The New York Criminal Law Blog

Juvenile Justice Department Offers A Therapeutic Approach

In an effort to downsize juvenile prisons in New York, Bloomberg's administration integrated the city's Department of Juvenile Justice into a new program with the Administation for Children's Services. Many hope that this merger, which came into effect on Wednesday, will offer a more "therapeutic approach" for the non-violent youths.

The New York Times report that while high-risk youths will still be sent to detention facilities, the teens that commit crimes that are not dangerous will be given the opportunity to take part in "in-home programs." Under the Administration for Children's Services (ACS), the youths will follow a "strict set of rules requiring them to stay out of trouble, keep curfews and meet educational goals" while living with their families. The youths will also be visited by therapists and social workers who will monitor their behavior and how they are meeting their requirements.

This is all part of a plan for the city to allow juvenile offenders have a chance at community based therapy. This type of therapy in often intended to set these young individuals in more positive life paths versus sending them to state-run juvenile prisons.

On the ACS website, their mission is to "ensure the safety and well-being of New York City children." They also launched the Children's Services Juvenile Justice Initiative (JJI), which has therapeutic, transitional and re-entry services. The ACS cites that "therapeutic interventions utilized by JJI have resulted in a 30-70% decrease in recidivism" ("JJI").  

For more information about juvenile justice, please visit our Related Resources links. 

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