Updated 05/08/2012 11:05 PM
ACS To Move Juvenile Facilities To Five Boroughs
In a few months, hundreds of teenagers who commit crimes will do their time closer to home, but the state workers' union is outraged that the plan is making contracts with private agencies rather than local correction facilities. NY1's Criminal Justice reporter Dean Meminger filed this report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Starting this fall, children who get in trouble as juvenile offenders will be placed in privately-run not-for-profit facilities in the five boroughs instead of being sent to facilities upstate.
The state is turning over control of young offenders to the city's Administration for Children's Services in September.
ACS has hired not-for-profits to house those who are younger than 16 and not considered high-risk, although some of these juveniles have committed misdemeanors and felonies.
The new initiative is called Close To Home. Children will serve their punishments and receive services while being near their families.
The ACS commissioner says upstate facilities have not worked when it comes to rehabilitation.
"They eventually come home after relatively short stays and commit crimes in the communities we are talking about. So we think keeping kids close to home, where they can access to their families and get school credit, will be a lot more successful," said ACS Commissioner Ronald Richter.
Bronx mother Jeannette Bocanegra said it will be nice to have her son closer to home.
"It was hard for him to be so far away from home with individuals that didn't care about him, that see him as a number. But to me he is my son, he has a name," she said.
State workers and their union, however, are outraged that private agencies are being contracted.
They say they have facilities in the city that can be used.
"It is about money. It is not about taking care of our kids. It is about politics and money,"
said family advocate Akmeer Kahiem.
On Monday and Tuesday, ACS got feedback on the plan from the public.
Some residents are concerned that the teens could be right back on the streets committing more crimes.
"I am not sure you can house young people who have had problems in the [past] in a non secure placement facility," said Brooklyn resident Bernard Fryshman.
Others were more willing to give the juvenile offenders a chance at redemption.
"A lot of our youth by little mistake can get themselves into trouble, and I think we have to sometime give them a chance to come back to our community," said Bronx resident Bourema Niamble.