PEF Refutes Bloomberg's Attempt to Restructure Juvenile Justice

ALBANY, NY (12/22/2010)(readMedia)-- "New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's plan to turn over control of juvenile justice services to local governments is misguided and dangerous," said PEF President Kenneth Brynien.

"While New York City and other municipalities have developed some exceptional programs for diverting youth from residential placements, these programs are not appropriate for all criminally involved youth. The fact is the vast majority of youth in state programs have failed in their placement in the types of programs that Mayor Bloomberg is advocating. It is simply not in the best interest of either the youth or the community.

Mayor Bloomberg's proposal does not address the serious question of what to do with those youth who are too dangerous to be placed in a community based program. This is a policy issue that demands a comprehensive statewide solution, not a piecemeal approach.

What the Mayor ought to be calling for is the overdue resignation of the woman responsible for mismanaging the system, state Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Gladys Carrion. Commissioner Carrion knew the juvenile justice system she inherited was broken. Rather than putting the resources of her agency into fixing the system, she chose instead to expend considerable resources on a public relations campaign to dismantle it.

Commissioner Carrion has systematically emptied state juvenile facilties sending youth to private programs that lack oversight and the proven ability to treat seriously troubled youth. The most glaring example is the misplacement of 19 year old Anthony Allen. Allen murdered 24 year old Renee Greco, a youth counselor at a private facility in Niagara County last year. Putting dangerous young criminals into unsecure community based programs would endanger public safety.

Commissioner Carrion was also well aware of the 12 month notice law for state facility closures when she chose to waste state taxpayer dollars by emptying out the Tryon Residential Center in Fulton County. The law is designed to make sure the closure decision is thought-out with ample opportunity for uprooted service recipients, economically devastated communities, and families of employees who may lose their jobs to plan for the drastic impacts of closures.

Finally, the NY Daily News is so committed to furthering Carrion's misguided mission that they attached to their web editorial a photo that had nothing to do with the juvenile justice system in New York. The photo was of three youths arrested for nearly beating a homeless man to death in Florida, a fact not included with the photo. It appears to have been a cheap attempt to sensationalize an important issue," Brynien said.

PEF is the state's second-largest, state-employee union, representing 56,000 professional, scientific and technical employees.