement programs in Chapter 2. New York State should also ensure that
planning teams at both state-operated and private facilities are familiar
with the resources available in communities so they can develop comprehensive plans that are genuinely helpful to youth and their families. Finally, OCFS and individual facilities must build strong relationships with
community-based service providers who have the skills and experience
needed to address the issues faced by recently released youth.
Ensure that OCFS partners and coordinates
with relevant state and local agencies and community
groups to provide transitioning youth access to a full range
of services and interventions.
STRATEGY 15-2:
As noted in strategy 15-1, linking placed youth to a full range of community-based supports requires strong partnerships among OCFS, other
state and local agencies, and community groups. The Task Force recommends that OCFS work closely with these entities to ensure that the
appropriate programming is in place. Specifically, the agency may want
to draft memoranda of understanding to outline specific responsibilities
for its partners in the reentry process or consider funding cross-agency
pilot programs that could facilitate youth’s transition out of the juvenile
justice system. Finally, OCFS should ensure that local social service agencies provide access to foster care for reentering youth who do not have
viable, stable, and long-term options for housing when they return to
their communities.
Linking placed youth to a full range of community-based supports
requires strong partnerships among OCFS, other state and local
agencies, and community groups.
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CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
Foster collaborations between OCFS, the
New York State Education Department, and local school
districts to facilitate a successful return to an educational
or vocational setting for all reentering youth.
STRATEGY 15-3:
Research shows that linking youth coming out of placement facilities
to schools can be critical to ensuring their success in the community.205
Yet Task Force interviews with OCFS and facility directors revealed that
the reenrollment process varies significantly across the state and is largely dependent on the dedication and capabilities of local aftercare workers. Although some case managers in New York City, for example, know
the school system well and are deeply involved in the reenrollment process, others have difficulty navigating the system, leading to significant
disruptions in a young person’s education. By contrast, case managers
in counties with relatively few returning youth are able to place young
people in their home school districts before they are even released.
Even though some youth have been able to reenroll more quickly, interviewed OCFS officials said two issues continue to hinder this process:
(1) a home district’s inability or reluctance to identify a suitable placement for a special needs youth and (2) a home district’s refusal to reenroll returning youth due to his or her prior offense and/or behavior history.206 Even when a youth is reenrolled in school relatively quickly, many
schools often refuse to award credit for schoolwork completed during a
stay in placement (see strategy 10-5).
Between February 2008 and January 2009, 66 percent of youth released
from OCFS facilities were reenrolled in school within five days, and 89
percent were reenrolled within 10 days.207 OCFS did not have similar aggregate data on youth from private facilities, nor does it track whether a
youth’s ultimate home school placement was appropriate.
The Task Force recommends that OCFS require that each young person have an individualized education plan to outline his or her goals and
objectives. Staff within facilities should work closely with local aftercare
workers to ensure that any necessary actions required to facilitate reenrollment occur prior to a youth’s release. OCFS should also work closely
with the New York State Education Department and local school districts
while young people are still in facilities to identify appropriate school and
vocational placements and establish a system to gather and track data
regarding the transfer of credits from OCFS to a young person’s home
school (see strategy 10-5). New York State should enforce private agencies’ equal obligation to facilitate reenrollment and require them to gather
and report school reentry data on youth who are leaving these facilities.
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77
5
Creating System
Accountability
and Transparency
D U R IN G TH E C O U R S E OF IT S R EVIE W , the Task Force found that much
of the information needed to understand how well New York State’s juvenile justice system is functioning is either not collected or not reported on
a regular basis. As noted earlier, for example, there is limited aggregate data
available on the state’s private facilities, and the most recent recidivism data
is nearly a decade old. Neither is there any independent oversight to ensure
that facilities comply with requirements to keep young people safe. These
weaknesses in data collection and oversight make it difficult to improve the
system or hold it accountable for achieving results.
All public institutions must have effective systems of internal and external accountability. Internal accountability requires agencies to collect and
analyze data to manage their own performance. This data can be shared
with the public and used to hold staff responsible for following standards
and protocols. External accountability refers to observations and inspections conducted by independent bodies in an effort to uncover problems
that may have been overlooked by an internal process.208
Nowhere are these two functions more critical than in the juvenile justice
system. Each year, hundreds of young people in New York State—some as
young as 10 years old—are deprived of their liberty and placed in facilities that have extraordinary control over their lives. Although bound by
law, and expected by the public, to protect the safety and rights of youth
in custody, these institutions are essentially closed off from public scru-
Although bound by law, and
tiny. Even the state legislature, which has the authority to call public hear-
expected by the public, to
once in the past decade.209 The U.S. Department of Justice investigation
ings to monitor state agency operations and programs, has only done so
cited earlier in this document, which offered a much-needed look inside
protect the safety and rights
four state-operated facilities, revealed the horrific consequences that can
of youth in custody, these
these institutions.
institutions are essentially
ter monitor its juvenile placement system using internal mechanisms,
closed off from public scrutiny.
they can also help to ensure that taxpayer resources are directed to in-
result from chronically insufficient internal and external oversight of
Recommendations 16 through 20 discuss how New York State can betsuch as improved data collection, and external oversight. In the process,
stitutions and programs that best serve and protect New York’s systeminvolved youth and promote public safety.
RECOMMENDATION
16. Improve and expand
the use of data and other performance
measures to guide decision making, enhance
accountability, and drive system improvement.
Collect and report data for a
comprehensive view of the juvenile placement system.
STRATEGY 16-1:
Most of OCFS’s current data collection and reporting practices were
implemented to help manage individual cases on a daily basis, monitor
youth’s movements through the placement system, and provide general
information about the system, such as the number of youth in residential custody on a given day. While useful in many ways, these practices
are not sufficient for an effective oversight and reform regimen. As OCFS
invests in operational reform, it should overcome this deficit by enhancing its data collection and research capacities to facilitate meaningful system oversight and reform.210 The Task Force applauds the steps that OCFS
has already taken to measure the changes resulting from implementing
certain reforms, such as efforts to evaluate the Sanctuary Model. In the
future, the state should further track, monitor, and evaluate practices and
aggregate outcomes within placement facilities and alternative programs.
This information should include, but not be limited to, the following:
▪
Recidivism: The rate at which youth become involved in criminal activity after their release is an important measure of the
80
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
system’s success. As noted earlier in this report, the most recent
comprehensive recidivism numbers reported by OCFS (covering re-arrest, re-conviction, and re-commitment in both the juvenile and adult systems) are significantly outdated, reflecting
the experience of youth released from facilities between 1991
and 1995.211 While OCFS is currently working to collect and report more current statistics, these efforts have been seriously
delayed because of problems in collecting data across the state’s
juvenile and criminal justice agencies, specifically when it comes
to juvenile arrests. Best practices from other states indicate that
the most valuable recidivism analyses are those that report—on
a regular basis—youth re-involvement at various system points
over multiple time frames.212 New York State should support the
inter-agency collaboration necessary for such an analysis.
▪
Criminal history: OCFS’s regular reporting does not currently include information about the criminal histories of placed youth.
Prior offense history is sometimes recorded in administrative
data, but this is not done uniformly. Consequently, while case
management staff may know the information, it is not collected
in a way that can provide a comprehensive understanding of all
youth in the system. As mentioned previously, the large number of youth placed on misdemeanor offenses raises questions
about whether these young people pose a significant enough risk
to public safety to be deprived of their liberty. Criminal history
data as well as other case factors would help more accurately assess the risk these young people pose to public safety. To gather
such information, OCFS will need the support and collaboration
of other state agencies, such as the Office of Court Administration and the Division of Criminal Justice Services.
▪
Youth experience: The Task Force recommends that OCFS administer an exit survey to all youth who are leaving an institutional facility in an effort to disclose aspects of system functioning that are not recorded in administrative data. For a model,
OCFS should consult a survey that was recently developed by
the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators.213 The survey asks young people, upon discharge from a facility, to reflect
on their experiences, comment on which programs they found
helpful or would like to change, assess to what extent their families and community supports were included in case planning
and treatment, and share how the facility staff have or have not
adequately prepared them for reentry into the community.
▪
Restraints: As stated in Chapter 3, in 2008, OCFS developed a
standardized, electronic system for collecting data on physical
restraints in facilities. However, private facilities are not currently required to collect or report data to this system, making
CH APTER 5 | C REAT ING S YS TEM AC COU N TA BIL ITY AND TRA NSPARENCY
81
it difficult to have an accurate picture of restraint usage systemwide. The Task Force recommends that OCFS require all
facilities to collect and report data on restraints.
Review, analyze, and report data on youth
placed in the custody of local social service agencies.
STRATEGY 16-2:
When a judge determines that a young person should be removed
from his or her home, the youth can either be placed in the custody of
the local department of social services (DSS) or OCFS. However, as noted
earlier in this report, the state does not have reliable, aggregate data on
the total number of youth placed in local DSS custody. In the absence of
this data, New York State has little way of knowing whether the reforms
being implemented to reduce OCFS placements are being counteracted
by increases in placements at the local level.
Although the Task Force’s mission focused on youth in OCFS custody, members felt that it was critical to call attention to this significant
data gap. Going forward, the Task Force recommends that OCFS regularly track, analyze, and report county-level data on the number of youth
placed in local DSS custody to ensure that New York has a comprehensive picture of all youth within its placement system.
New York State has little way of knowing whether the reforms being
implemented to reduce OCFS placements are being counteracted
by increases in placements at the local level.
Establish and track standardized
performance measures for each placement facility and
alternative-to-placement program.
STRATEGY 16-3:
During the course of its work, the Task Force requested data from
OCFS to better understand how the performance of private facilities
compares to that of state-operated facilities. Unfortunately, much of this
information was unavailable because OCFS does not regularly analyze
aggregate data on private facility programs that serve delinquent youth.
According to OCFS officials, the state’s contracts with private agencies do
not require these agencies to track data on their program operations or
report on performance measures, making it difficult to develop a comprehensive picture of the system.
As the state improves its data collection practices, the Task Force recommends that OCFS establish clear and comprehensive performance
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CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
measures for all placement facilities as well as for alternative-to-placement programs. Specifically, OCFS should revise its contracts with private agencies to stipulate that specific performance standards and reporting requirements must be met to achieve the goal of a cohesive, unified
system. New York State should then collect baseline data for those measurements. Once a baseline is established, it will be possible to establish
trends and examine changes in performance over time. This data should
be regularly reported to relevant stakeholders, including judges and probation staff, to monitor how well programs are working. The Task Force
applauds the agency for beginning to establish and collect such measures
by piloting Performance-based Standards (PbS), a management tool developed by the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, in eight
of its facilities (see sidebar on Using Data to Improve Conditions of Confinement).214 The state should implement PbS in each state-operated and
private facility.
Using Data to
Improve Conditions
of Confinement:
Performance-based
Standards
At least 204 facilities in 27 states are
implementing a management tool called
Performance-based Standards (PbS). PbS
was developed by the Council of Juvenile
Fund research and development efforts to
evaluate reforms and promote innovation.
STRATEGY 16-4:
As discussed in chapter 2, OCFS should expand the use of evidencebased programming options throughout the state. When considering
new programs, officials should include those that have been shown to be
effective in helping young people succeed in other jurisdictions. It should
not, however, limit investments only to such evidence-based practices.
New York should also be willing to spearhead innovations of its own.
When new programs are implemented, funding for research should be
included in the budget, and program quality assurance and evaluations
should be mandatory.
Correctional Administrators to give youth
corrections administrators frequent feedback
on key aspects of how their facilities are
operating. Unlike previous monitoring
practices, PbS measures events—what
is happening in facilities—rather than
adherence to written policies or procedures.
By tracking key indicators, such as the use
of restraints and isolation or the percent of
youth who show an improvement in physical
fitness, PbS provides a clear representation
of what is really happening to youth and
staff and gives facility administrators tools
Disseminate research and information
to educate staff, stakeholders, and the public and to
encourage system transparency.
STRATEGY 16-5:
As data collection and research expand, dissemination of findings and
and encouragement to improve conditions
and programming. In 2004, PbS won an
Innovations in American Government Award
from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of
Government.
information should expand as well. State officials should provide system
stakeholders—including social service personnel, facility staff, judges,
attorneys, and community-based organizations—with comprehensive
descriptions of the programs and services available at each alternativeto-placement program, private facility, and state-operated facility. An annual report card for each facility, for example, could include summaries
SOURCE
Douglas Nelson, A Roadmap for Juvenile Justice Reform,
(Baltimore, MD: Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2008) 25; and
Performance-based Standards: Safety and Accountability
for Juvenile Corrections and Detention Facilities (Council of
Juvenile Correctional Administrators, 2008), available online
at http://pbstandards.org/DocLib/PbS_InfoPacket.pdf.
of operations and outcomes. Research findings and reports should be
distributed to the widest possible public audience. In addition, the state
should ensure that all stakeholders, including judges and facility staff, are
trained on both national best practice research and reform developments
particular to New York.
S ECT ION TI TLE HERE
83
RECOMMENDATION
17. Track and report
disproportionate representation of youth of
color at every system point.
As noted in Chapter 1, the Task Force is deeply troubled by the disproportionate representation of youth of color in New York State’s juvenile
justice system. Although this report is focused on institutional placement, a
full examination of disproportionate representation requires data from every point within the system, from the point of arrest to disposition. Understanding the causes and consequences of this racial imbalance, including
where disparities are introduced and how they change throughout the system, is a first step toward developing appropriate
Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting
Race and Ethnicity
responses. The state should require all agencies
that play a part in the juvenile justice system—including, but not limited to, the police, probation,
prosecution, family court, detention administrators, and OCFS—to publicly report demographic
The National Center for Juvenile Justice and the Center for Children’s Law
data on youth at every major decision point. In
and Policy, with support from the MacArthur Foundation, offer guidelines
addition, the state should ensure that data col-
for reporting race and ethnicity in juvenile justice systems consistent with
lection and reporting practices regarding youth’s
federal policy. Their recommendations are intended to standardize race and
race and ethnicity are aligned at all system points
ethnicity categories and the way information related to these categories is
according to national best practice standards (see
gathered. The recommendations involve the following three-step process
sidebar on Guidelines for Collecting and Report-
(with information provided by youth themselves whenever possible):
ing Race and Ethnicity).
1) Identify a youth’s Hispanic/Latino ethnicity (yes/no).
2) Establish race according to federal guidelines.*
3) Record open-ended responses regarding national origin, ancestry,
or tribal affiliation.
Results should be compiled in a publicly shared, systemwide relative rate
RECOMMENDATION
18. Ensure
that allegations of abuse and
index, which would allow for a comparative understanding of the rates
staff misconduct in facilities
of system contact for different groups of youth at every system stage.**
Where disparity exists, agencies must investigate why and carefully track
are thoroughly investigated
changes over time.
and handled appropriately.
NOTES
The Office of Management and Budget set five minimum race categories: American Indian or Alas
ka Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White.
*
The relative rate index is a method of comparing the relative volume (rate) of activity for each
major stage of the juvenile justice system for youth of color with the volume of that activity for white
youth. The comparison yields an index number indicating the extent to which the volume of that
form of contact or activity differs for youth of color and white youth.
**
A healthy public agency uses strong internal
oversight to proactively monitor its operations
and take appropriate actions when problems
arise. The U.S. Department of Justice report
highlights several examples of how excessive
SOURCES
Patricia Torbet, H. Hurst Jr., and M. Soler, Guidelines for Collecting and Recording Race and Ethnicity
of Juveniles in Conjunction with Juvenile Delinquency Disposition Reporting, Prepared for the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court’s Judges’ Commission, (National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges,
2007); and What is an RRI? (National Center on Juvenile Justice) available online at http://ojjdp.
ncjrs.org/ojstatbb/dmcdb/asp/whatis.asp.
force inflicted on youth in OCFS custody resulted in severe injuries.215 The report also notes
that internal investigations into why these incidents occurred were often superficial, if they
occurred at all, and failed to document relevant
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CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
evidence.216 In some instances, the same staff member who was involved
in the episode signed off on the review; in other cases, staff faced no
punishment for serious violations of policy.217
Other examples of inadequate investigations into staff behavior from
the DOJ report are highlighted below:
▪
A direct care staff member restrained a youth who had medical restrictions following a call to all staff to respond to a dorm
where three youth were screaming. The youth with special medical needs was placed in a sitting restraint and handcuffed and
sustained bruising and swelling to her cheek, arm, and shoulder
before staff realized her condition. Although the incident was
later reviewed, no inquiry was ever made into whether force
was necessary, and no follow-up was recommended.218
▪
An investigation into a full take-down restraint that resulted in
a young person suffering a spiral arm fracture was never reviewed. The investigation was later signed off on by the same
person who conducted the restraint.219
▪
Another investigation found that a staff member inappropriately
entered a youth’s room and used unnecessary force that injured
the youth’s wrist and jaw. Even though the staff member had previously abused other youth at the facility, the individual remained
employed at the facility six months after this incident occurred.220
These incidents underscore the need for a more thorough and impartial investigation process, as well as strong corrective measures in
response to staff misconduct. Without them, facilities send the message
that force is an acceptable means of addressing problems, and offenders
will face no consequences for wrongdoing.221
The Task Force recommends that serious incidents, allegations of
abuse, and allegations of staff misconduct be rigorously investigated in
a timely manner. Individuals conducting and reviewing investigations
should have no personal stake in the outcome. Personnel who are the
subject of such an investigation should be removed from direct youth
supervision until a report is completed and a finding issued.
RECOMMENDATION
19. Establish and fund an
independent, external oversight body to
monitor and report on OCFS’s juvenile justice
policies and practices.
Like better data, strong external oversight is necessary to identify and
CH APTER 5 | C REAT ING S YS TEM AC COU N TA BIL ITY AND TRA NSPARENCY
85
correct safety problems and increase public confidence that New York State
is committed to improving the conditions inside its institutional placement
facilities. Currently, no independent oversight body exists outside of OCFS
to ensure that all youth placed in juvenile institutional facilities under the
care and custody of the state are treated fairly and
Essential Elements for Effective
Independent Oversight Bodies
In August 2008, the American Bar Association (ABA) issued a
report to its house of delegates urging federal, state, local, and
territorial governments to establish independent entities to monitor
and report publicly on conditions of confinement in all juvenile
and adult correctional facilities. The ABA outlined 20 requirements
that must be met to ensure the effectiveness of oversight bodies.*
Some examples of those requirements are listed below:
!"
The monitoring entity is independent of the agency
operating or utilizing the correctional or detention facility.
!"
The monitoring entity has the duty to conduct regular
inspections of the facility, as well as the authority to
examine and issue reports on a particular problem at one
or more facilities.
!"
!"
!"
The monitoring entity is authorized to inspect or examine all
aspects of a facility’s operations and conditions including,
but not limited to, use of force; conditions of confinement;
disciplinary and grievance processes; substance abuse and
mental health treatment; educational, vocational, and other
programming; and reentry planning.
Subject to reasonable privacy and security requirements
as determined by the monitoring entity, reports are public,
accessible through the Internet, and distributed to the media,
the jurisdiction’s legislative body, and its top elected official.
Facility administrators are required to respond publicly
to monitoring reports; to develop and implement in a
timely fashion action plans to rectify problems identified
in those reports; and to inform the public semi-annually
of their progress in implementing these action plans. The
jurisdiction vests an administrative entity with the authority
to redress noncompliance with these requirements.
*For a full list of requirements, see the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section,
Report to the House of Delegates (August 2008), available online at http://www.abanet.org/
crimjust/policy/am08104b.pdf. See also Testimony of Michele Deitch, “Prison Oversight
and Systems of Accountability,” Prepared for the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission Hearing, New Orleans, LA, December 6, 2007.
humanely. Without this kind of oversight, the culture
inside facilities can become rife with violence and
abuse, as illustrated by the DOJ report.
The New York State Commission of Correction
(SCOC) monitors OCFS policies and practices in secure placement facilities, but it does not have similar, broad jurisdiction over the state’s limited secure,
non-secure, and private facilities, where 88 percent
of delinquency cases are placed.222 Furthermore, the
SCOC’s main focus is on monitoring adult correctional facilities; the agency does not have the same
historical expertise in addressing the distinct challenges and needs of youth in institutional settings. In
2007, the New York State Office of the Ombudsman
(OOTO) was statutorily established to protect the legal rights of youth in placement facilities.223 However, during interviews with the Task Force, OOTO officials reported that budget and staffing constraints
have limited their ability to conduct regular facility
visits and that their statutory mandate only pertains
to state-operated facilities. The OOTO is also not an
independent body; however, it does rely on the Independent Review Board, an external advisory body
created by regulatory authority, to monitor its activities. Nonetheless, the OOTO operates under the direct purview of the OCFS commissioner.224
The Task Force recommends that the state establish—and adequately fund—a separate entity that
has unrestricted access to oversee all juvenile placement facilities, including both state-operated and
private facilities. This entity should provide regular
reports to the governor, the legislature, and the general public on OCFS’s juvenile justice practices and
policies to ensure that they comply with the law and
reflect best practices in the field. This entity should
also carefully review the grievance process used
within facilities to ensure that youth have meaningful opportunities to report unsafe conditions and
abuse.
Defining the precise form that New York State’s
external oversight body should take is beyond the
scope of the Task Force’s work and will require further research by the state. The Task Force encourages
86
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
the state to consult best practice literature to determine where this body will
be housed, how its representatives will be appointed, and how and when it
produces reports. The American Bar Association and various experts in both
juvenile and criminal justice have developed a number of key requirements
for designing and launching such oversight bodies (see sidebar on Essential
Elements for Effective Independent Oversight Bodies) and should also be
consulted. New York State should also look at Ohio and California, which
have each established different models of independent oversight to monitor
juvenile facilities.225
While OCFS has primary responsibility for the bulk of these
recommendations, the Task Force recognizes that many other
agencies and entities across the state will also play a critical role
in reforming the system.
RECOMMENDATION
20. Provide regular progress
reports on the status of implementing the
Task Force’s recommendations.
As OCFS begins to implement the recommendations outlined in
this report, the state should designate an entity to monitor the progress
of these efforts. The Task Force recommends that the New York State
Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG), which is responsible for supervising the preparation and administration of the state’s juvenile justice
plan under the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act
(JJDPA), serve in this capacity.226 The Task Force believes that the JJAG is
well suited for this role, as it is authorized to “carry out . . . responsibilities
as required or permitted by the [JJDPA],” and must “report to the Governor and the State Legislature on an annual basis with respect to matters
related to its function.”227
While OCFS has primary responsibility for the bulk of these recommendations, the Task Force recognizes that many other agencies and entities across the state will also play a critical role in reforming the system.
Appendix C includes a table listing entities that could and should play lead
roles in implementing and enforcing the Task Force’s recommendations.
The JJAG should work closely with the Governor’s Office and the different lead agencies to set benchmarks and timelines for implementing
the recommendations and should require that these agencies submit regular reports documenting their progress. These reports should also be
posted online and shared with both the Governor’s Office and the state
legislature on an annual basis. Such efforts will ensure that the state
keeps the public apprised of its work.
CH APTER 5 | C REAT ING S YS TEM AC COU N TA BIL ITY AND TRA NSPARENCY
87
Conclusion
N
88
EW YORK STATE’S current ap-
quire new investment. In both cases, a strength-
proach to juvenile corrections fails
ened focus on accountability is critical to ensure
the young people who are drawn
that these investments improve outcomes for
into the system, the public whose
youth in state custody. Systemic change will
safety it is intended to protect, and the principles
also need champions who are deeply committed
of good governance that demand effective use of
to the goal of helping the state’s most vulnerable
scarce public resources. For young people who
young people succeed.
pose little or no risk to public safety and who
To their credit, leaders at the Office of Chil-
would be better served by community-based al-
dren and Family Services and several counties
ternatives, institutional placement reduces the
have already begun the process of reforming the
chance of success later in life and wastes tax-
state’s juvenile justice system. The work of the
payer dollars. Physical conditions within some
Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice is a
of these facilities are poor, abuse and neglect are
significant additional step toward creating a sys-
not uncommon, and support and training to help
tem that is treatment-focused, community-based,
young people become productive citizens upon
and cost-effective. It is, however, only a step.
release is sorely lacking. Unsurprisingly, many
It is important to recognize that the Task Force
youth who reenter their communities are ill-pre-
focused on just one part of a much larger system.
pared for the challenges they face at home and
Similar efforts—including conscientious atten-
end up back in the system within a few years.
tion to the disproportionate representation of
Given what practitioners and researchers alike
youth of color across the system—must be initi-
have learned in recent decades about how best to
ated in allied areas, such as policing and pre-trial
rehabilitate young offenders, the high financial
detention. Although lasting system change takes
costs and poor outcomes associated with the cur-
time, the Task Force strongly believes that these
rent approach can no longer be justified.
recommendations will help lead the state in the
However compelling the case for reform may
right direction. New York State has a moral ob-
be, though, implementing the changes outlined
ligation to fix a system that is greatly in need of
in this report will be impossible without both
repair and reform. The Task Force expects that
strong political leadership and funding. Some of
OCFS and other system stakeholders—including
the recommendations here call for a redeploy-
the legislature, the governor’s office, and the ju-
ment of resources toward more cost-effective
diciary—will work collaboratively to implement
strategies that produce better results; others re-
these recommendations successfully.
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
New York State has a
moral obligation to fix
a system that is greatly
in need of repair and
reform.
S ECT ION TI TLE HERE
89
Appendix A
Cost-benefit Analysis of Programs for Court-involved
Youth in New York State
Researchers at the Vera Institute of Justice conducted a preliminary cost-benefit analysis of a broad range
of programs for court-involved youth in New York State.228 The findings of this analysis show that some
community-based programs can significantly reduce crime rates, improve outcomes for youth, and also
save taxpayers and victims hundreds of thousands of dollars.
To conduct the analysis, Vera researchers employed a methodology developed by the Washington State
Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP). In 2005, Washington State’s prison population was on the rise, and
the need to build costly new prisons to accommodate the growing number of inmates became apparent.
This prompted the state’s legislature to commission WSIPP—a non-partisan research organization housed
within the legislature—to identify programs that would reduce crime and eliminate the need for additional
prison beds. WSIPP reviewed 571 rigorous program evaluations and conducted a cost-benefit analysis that
showed which programs would have the greatest impact on crime per dollar spent. As a result of WSIPP’s
analysis, in 2007 the state legislature allocated $48 million to expand prevention and treatment programs,
and the prison population forecast was subsequently adjusted downward.
Methodology
The WSIPP methodology used to conduct this analysis consists of three key steps:
1. What works and what does not to reduce crime? Researchers review program evaluations to estimate the average effect each program has on crime.
2. What are the costs and benefits of each option? Researchers then estimate the costs
and benefits of each program. Program costs refer to the costs of operating a program, while benefits
capture the savings that will accrue to taxpayers and victims as a result of a reduction in crime among
participants of a program.
3. Statewide, how would alternative “portfolios” affect crime and the costs of crime?
Using program costs and benefits, combined with information about the state’s offender population,
researchers project how implementing alternative sets of programs will affect the state’s crime rates
and criminal justice costs.
Vera researchers applied this methodology by collecting and using data on New York State’s juvenile and criminal justice systems.229
Findings
Table 1 displays the costs and benefits of seven programs included in Vera’s analysis. Programs are
ranked according to the total net benefits (benefits minus costs) that they are expected to generate.
90
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
Table 1: Costs and Benefits of Programs for Court-involved Youth
Vera Institute of Justice
Estimates as of July 2009
Effect on crime outcomes
(Number of studies in
parentheses)
Benefits and Costs
(Per participant, 2007 dollars)
Benefits to crime
victims*
Benefits to
taxpayer†
Program
costs‡
Net benefits
(Taxpayer only)±
Net benefits
(Total) ±
Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care
-17.9%
(3)
$72,572
$30,780
$7,180
$23,600
$96,173
Functional Family Therapy
-18.1%
(7)
$37,051
$19,483
$2,467
$17,016
$54,067
Adolescent Diversion Project
-17.6%
(6)
$35,848
$18,850
$2,048
$16,803
$52,651
Family Integrated Transitions
-10.2%
(1)
$41,420
$17,568
$10,335
$7,232
$48,653
Sex Offender Treatment for Juveniles
-9.7%
(5)
$51,576
$9,454
$35,081
-$25,627
$25,949
Aggression Replacement Training
-8.3%
(4)
$17,002
$8,940
$952
$7,988
$24,990
Multisystemic Therapy
-7.7%
(10)
$15,670
$8,240
$4,524
$3,715
$19,385
*Benefits to crime victims refer to the avoided crime victim costs that result from reduced crime rates.
† Benefits to taxpayers capture the reduced justice system expenditures that result from reduced crime rates.
‡ These are program costs in addition to the cost of the typical alternative, such as placement in a juvenile institution or probation.
± Numbers have been rounded.
As an illustration of the information provided in table 1, researchers analyzed the findings of three well-researched studies of Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) and found that, on average, this program can be expected to reduce recidivism—defined here as reconviction for a felony or misdemeanor
after a 13-year follow-up—by 17.9 percent. That is, without any treatment, 75 percent of youth placed in
juvenile institutions would likely face a reconviction, but with MTFC instead of placement, only 61.6 percent would.230 This reduction in recidivism can be expected to generate $72,572 in benefits to crime victims and $30,780 to taxpayers, measured in the costs avoided by reducing the long-term level of a
youth’s criminal involvement.231 These benefits come at a net additional program cost of $7,180 per participant on average, compared to placement. MTFC thus produces a net benefit to taxpayers of $23,600
per participant and a total net benefit for both crime victims and taxpayers of $96,173 per participant.
In addition to calculating the costs and benefits of individual programs for court-involved youth, Vera
researchers also projected the total economic impact of expanding several evidence-based programs that
are already operating in a limited capacity in New York State.232 Specifically, the analysis projects the costs
and benefits of expanding Multisystemic Therapy (MST), MTFC, and Functional Family Therapy (FFT) to accommodate 15 percent of the almost 1,700 youth placed in OCFS custody.233 In other words, this expansion would allow the state to send 240 youth to these evidence-based programs instead of institutional
placement facilities. As table 2 illustrates, the increase in capacity could generate over $3 million in net
benefits to taxpayers and over $11 million in net benefits to both taxpayers and victims.234
Table 2: Cost and Benefits of Expanding Evidence-based Programs in New York State
15% of placements
Annual cost
Net benefits
(Taxpayer only)
105
$475,020
$390,075
$2,035,425
Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care
45
$323,100
$1,062,000
$4,327,785
Functional Family Therapy
90
$222,030
$1,531,440
$4,866,030
240
$1,020,150
$2,983,515
$11,229,240
Name of program
Multisystemic Therapy
Total
Number of participants
Net benefits
(Taxpayer and victim)
A PPEND I X A
91
Appendix B
Figure 10: Sample Distance Map: Youth Admissions to Allen Residential Center, 2007*
This map shows the home zip codes of youth admitted to Allen Residential Center in 2007 in relation to the location of the facility.
Home Zip Code of Youth Entering Allen RC in 2007
Allen RC
DETAIL
NEW YORK CITY AREA
Miles Estimated from Allen RC
to Home Zip Code
Median
Minimum
47
Maximum
216
*Note: Distance estimates are approximate only.
Source: OCFS STATSPOP. Includes unique admissions for any length of time during calendar
year 2007. Distance estimates based on zip code centroid and are “as the crow flies.”
92
125
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
Appendix C
Proposed Lead Entities Responsible for Implementing
the Task Force’s Recommendations
The list below outlines the names of the entities that could and should play lead roles in implementing and
enforcing the Task Force recommendations. The Task Force offers these suggestions for consideration by
the governor but asks that the Governor’s Office ultimately determine—and assign—the appropriate implementation responsibility. It is important to note that by listing suggested lead entities here, in no way does
the Task Force imply that responsibility should solely reside in these bodies; on the contrary, successful
implementation and reform will only be possible when all relevant state- and county-level entities (including
social services, probation, law enforcement, judiciary, defense, and prosecution) work together to leverage
each of their respective roles in the system.
Since we ask that the Governor’s Office oversee and ensure that the full set of Task Force recommendations is implemented and funded as needed, we include that office in each recommendation.
The Task Force’s Recommendations on Transforming Juvenile Justice
Lead Government Entities Responsible for Implementation
1. Reduce the use of institutional placement, downsize or close underutilized facilities, and reinvest in communities.
• Governor • State legislature • Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) • State Office of Court Administration (OCA)
2. Reduce the disproportionate representation of youth of color in institutional placement.
• Governor • State legislature • OCFS • OCA • Local probation departments • Local law enforcement agencies
3. Ensure that New York State operates a unified and cohesive system of care that keeps all youth in its custody
safe, whether in private or state-operated facilities.
• Governor • State legislature • OCFS
4. Reserve institutional placement for youth who pose a significant risk to public safety, and ensure that no youth is
placed in a facility because of social service needs.
• Governor • State legislature • OCA • OCFS • Local probation and social services agencies
5. Develop and expand community-based alternatives to institutional placement.
• Governor • State legislature • OCFS • Local probation, social service, and mental health agencies
6. Redirect cost savings into neighborhoods that are home to the highest number of youth in the juvenile
justice system.
• Governor • State legislature • OCFS • Local social service agencies
7. Place youth close to home.
• Governor • OCFS • OCA
APPENDIX C
93
8. Develop a standard process to accurately assess a youth’s risks and needs
• Governor • State legislature • OCFS
9. Require all facilities’ culture and physical environments to be conducive to positive youth development and rehabilitation.
• Governor • OCFS
10. Fund and provide services and programs, including education and mental health treatment, which prepare youth for release.
• Governor • State legislature • OCFS • State Department of Mental Health • State Education Department
11. Support and invest in staff.
• Governor • OCFS
12. Provide localities with equal reimbursements for youth who are placed in OCFS custody, regardless of the type of facility.
• Governor • State legislature • OCFS
13. Limit the amount of time youth spend in institutional facilities.
• Governor • State legislature • OCFS • OCA
14. Begin reentry planning and preparation at the time of disposition and actively engage different stakeholders in this process.
• Governor • OCFS
15. Ensure that reentry plans are individualized and provide for seamless, well-supported transitions from facilities
back to the community.
• Governor • OCFS
16. Improve and expand the use of data and other performance measures to guide decision making, enhance accountability,
and drive system improvement.
• Governor • State legislature • OCFS • OCA • Local social service, probation, mental health, and law enforcement agencies
17. Track and report disproportionate representation of youth of color at every system point.
• Governor • State legislature • OCFS • OCA • State Division of Criminal Justice Services • Local probation, social services,
mental health, and law enforcement agencies
18. Ensure that allegations of abuse and staff misconduct in facilities are thoroughly investigated and handled appropriately.
• Governor • State legislature • OCFS
19. Establish and fund an independent, external oversight body to monitor and report on OCFS’s juvenile justice policies
and practices.
• Governor • State legislature
20. Provide regular progress reports on the status of implementing the Task Force’s recommendations.
• Governor • State legislature • OCFS • State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group
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CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
Endnotes
1 Loretta King, acting assistant attorney general, U.S. Department
of Justice, Civil Rights Division, to David Paterson, Governor of
New York, Re: Investigation of the Lansing Residential Center,
Louis Gossett, Jr. Residential Center, Tryon Residential Center,
and Tryon Girls Center, August 14, 2009, http://www.ocfs.state.
ny.us/main/2009-8-14%20NYJ%20findings%20letter.pdf.
2 Ibid., p. 9.
3 Ibid., p. 8 and 14.
4 Ibid., p. 2.
5 Ibid., p. 31.
6 Average annual institutional placement costs were calculated
based on cost data provided by the Office of Children and
Family Services Budget Division for different placement
settings in 2009. This figure only includes the costs associated
with placements at state-operated facilities. Cost data on
placements with private facilities varies widely because these
facilities operate many different programs for a variety of
youth, including juvenile delinquents and foster care youth.
7 Bruce Frederick, Factors Contributing To Recidivism Among
Youth Placed With The New York State Division For Youth
(Albany, NY: New York State Division of Criminal Justice
Services, 1999). This is the most recent and comprehensive
juvenile recidivism study available in New York State. It is the
only study reflecting re-involvement on both the adult and
juvenile sides of the system. Note that the study includes data
on persons in need of supervision (PINS).
8 OCFS conducted a follow-up on Frederick’s original cohort (see
above note), separating out only the JDs and following them
from age 16 through their 28th birthdays. Based on this analysis,
89 percent of boys and 81 percent of girls released from OCFS
custody between 1991and 1995 were re-arrested; 85 percent of
boys and 69 percent of girls were re-convicted; and 52 percent
of boys and 12 percent of girls were re-incarcerated in New
York State prison before their 28th birthday. OCFS is currently
working toward sharing more recent recidivism figures, but this
data has not yet been made publicly available.
9 Analysis of 2007 data in OCFS STATSPOP database, which is a
database used by OCFS to track youth in the state’s custody.
10 Solomon Moore, “Mentally Ill Offenders Strain Juvenile
System,” New York Times, August 9, 2009, http://www.nytimes.
com/2009/08/10/us/10juvenile.html. According to the article,
about two-thirds of the nation’s approximately 93,000 juvenile
inmates have at least one mental illness and are more in need
of therapy than punishment. See Thomas Grisso, “Adolescent
Offenders with Mental Disorders,” The Future of Children
18, no. 2 (2008): 146-147, 155-159; and also U.S. Government
Accountability Office, Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice:
Federal Agencies Could Play a Stronger Role in Helping
States Reduce the Number of Children Placed Solely to Obtain
Mental Health Services (Washington, DC: U.S. Government
Accountability Office, April 2003).
11 OCFS STATSPOP database. In 2007, 59.4 percent of youth
admitted to OCFS residential facilities were African American,
and 24.8 percent were Latino.
12 Mie Lewis, Custody and Control: Conditions of Confinement in
New York’s Juvenile Prisons for Girls (New York: Human Rights
Watch, September 24, 2006).
13 Cassi Feldman, “State Facilities’ Use of Force Is Scrutinized after
a Death,” New York Times, March 4, 2007.
14 U.S. Department of Justice, Re: Investigation of the Lansing
Residential Center, Louis Gossett, Jr. Residential Center, Tryon
Residential Center, and Tryon Girls’ Center, August 14, 2009.
15 Ibid., p.14.
16 Ibid., p.9.
17 Edward J. Latessa and Christopher Lowenkamp, “What Works in
Reducing Recidivism?,” University of St. Thomas Law Journal
3, no. 3 (2006): 522-523; and Douglas W. Nelson, 2008 KIDS
COUNT Essay and Data Brief: A Road Map for Juvenile Justice
Reform (Baltimore, MD: The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2008):
10-11.
18 Dick Mendel, The Missouri Method: How One State
Revolutionized the Art of Rehabilitating Youthful Offenders
and What Your State Can Do to Replicate its Success
(Baltimore, MD: Annie E. Casey Foundation, Release date
pending). According to this publication, 22.5 percent of youth
released from juvenile custody in 2005 were re-incarcerated in
juvenile or adult correctional facilities for rules violations or
new offenses in three years. Approximately 84 percent of youth
exiting DYS custody in 2007 were productively engaged in
school, college, and/or employment at the time of discharge.
19 State of New York, Executive Chamber, Governor Paterson
Announces Task Force On Transforming New York’s Juvenile
Justice System, September 10, 2008, http://ocfs.state.ny.us/
main/news/2008/2008_09_10_juvenileJusticetaskForce.html.
20 Office of Children and Family Services, Empty Beds Wasted
Dollars: Transforming Juvenile Justice, (New York: Office of
Children and Family Services, January 8, 2008), http://www.
ccf.state.ny.us/Initiatives/CJRelate/CJResources/Feb28Summit/
EmptyBeds.pdf.
21 Connecticut passed legislation to raise the age of criminal
responsibility. Effective January 1, 2010, adjudicated 16-year olds
will be tried in juvenile courts and sent to juvenile facilities, and
effective January 1, 2012, adjudicated 17-year olds will be tried in
juvenile courts and sent to juvenile facilities.
22 While initially processed in the criminal courts, juvenile
offenders are subject to removal to family court and can only
be detained or confined in OCFS facilities, rather than those
operated by the Department of Corrections.
23 Detention usage may include admissions of youth who have
runaway from private residential facilities, and youth from
other states being held pending transfer to their home state.
EN DNOT ES
95
24 B. Holman and J. Ziedenberg, The Dangers of Detention: The
Impact of Incarcerating Youth in Detention and Other Secure
Facilities (Washington, DC: Justice Policy Institute, 2006):
5. See also Jeffrey Lin, Exploring the Impact of Institutional
Placement on the Recidivism of Delinquent Youth (New York
University, Technical Report to the National Institute of Justice,
March 2007): 101-102. This finding says that, holding everything
else constant, youth who were detained prior to disposition
were about 12 times as likely to be recommended for placement
(not necessarily placed) by the probation officer.
25 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report: Youth
in Care, 2007, Table 1, http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/reports/
Youth%20In%20Care%20Report.pdf.
26 Effective January 1, 2009, the Brace and Auburn Residential
Centers were closed. Effective July 1, 2009, Adirondack,
Cattaraugus, and Great Valley Residential Centers were closed.
In addition, three evening reporting centers in Buffalo, the
Capital District, and Syracuse were closed, along with a group
home in Syracuse. Two facilities, Allen and Tryon, were
downsized.
27 Elizabeth S. Scott and Laurence Steinberg “Adolescent
Development and the Regulation of Youth Crime,” The Future
of Children: Juvenile Justice 18 no. 2, (Fall 2008): 19-24,
http://futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/
docs/18_02_02.pdf; and Brief of the American Medical
Association et al. as Amici Curiae in Support of Respondent,
Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005) (No. 03- 633), available at
www.abanet.org/crimjust/juvjus/simmons/ama.pdf.
28 Scott and Steinberg, 2008.
29 William H. Barton and Jeffrey A. Butts, “Intensive Supervision
Alternatives for Adjudicated Juveniles,” in Intensive
Interventions with High-Risk Youths: Promising Approaches
in Juvenile Probation and Parole, edited by Troy L. Armstrong
(Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press, 1991), 318; Steve Aos,
Marna Miller, and Elizabeth Drake, Evidence-Based Public
Policy Options to Reduce Future Prison Construction, Criminal
Justice Costs, and Crime Rates (Olympia, WA: Washington
State Institute for Public Policy, 2006); and Theresa A. Hughes,
“Juvenile Delinquent Rehabilitation: Placement of Juveniles
Beyond Their Communities as a Detriment to Inner City
Youths,” New England Law Review 36, no. 1 (2008): 162, quoting
Panel on Juvenile Crime: Prevention, Treatment, and Control,
Juvenile Crime Juvenile Justice, edited by Joan McCord et al.,
2001, 4.
30 Magellan Health Services Children’s Services Task Force,
Perspectives on Residential and Community-based Treatment
for Youth and Families (Magellan Health Services, Inc., 2008):
6-7.
31 Latessa and Lowenkamp, 2006, p. 522-523.
the parole board must be transferred to adult Department of
Correctional Services facilities at age 21. A transfer may also
occur earlier in two limited circumstances: In the first case,
the commissioner of OCFS can apply to the sentencing court
for permission to transfer a 16- or 17-year-old juvenile offender
upon showing that there is no substantial likelihood that the
youth will benefit from the programs offered by OCFS, and
the JO is entitled to a hearing before the sentencing court.
In the second case, the commissioner of OCFS can certify to
the commissioner of Correctional Services that an 18-, 19- or
20-year-old juvenile offender can no longer substantially benefit
from programs offered by OCFS after an evaluation and with
the recommendations of the deputy commissioner of the
Division of Juvenile Justice and Opportunities for Youth and the
deputy commissioner and general counsel. In such cases, the
JO is not entitled to a hearing. (See Executive Law, § 508 (4) and
(5).)
36 The chart is a highly abbreviated version of how delinquency
cases are processed and does not purport to capture all of the
system players and nuances.
37 See New York State Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile
Delinquency for more detail on system points and dispositional
options.
38 Annie Salsich, Paragini Amin, and Ben Estep, Widening the
Lens 2008: A Panoramic View of Juvenile Justice in New York
State (New York: Vera Institute of Justice, 2008): 4. In making
this decision, probation officers consider factors such as the
severity of the case and the youth’s prior legal history and
previous compliance with diversion services. The following
cases fall outside of probation’s discretion and go directly
to prosecution: designated felonies, which include the most
serious crimes; offense in which the victim or arresting precinct
demands court access; and crimes in which the offender has
previously received diversion services for a prior offense in the
same category.
39 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report: Youth
in Care, 2007, Table 1. Note: Total admissions to OCFS custody
include youth in aftercare and day placements.
40 See Family Court Act § 353.3 (3) and § 353.3 (4).
41 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report: Youth
in Care, 2007, Table 1.
42 Ibid., Table 1 and Table 2.
43 Ibid., Table 1. Note: Replacement cases refer to youth who were
placed by the court directly with a private facility.
44 Analysis of OCFS STATSPOP data.
45 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report: Youth
in Care, 2007, Table 7. The median refers to the midpoint
value in a series of numbers arranged by value and is used to
summarized distributions containing outliers, which is the case
for length of stay.
32 Positive youth development is an approach that emphasizes a
youth’s strengths rather than weaknesses. For more on positive
youth development, see sidebar on Positive Youth Development
in Chapter 2.
46 See Executive Law § 502-a.
33 Mark W. Lipsey, “The Primary Factors that Characterize
Effective Interventions with Juvenile Offenders: A MetaAnalytic Overview,” Victims and Offenders 4, no. 2 (2009): 138.
48 See Family Court Act § 353.3 (3) and Executive Law § 504 (4).
34 Ibid., 138; and Roxanne Lieb, Juvenile Offenders: What Works?
A Summary of Research Findings, (Olympia, WA: Washington
State Institute for Public Policy, 1994): 5.
35 See definition of juvenile offender under definitions of terms
of general use under New York State Penal Law, article 10,
subsection 18. Under Executive Law, Section 508, JOs who have
not completed their sentence or who have not been paroled by
96
47 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report: Youth
in Care, 2007, Table 1.
49 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report: Youth
in Care, 2007, Table 1.
50 Information provided by Office of Children and Family
Services.
51 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report: Youth
in Care, 2007, Table 7.
52 Analysis of OCFS STATSPOP database.
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
53 Ibid.
54 Designated felony acts include crimes such as murder,
kidnapping, arson, assault, manslaughter, rape, sodomy,
aggravated sexual abuse, burglary, or robbery. Youth who have
been adjudicated for any of the above crimes are known legally
as restricted JDs. These youth are placed by the family courts
and must start their custody in secure facilities, but they may be
moved after a certain period of time to less secure settings.
55 Analysis of OCFS STATSPOP database.
56 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report: Youth
in Care, 2007, Table 1; and OCFS STATSPOP database, 2007.
Currently, the Division of Criminal Justice Services does not
capture race information in its arrest data for individuals under
the age of 16.
57 Ibid., Table 11.
58 Analysis of data contained in Table 1 from OCFS’s Annual
Report: Youth in Care, 2007.
59 Ibid. According to an analysis of data from OCFS STATSPOP,
nearly half of the total admissions to voluntary facilities went
to only three agencies—Lincoln Hall (Lincolndale), Graham
Windham (Hastings-on-Hudson), and Children’s Village (Dobbs
Ferry). Meanwhile, 11 agencies had only one admission to
placement. Many private agencies also serve youth outside of
the juvenile justice system, specifically in the foster care system.
60 Ibid., Table 2.
61 The Office of Children and Family Services, through its Division
of Child Welfare and Community Services, licenses, supervises,
performs periodic agency assessments/reviews, and investigates
complaints and IAB reports at private agencies.
62 Social Services Law (SSL) sections 460-b through 460-d outline
the responsibilities of OCFS in regard to residential facilities
for dependent, abused, neglected, maltreated, abandoned, and
delinquent children operated by private agencies. SSL section
462 requires that OCFS promulgate regulations (New York
Compilation of Codes, Rules, and Regulations (NYCRR) 18
parts 441 through 443, 447, 448, and 451) governing standards
of care and treatment of children in such facilities, as well
as administrative, nutritional, and safety standards. Also,
see sections 462-a and 462-b of the SSL, which require OCFS
to inspect and supervise facilities operated by OCFS under
the Executive Law and provide that OCFS has appropriate
enforcement authority where such facilities fail to comply with
statutory and regulatory mandates. Section 504 of the Executive
Law provides for the operation of residential facilities by OCFS.
Also see 9 NYCRR subtitle E for regulations governing OCFSoperated facilities.
63 OCFS has individual case-level data on youth in private agencies
through the CONNECTIONS data system, which allows staff
to review and approve assessments and service plans. More
recently, OCFS has started to analyze this data on an aggregate
basis.
64 For additional detail on the assessment process, see
recommendation 8 in Chapter 3 of this report.
65 New York State Office of Children and Family Services,
Voluntary Agency Services Manual, September 2006: 10 and
17.
66 More detail on this issue is provided in strategy 16-3.
67 The state’s reimbursement to local counties varies due to
limitations by the Foster Care Block Grant. For additional detail
on the different reimbursement structures for private and stateoperated placements, see recommendation 12 in Chapter 3 of
this report.
68 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report: Youth
in Care, 2007, Table 7. The figures included here only refer to
youth who spent the entirety of their time in either a private or
state-operated facility.
69 See note 62.
70 Bruce Frederick, Factors Contributing To Recidivism Among
Youth Placed With The New York State Division For Youth
(Office of Justice Systems Analysis Research Report, New York
State Division of Criminal Justice Services, 1999). National
recidivism data shows that up to two-thirds of young people
who are released from correctional facilities across the country
are re-incarcerated within a few years of release.
71 Christopher Lowenkamp and Edward J. Latessa, “Understanding
the Risk Principle: How and Why Correctional Interventions
Can Harm Low-Risk Offenders,” Topics in Community
Corrections (2004), 6-8.
72 Latessa and Lowenkamp, (2006), p. 522-523.
73 Ibid.
74 Hughes, 2008, p. 159-160.
75 Ibid., p. 170-171.
76 Elizabeth K. Drake, Steve Aos, and Marna G. Miller, “Evidencebased Public Policy Options to Reduce Crime and Criminal
Justice Costs: Implications in Washington State,” Victims and
Offenders 4 (2009): 170-196, p. 186.
77 Ibid.
78 Valerie Levshin and Tina Chiu, Cost-Benefit Analysis and
Justice: Using Cost-Benefit Analysis to Reduce Crime and Cut
Spending (New York: Vera Institute of Justice, forthcoming).
Note: The dollar value included here represents the net present
value of future net benefits (benefits minus costs) that the
program will generate.
79 Hughes, 2008, p. 172-173.
80 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report: Youth
in Care, 2007, Table 1.
81 Family Court Act §352.2 (2)(a).
82 Ibid. (Note: Disposition in cases involving juvenile offenders
(JOs) are also governed elsewhere in the Family Court Act.
Those cases would not be affected by this proposed legislative
change.)
83 Moore, “Mentally Ill Offenders Strain Juvenile System,” 2009.
84 Analysis of 2007 data in OCFS STATSPOP database.
85 It is crucial to distinguish between risk assessment instruments
that guide dispositional decisions, as described here, and
detention risk assessment instruments. Detention risk
assessment instruments only measure the risks that are
relevant to the pre-adjudicatory issues of whether a child
will reappear in court and whether he or she might commit
another delinquent act during the pendency of the adjudicatory
proceedings.
86 Under section 351.1(2) of the Family Court Act, “Following a
determination that a respondent committed a crime and prior
to the dispositional hearing, the court shall order a probation
investigation.” The Task Force notes that probation departments
in 57 counties across New York State use the Youth Assessment
Screening Tool (YASI), an assessment instrument designed by
Orbis Partners, a human service consulting group, to measure
risk of recidivism. The New York State Division of Probation
and Correctional Alternatives (DPCA) reports that the probation
officers within these 57 counties conduct—at the time of an
intake appointment—a YASI pre-screen for each juvenile
delinquency (JD) and persons in need of supervision (PINS)
EN DNOT ES
97
case. (PINS are youth who exhibit non-criminal behavior that
constitutes an offense only because of their status as a minor,
such as truancy or running away.) Officers then perform a full
assessment on all cases determined to be medium or high risk.
It is unclear if, or to what extent, each of these counties uses
the instrument to inform and guide dispositional (sentencing)
recommendations to the court. Although the YASI has been
validated by Orbis on a New York State probation population, it
has not been validated by an outside organization. In the 2007
validation study, “PINS and female youth were identified as two
groups for which measurement properties could be improved.”
(Orbis Partners, Long Term Validation of Youth Assessment
and Screening Instrument (YASI) in New York State Juvenile
Probation, submitted to New York State Division of Probation
and Correctional Alternatives, November 2007). These groups
comprised 39 percent and 58 percent of the validation study
sample, respectively. DPCA reports that Orbis has since
implemented measures to strengthen outcomes for these two
populations.
In New York City, probation officers use the Probation
Assessment Tool (PAT), developed by the Vera Institute of
Justice, to guide dispositional recommendations to the court.
The PAT was designed to predict the probability that a youth
will successfully complete probation and avoid re-arrest. Since
the implementation of the instrument in January 2005, there has
been a 44 percent reduction in the number of recommendations
to the court for out-of-home placement (Information provided
by New York City Department of Probation’s Project Zero
Reform Initiative). While the instrument has been validated by
Vera, it has not yet been validated by an outside organization.
87 The entity that conducts mental health assessments varies
across counties. For example, in New York City, the Department
of Health and Mental Hygiene administers the assessments,
while in many upstate counties, assessments are completed by
private, contracted psychologists and psychiatrists.
88 Levshin and Chiu, forthcoming.
89 Latessa and Lowenkamp, 2006, p. 522-523; and Christopher
Lowenkamp and Edward J. Latessa, “Understanding the Risk
Principle: How and Why Correctional Interventions Can Harm
Low-Risk Offenders,” Topics in Community Corrections (2004):
4, citing D.A. Andrews and J. Bonta, The Psychology of Criminal
Conduct (Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing Co., 1998).
Community Corrections (2004): 4, citing D.A. Andrews and J.
Bonta, The Psychology of Criminal Conduct (Cincinnati, OH:
Anderson Publishing Co., 1998).
95 Ibid., 6.
96 Butts and Barton, 1995, p. 145.
97 The wrap-around approach to treatment, which uses “braided
or blended funding and multilevel collaboration,” has been
found to be particularly effective in increasing a treatment
model’s responsiveness to individual needs. Federal Advisory
Committee on Juvenile Justice, Annual Report 2008 (November
2008): 36-37.
98 Nelson, 2008 KIDS COUNT Essay and Data Brief, 2008, p. 10.
99 Greenwood, 2008, p. 198.
100 S. R. Woolfenden, K. Williams, and J. K. Peat, “Family and
Parenting Interventions for Conduct Disorder and Delinquency:
A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials,” Archives of
Disease in Childhood 86, no. 4 (2002): 256.
101 Some jurisdictions have established respite care shelters
specifically as alternatives to pre-trial detention. This practice
could undoubtedly help prevent placement in more longterm institutional settings as well. Cook County, Illinois, for
example, provides respite services as an alternative to nonsecure detention. Services offered at the shelter are structured
and include housing, meals, life skills, counseling, recreation,
transportation (to court hearings, for example), supervision,
medical and mental health services, and referrals to community
resources as needed. Group counseling services are held
daily on subjects such as anger management, interpersonal
relationships, coping with stress, substance abuse, and health
and hygiene. There are also groups facilitated by probation
with activities such as art and pet therapy. Residents are closely
supervised during day-to-day activities such as recreation and
household chores. The low client-to-staff ratio, about six to
one, encourages this level of supervision. Research indicates
that Cook County’s respite services have successfully reduced
recidivism. More than 92 percent of the youth sent to respite
care in 2008 returned to court arrest-free after their stay in one
of its shelters. (Information provided by Cook County Juvenile
Probation and Court Services Department, Alternatives to
Detention Division, Cook County, IL.)
102 See Safe Harbor for Exploited Children Act, 2008.
90 Lieb, 1994, p. 5; Jeffrey A. Butts and William H. Barton, “InHome Programs for Juvenile Delinquents,” in Home Based
Services for Troubled Children, edited by Ira M. Schwartz and
Philip AuClaire (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press,
1995); and; William H. Barton, “Incorporating the Strengths
Perspective into Intensive Juvenile Aftercare,” Western
Criminology Review 7, no. 2 (2006): 52 (referring specifically to
re-entry).
103 See Executive Law § 502-a and the definition of day placement
in the System Overview.
91 Nelson, 2008 KIDS COUNT Essay and Data Brief, 2008, p. 1011; Peter Greenwood, “Prevention and Intervention Programs
for Juvenile Offenders,” The Future of Children: Juvenile
Justice 18, no. 2 (2008): 197-199, http://futureofchildren.org/
futureofchildren/publications/docs/18_02_09.pdf.
106 Mendel, The Missouri Method, release date pending.
92 Latessa and Lowenkamp, 2006, p. 522-523. This is not to say
that youth who pose no, or a low, risk to public safety should
not receive services. Rather, services for youth who pose no, or
a low, risk to public safety are not appropriate for alternative-toplacement programs.
93 Lipsey, 2009, p. 138.
94 Christopher Lowenkamp and Edward J. Latessa,
“Understanding the Risk Principle: How and Why Correctional
Interventions Can Harm Low-Risk Offenders,” Topics in
98
104 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report: Youth
in Care, 2007, Table 1.
105 For a complete definition of day placement, see the Overview
of New York State’s Juvenile Delinquency System in the
introduction of this report.
107 New York State provides counties with a 63.7 percent uncapped
reimbursement to support local programs that prevent foster
care placements. This reimbursement program has helped many
localities reduce reliance on foster care and other costly outof-home placements for children involved in the child welfare
system.
108 See Executive Law, § 504.1, which guarantees that youth who
are placed receive “care, custody, treatment, housing, education,
rehabilitation, and guidance.”
109 Analysis of OCFS STATSPOP database; The New York City
metropolitan area is defined here as the five boroughs of New
York, Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk.
CH ARTING A N EW CO URS E: A BLU EPRI NT FOR TR ANSFOR MIN G J UVEN IL E J UST IC E IN NEW YORK S TATE
110 Richard A. Mendel, “Less Hype, More Help: Reducing Juvenile
Crime, What Works—and What Doesn’t,” American Youth
Policy Forum, 2000: 16-17
111 Lewis, Human Rights Watch, 2006: 3-7.
112 “Murder in Lockport Youth Home Raises Serious Policy
Questions,” Buffalo News, June 22, 2009, http://www.
buffalonews.com/149/story/710781.html.
113 US DOJ report, 2009, p. 7.
114 Ibid., p. 15-17.
115 Missouri is regularly cited by experts and the media for its
unique and comprehensive approach for treating youth in state
custody, which emphasizes rehabilitation and positive youth
development principles. Components of the “Missouri model”
are referenced throughout this chapter, and a summary of this
approach is included later in this chapter.
116 Mendel, The Missouri Method, release date pending.
117 Nelson, 2008 KIDS COUNT Essay and Data Brief, 2008, 10; and
Mendel, The Missouri Method, release date pending.
118 Antonis Katsiyannis, and Teara Archwamety, “Factors Related
to Recidivism Among Delinquent Youths in a State Correctional
Facility,” Journal of Child and Family Studies 6, no. 1 (1997): 51.
119 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report, Youth in
Care: 2007, Table 1.
120 Analysis of OCFS Statspop database.
121 Ibid.
122 Interviews with Massachusetts Department of Youth Services
(DYS) staff. The Massachusetts DYS is organized into five
regions to serve adjudicated youth. Upon commitment to DYS,
each youth is placed in an assessment program for a period
of 30 to 45 days, during which the agency will evaluate a
youth’s risks and needs. All the information gleaned during the
assessment period is used to place a youth in a regional facility
close to the youth’s home. Depending on the type of offense that
has been committed, youth are sent to either a secure facility (all
of which have locked perimeter doors, locked bedroom doors,
locked screen windows, and restricted client movement) or a
staff secure facility (all of which emphasize security through
client to staff ratios instead of restrictive hardware). In some
cases, youth can be released home after the assessment period
and receive services in one of DYS’s community reentry centers.
In general, these institutional placement and community-based
programs are located in the cities and towns that have the
highest concentrations of committed and detained youth.
127 Micahel McMillen, Project Guide: Juvenile Facility Design: Part
of A Series of Guides for Planning, Designing and Constructing
Adult and Juvenile Correctional and Detention Facilities
on Tribal Lands (Native American and Alaskan Technical
Assistance Project), http://www.nicic.org/downloads/pdf/
library/020748.pdf.
128 Jeffrey A. Butts, “A Sensible Model for Juvenile Justice” Youth
Transition Funders Group, Summer 2008: 5.
129 Isami Arufuku, Antoinette Davis, and Dana Linda, An
Assessment of the Enhanced Ranch Program Santa Clara
County Probation Department (Oakland, CA: National
Council on Crime and Delinquency, July 24, 2009), 35-37. Note:
According to this study, youth who were part of cohort 1 (before
elements of the Missouri model were implemented) were in
the program for 24 months, while youth in cohort 2 were in the
program for 18 months.
130 Therapeutic intervention committees (TIC) are comprised of
an array of staff within each facility (including direct care
staff, directors, teachers, and clinicians). Each TIC is required
to meet monthly (more often if necessary) to establish the
facility leadership’s role, analyze and guide organizational
culture, monitor and modify facility procedure and practices as
needed, facilitate staff recruitment and training, and impart a
philosophy of continuous improvement to staff.
131 New Amsterdam Consulting, Performance-based Standards
for Youth Correction and Detention Facilities (Scottsdale, AZ:
New Amsterdam Consulting, July 2007), http://pbstandards.org/
DocLib/CJCA_PbS_Research_Phase2.pdf, p. 5.
132 OCFS Policy Manual, Use of Physical Restraint, 3247.13, section
I. These de-escalation techniques, as they are commonly referred
to, include using verbal re-direction strategies and actively
listening to youth during the situation.
133 Ibid.
134 See 18 NYCRR 441.17 for regulations governing restraints in
private facilities.
135 US DOJ report, 2009, p.5.
136 Ibid., p. 2.
137 Lewis, Human Rights Watch, 2006, p.51.
138 As reported in the final US DOJ report, 2009, p. 6-9.
139 Ibid., p. 10.
140 Ibid., p. 8.
141 Ibid.
123 See Overview of New York’s Juvenile Delinquency System in
the introduction of this report for definitions of secure, limited
secure, and non-secure facilities
142 OCFS, Division of Juvenile Justice and Opportunities for Youth,
Quarterly Summary Report for 2008, Quarters 1-4.
124 Latessa and Lowenkamp, 2006, p. 522-523; and Lowenkamp and
Latessa, 2004, p. 6-8.
144 See 9 NYCRR section 168.3; In late 2007, the Legal Aid Society
filed John F. v. Carrión (Index No. 407117/07, Supreme Court,
New York County) as a class action seeking declaratory
and injunctive relief barring OCFS from handcuffing
and footcuffing (“shackling”) children placed on juvenile
delinquency cases, as a matter of course, who are transported to
New York City courts and while the children are in courthouses.
The class certification motion was determined with OCFS
agreeing to apply the final judgment to all children similarly
situated who are brought to family courts in New York City.
The plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in the case is
fully submitted and was argued May 20, 2009. The parties are
awaiting decision.
125 Butts and Barton, 1995, p. 145.
126 The District of Columbia’s DYRS uses a structured decision
making (SDM) tool to measure youth’s risk of re-offending and
match their risk level against the offense severity to determine
where a youth must be placed. High-risk youth are placed in
a secure facility; moderate-risk youth are placed in residential
facilities such as group homes; and low-risk youth typically
receive services in the community. Once a youth’s placement
is determined, DYRS administers the Child and Adolescent
Service Intensity Instrument (CASII) to measure youth’s
treatment needs. DYRS will also conduct other assessments
as needed after reviewing the results of the CASII screening.
(Information provided by DYRS officials in interviews with the
Task Force and presentation on DYRS case planning process).
143 Ibid.
145 A. Liebling, and H. Arnold, Prisons and Their Moral
Performance: A Study of Values, Quality, and Prison Life
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
EN DNOT ES
99
146 New Amsterdam Consulting, Performance-based Standards for
Youth Correction and Detention Facilities, 2007, p. 5.
147 US DOJ report, 2009, p. 15-27.
148 Final Report of the Texas Blue Ribbon Task Force. Transforming
Juvenile Justice in Texas: A Framework for Action (September
2007), 47, citing J. Latimer, “A Meta-analytic Examination of
Youth Delinquency, Family Involvement, and Recidivism,”
Canadian Journal of Criminology 43 (2001): 237-253; and Aos,
Miller, and Drake, 2006.
149 Missouri Youth Services Institute (MYSI), Preliminary
Assessment of OCFS-operated Facilities, January 2009.
150 US DOJ report, 2009. p. 24.
151 Ibid., p. 17-18.
152 Ibid., p. 24.
153 Missouri Youth Services Institute, Preliminary Assessment,
2009.
154 US DOJ report, 2009, p. 24-25.
155 Remarks Of Steven H. Rosenbaum Chief, Special Litigation
Section, Civil Rights Division, United States Department Of
Justice, Before The Fourteenth Annual National Juvenile
Corrections And Detention Forum (Long Beach, CA: 1999);
and Dick Mendel, “Small is Beautiful: Missouri Shows the
Way on Juvenile Corrections,” AdvoCasey 5, no. 1 (2003),
http://www.aecf.org/KnowledgeCenter/Publications.
aspx?pubguid={126216A5-CA45-4F54-8BB3-8A86C27BB5B3}.
156 Butts, 2008, citing Richard F. Catalano, M. Lisa Berglund, Jean
A. M. Ryan, Heather S. Lonczak, and J. David Hawkins (2004),
“Positive Youth Development in the United States: Research
Findings on Evaluations of Positive Youth Development
Programs.” ANNALS of the American Academy of Political
and Social Science 591, no. 1 (2004):98-124; and Peter C. Scales
and Nancy Leffert, Development Assets: A Synthesis of the
Scientific Research on Adolescent Development, 2nd ed.
(Minneapolis: Search Institute Press, 2004).
162 Presentation of research on conditions inside OCFS facilities,
conducted by Alexandra Cox to the Task Force’s Redefining
Residential Care subcommittee on June 3, 2009.
163 See the Office of Children and Family Services, Guidelines
for Good Childcare Practices with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Questioning Youth, http://srlp.org/files/
LGBTQ_Youth_Policy_PPM_3442_00.pdf.
164 In 2008, 157 youth in OCFS-operated facilities passed the GED,
but due to the absence of higher education programs, these
youth had to continue to sit in on regular high school classes.
165 Different designations allow private agencies to issue credits
and diplomas. For example, some private agencies operate as a
special act school within union free school districts, which are
created by legislation to provide services to children in foster
care facilities, while others have special status under Article 81
of Education Law.
166 The acceptance of school credits when youth leave OCFS
juvenile justice facilities and return to their home schools is
governed by New York State Education Department regulation
and is based on whether the work done is consistent with
New York State commencement learning standards and
of comparable scope and quality to the coursework of the
receiving school (see 8 NYCRR § 100.5 (d)(5)(i)(b)). In contrast,
students who transfer from public schools automatically
have their credits accepted, without regard to whether the
schools they are transferring from are ranked as good or poor
performing schools (see 8 NYCRR § 100.5 (d)(5)(i)(a)).
167 Missouri Youth Services Institute, Preliminary Assessment,
2009.
168 All direct care staff receive 189.50 hours of instruction and
40 hours of on-the-job training over the course of a six-week
period.
169 Remarks Of Steven H. Rosenbaum Before The Fourteenth
Annual National Juvenile Corrections And Detention Forum,
1999.
157 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report: Youth
in Care, 2007, Table 2.
170 US DOJ report, 2009, p. 5-11; and Missouri Youth Services
Institute, Preliminary Assessment, 2009.
158 As reported in US DOJ report, 2009, p. 16.
171 Missouri Youth Services Institute, Preliminary Assessment,
2009.
159 Ibid., p.16.
160 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is geared toward teaching
adaptive behavior or modifying negative behavior, by
systematically changing a person’s environment. CBT focuses
on the following five objectives: (1) motivating youth, (2)
helping youth acquire skills necessary to manage life events,
(3) helping youth apply acquired skills to daily life, (4) teaching
youth to structure their environment to ensure success,
and (5) motivating and supporting counselors. See Juvenile
Rehabilitation Administration, Integrated Treatment Model
Report, September 2002, http://www.dshs.wa.gov/pdf/jra/ITM_
Design_Report.pdf.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive-behavioral
treatment for individuals with complex and difficult to treat
mental disorders. DBT focuses on the following four objectives:
(1) enhancing youth behavioral skills in dealing with difficult
situations, (2) motivating youth to change dysfunctional
behaviors, (3) ensuring the new skills are used in daily
institutional life, and (4) training counselors to improve skills.
See Elizabeth Drake and Robert Barnoski, Recidivism Findings
for the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration’s Dialectical
Behavioral Therapy Program: Final Report (Olympia, WA:
Washington State Institute for Public Policy, 2006), 1-2.
161 Missouri Youth Services Institute, Preliminary Assessment,
2009.
100
172 Description of qualification for youth development aides
provided by OCFS.
173 See New York State Division of Probation and Correctional
Alternatives Training web site, http://dpca.state.ny.us/training.
htm#qualifications.
174 Mendel, The Missouri Method, release date pending.
175 New York State Civil Service Law, §§ 131.1a and 130.4.
176 Memorandum from the Office of Mental Health, Re: Retroactive
OMH Salary Schedule for Facility M-8 Titles, May 2008. For
example, the minimum salary rate for psychiatrist 2 positions
is $122,613 and the maximum rate is $147,251, but OMH can
provide more than this maximum rate under the DOB plan.
177 David M. Altschuler and Rachel Brash, “Adolescent and Teenage
Offenders Confronting the Challenges and Opportunities of
Reentry,” Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 2, no. 1 (2004): 7287.
178 Howard Snyder, “An Empirical Portrait of the Youth Reentry
Population,” Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 2, (2004): 3955; and Mercer Sullivan, “Youth Perspective on the Experience
of Reentry,” Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 2, no. 1 (2004).
179 Snyder, 2004, p. 39-55; Margaret Beale Spencer and Cheryl
Jones-Walker, “Interventions and Services Offered to Former
C HART IN G A NE W COU RS E: A BLUEPRI NT FOR TRANSFORMI NG J UVE NIL E JU S TIC E IN N EW YORK STATE
Juvenile Offenders Reentering Their Communities: An Analysis
of Program Effectiveness,” Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice
2, no. 1 (2004): 88-97.
180 Grisso, 2008, p. 146-147, 155-159; and Laurie Chassin, “Juvenile
Justice and Substance Use,” The Future of Children 18, no. 2
(2008): 173 and 177-178.
181 M. B. Spenser and S. Donrbusch, “Challenges in Studying
Minority Youth,” in At the Threshold: The Developing
Adolescent, edited by S. Felman and G. Elliot (Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1990) 123-146; and D. P. Swanson,
M. B. Spencer, and A. Peterson, “Identity Formation in
Adolescence,” in The Adolescent Years: Social Influences &
Educational Challenges, 97th Yearbook of the National Society
for the Study of Education—Part 1, edited by K. Borman and B.
Schneider (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998) 18-41.
182 All youth released to the community are assigned to a level of
supervision as indicated in their reentry plan and determined
by risk factors, including day placement, intensive supervision,
high supervision, moderate supervision, or administrative
supervision. Under day placement, youth go to an evening
reporting center program in their community and have inperson contact with their case manager. Other supervision
levels typically involve in-person contacts with their case
managers, although the frequency of this contact varies.
Evidence-based services are in 20 locations across the state.
According to OCFS officials, all youth returning to New York
City are considered for an evidence-based community initiative
(EbCI) program but not all youth are recommended for a
program. Upstate, EbCIs are not available in every community
and are generally reserved for the “most needy” youth.
193 Kathleen R. Skowyra and Joseph J. Cocozza, Blueprint for
Change: A Comprehensive Model for the Identification and
Treatment of Youth with Mental Health Needs in Contact
with the Juvenile Justice System (Delmar, NY:National Center
for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and Juvenile Justice and
Policy Research Associates, 2007), http://www.ncmhjj.com/
Blueprint/pdfs/Blueprint.pdf; and Daniel Mears and Jeremy
Travis, “Youth Development and Reentry,” Youth Violence and
Juvenile Justice 2, no. 1 (2004): 3-20.
194 Ibid.
195 Memorandum from the Office of Children and Family Services,
Re: Standard Release Planning Procedures, May 18, 2008 and
July 16, 2008.
196 Ibid.
197 See recommendation 7 in Chapter 3.
198 David Altschuler and Troy Armstrong, “Juvenile Corrections
and Continuity of Care in a Community Context—The Evidence
and Promising Directions,” Federal Probation 66, no. 1 (2002):
72-77.
199 Ibid.
200 Daniel Mears and Jeremy Travis, Dimensions, Pathways, and
Consequences of Youth Reentry (Washington, DC: Urban
Institute Justice Policy Center, 2004) http://www.urban.org/
UploadedPDF/410927_youth_reentry.pdf; and Steve V. Gies,
Aftercare Services, Juvenile Justice Practice Series (Washington,
DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention, 2003) http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/
ojjdp/201800.pdf.
184 Altschuler and Brash, 2004.
201 Linda Harris, Making the Juvenile Justice–Workforce System
Connection for Re-entering Young Offenders (Washington, DC:
Center for Law and Social Policy: 2006), 1, http://www.clasp.org/
admin/site/publications/files/0329.pdf.
185 Family Court Act, § 353.3 (5).
202 Ibid.
186 Family Court Act, § 353.3 (9).
203 Skowyra and Cocozza, 2007.
187 Family Court Act, § 353.5.
204 Kimberly Hellriegel and James R. Yates, Collaboration Between
Correctional and Public School System for Juvenile Offenders:
A Case Study, (paper presented at the annual meeting of the
American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL, 1997)
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_
storage_01/0000019b/80/16/a3/b1.pdf.
183 Information provided by Commissioner of Seneca County
Division of Social Services.
188 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report: Youth
in Care, 2007, Table 7. Figures exclude youth who moved
between private and state-operated facilities.
189 Ibid.
190 Edward P. Mulvey, Laurence Steinberg, Jeffrey Fagan, Elizabeth
Cauffman, Alex R. Piquero, Laurie Chassin, George P. Knight,
Robert Brame, Carol A. Schubert, Thomas Hecker, and Sandra
H. Losoya., “Theory And Research On Desistance From
Antisocial Activity Among Serious Adolescent Offenders,”
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 2, no. 3 (2004): 213-236. See
also Susan Mitchell-Herzfeld, Therese A. Shady, Janet Mayo,
Do Han Kim, Kelly Marsh, Vajeera Dorabawila, and Faye Rees,
Effects of Multisystemic Therapy (MST) on Recidivism Among
Juvenile Delinquents in New York State (Rensselaer, NY: Office
of Children and Family Services, 2008): 11-13, http://www.ocfs.
state.ny.us/main/reports/FINAL%20MST%20report%206-24-08.
pdf.
191 Mitchell-Herzfeld et al., 2008. 11-13; Mulvey et al., 2004, 213-236;
and H. J. Hair, “Outcomes for Children and Adolescents after
Residential Treatment: A Review of Research from 1993-2003,”
Journal of Child and Family Studies 14, no. 4 (2005): 551-575.
192 Hair, 2005, p. 560. This study identified length of stay as a
potential factor for positive outcomes. Specifically “shorter,
repeatable periods of stability in a residential facility may foster
treatment gains and educational achievement for children with
less severe psychopathology than using out-of-home placements
as a once and for all cure.”
205 Ibid.
206 The Legal Aid Society and Advocates for Children sued the
New York City and State Education Departments in 2004 to
ensure appropriate and timely transfer into New York City
community schools following detention or incarceration. After
much litigation and negotiation, the plaintiff students reached a
settlement that was approved by federal court in October 2008.
Under this order, the State must provide guidance and technical
assistance to local districts and timely reenrollment and record
transfer for students returning from court-ordered settings and
provides for detailed monitoring.
207 Data reported by local community service team offices to the
OCFS Office of Community Partnerships. During this time,
reenrollment for New York City youth was more expeditious
that that of non-New York City youth: 80 percent of New York
City youth were reenrolled within five days, compared to 50
percent of non-New York City youth.
208 See the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section,
Report to the House of Delegates, August 2008. http://www.
abanet.org/crimjust/policy/am08104b.pdf.
209 According to information provided by OCFS’s general counsel,
the only hearing conducted by the legislature on the juvenile
EN DNOT ES
101
justice system was held by the New York State Assembly on
December 18, 2006, following the death at Tryon.
210 OCFS is taking important steps to improve aspects of its data
collection. Notably, the periodic data extract currently used by
research staff for most reporting and evaluation purposes is
slated for replacement by a live data warehouse. This should
help ensure more timely access to this data and presents an
opportunity to integrate information from several freestanding,
unconnected data systems in use in different parts of the
agency.
211 B. Frederick, Factors Contributing To Recidivism Among Youth
Placed with the New York State Division for Youth (Albany,
NY: New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services,
1999) http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/crimnet/ojsa/dfy/dfy_
research_report.pdf.
212 Recidivism is not as simple as calculating a single number,
and it is important to keep its many possible definitions clear.
For example, in 2005, the Virginia Department of Juvenile
Justice discovered a great deal of variation in how states
define and report juvenile recidivism, effectively ruling out a
single standard definition shared nationwide, http://www.djj.
virginia.gov/About_Us/Administrative_Units/Research_and_
Evaluation_Unit/pdf/recidivism_RQ.pdf.
213 See the Peformance-based Standards (PbS) web site for Council
of Juvenile Correctional Adminstrators exit survey, www.
pbstandards.org.
214 Eight facilities, including the two reception centers, Tryon
Residential Centers for boys and girls, Louis Gossett Jr.
Residential Center, Lansing Residential Center, Staten Island
Residential Center, and the Middletown Residential Center,
collected and reported data to PbS in October 2008 and April
2009. The remaining 13 facilities were engaged in the PbS
system in October 2009.
215 US DOJ report, 2009, p.9 and 12.
216 Ibid., p. 11.
217 Ibid., p. 12-14.
218 Ibid., p. 13.
219 Ibid., p. 11-12.
220 Ibid., p. 14.
221 Commision on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons,
Confronting Confinement (Washington, DC: Commission on
Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons, June 2006).
222 Office of Children and Family Services, Annual Report: Youth
in Care, 2007, Table 12. The New York State Commission of
Correction (SCOC) is primarily responsible for oversight of
New York State’s adult correctional facilities. However, SCOC
also oversees OCFS’s secure facilities because these facilities
primarily house juvenile offenders who were convicted by
the criminal (adult) court due to the severity of their crimes.
In addition the New York State Division of Criminal Justice
Services contracted with SCOC, at the direction of the Juvenile
Justice Advisory Group, to monitor whether detention/
jail facilities across the state—both adult and juvenile—are
complying with three targeted, core requirements of the
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act: (1) sight
and sound separation of juveniles from incarcerated adults;
(2) removal of juveniles from adult jails and lock-ups; and (3)
deinstitutionalization (from secure detention facilities) of status
offenders—youth who have not committed a crime but who
have acted out in ways that put them at risk due to their age.
Under this contract, however, the SCOC’s oversight is limited to
these three areas and pertains mainly to detention facilities, as
opposed to placement facilities and prisons.
102
223 See Executive Law, § 523, title III, article 19-G for language
regarding the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman
(OOTO) in May 2007. Also see New York State Office of the
Inspector General and Office of the Tompkins County District
Attorney, Report on the Louis Gossett Jr. Residential Center
(November 2006) http://www.ig.state.ny.us/pdfs/Report%20
on%20the%20Louis%20Gossett%20Jr%20Residential%20
Center.pdf. According to this report, the OOTO did exist prior
to 2007; however, the office was not statutorily mandated and
only had one ombudsman to conduct oversight of all facilities
from 1998 to 2007.
224 Both the Office of the Ombudsman and the Independent
Review Board have been in existence in one form or another
since 1972, and they were defined by regulations adopted in
1983 (NYCRR, title 9, executive, part 177). However, it was not
until 2007 that legislation was enacted statutorily mandating
the OOTO and the IRB (Executive Law, article 19-G, title 3,
subtitle B, §§ 523 to 523-n). As set forth in section 523-1 of
the Executive Law, the purpose of the IRB is to advise the
OCFS commissioner on matters pertaining to OOTO and the
complaint and grievance resolution processes of the OOTO. But
it also has the power to request investigations, to visit facilities,
inspect records, and request investigations. During interviews
with the Task Force, the IRB has regularly undertaken the tasks
assigned to it under law, including evaluating the effectiveness
of the OOTO, visiting OCFS facilities, speaking and meeting
with youth under the jurisdiction of OCFS, and advising the
commissioner on numerous matters regarding juvenile justice
policies.
225 For information on Ohio’s Correctional Institutions Inspection
Committee, see http://www.ciic.state.oh.us/charge/103.77.pdf;
also see the California Office of the Inspector General web site,
http://www.oig.ca.gov/pages/about-us.php.
226 See the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Formula Grants, Consolidated Regulation (28 CFR Part 31) §
31.101 and § 31.102; also see New York State Executive Order
No. 80: Juvenile Justice Planning, issued 1986.
227 See New York State Executive Order No. 80: Juvenile Justice
Planning.
228 Valerie Levshin and Tina Chiu, Cost-Benefit Analysis and
Justice: Using Cost-Benefit Analysis to Reduce Crime and Cut
Spending (New York: Vera Institute of Justice, forthcoming).
229 Collected data included lengths of stay in juvenile placement,
costs of operating local juvenile facilities and adult prisons,
and information on various other parts of the justice system.
Data on programs’ ability to reduce crime was drawn from the
Washington State Institute for Public Policy’s review of 204
evaluations of services for court-involved youth.
230 The 75 percent recidivism rate is based on a 13-year followup study of youth released from juvenile institutions in
Washington State. Comparable rates for New York are not
available, but similar studies show New York’s rates to be even
higher. As cited in the introduction to Chapter 2, the most recent
study of recidivism in New York state showed a 75 percent rearrest rate, a 62 percent re-conviction rate, and a 45 percent reincarceration rate within three years of release from New York
State’s facilities, (Frederick, 1999).
231 Benefits to crime victims are based on the victim costs estimates
in Ted R. Miller, Mark A. Cohen, and Brian Wiersema, Victim
Costs and Consequences: A New Look, Research Report
(Washington DC: National Institute of Justice, 1996) http://
www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/155282.htm.
C HART IN G A NE W COU RS E: A BLUEPRI NT FOR TRANSFORMI NG J UVE NIL E JU S TIC E IN N EW YORK STATE
232 This analysis was meant to illustrate the potential costs and
benefits of expanding evidence-based programs in New York
and was not meant as a recommendation to transfer any
specific number of youth in OCFS custody into these programs.
233 Due to the lack of aggregate data on community-based programs
in New York State, as well as other data, this part of the analysis
differed from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy’s
approach. A technical document, scheduled for release in
January 2010, will elaborate on both methodologies.
234 For more on this study and the methodology, see Levshin and
Chiu, forthcoming.
EN DNOT ES
103
Charting a New Course
A Blueprint for Transforming Juvenile Justice in New York State
DECEMBER 2009
A Report of Governor David Paterson’s Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice
DESIGNER
Jeanne Criscola | Criscola Design
PRINTING
GHP Media, Inc.
P H O T O G R A P HY
Photographs do not depict individuals or locations discussed in this report.
Michael Ainsworth/Dallas Morning News/Corbis: front cover
Jon Lowenstein: page 3, 46
Frederic Cirou: page 4
Ed Kashi: page 24
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Corbis: page 32
David McNew: page 56
Radius Images/Corbis: page 68
Steve Davis: page 78
Karen Marshall: back cover
on the Vera Institute of Justice’s web site
at http://www.vera.org.
CHARTING A NEW COURSE A BLUEPRINT FOR TRANSFORMING JUVENILE JUSTICE IN NEW YORK STATE
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