David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
Date: May 20,2002
|New Harlem Court to Focus on Juvenile Drug Cases|
|HARLEM, NY - The Harlem Juvenile Intervention Court, the
first community-based juvenile drug court in the country, officially opens
today, May 20, with an inauguration ceremony by Chief Judge Judith Kaye
and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Court targets youngsters under the age
of 16 arrested for non-violent felony and misdemeanor offenses, responding
swiftly and linking juveniles with drug prevention and treatment programs,
education, family counseling and community-based services.
Serving East and Central Harlem, the Juvenile Intervention Court crafts multifaceted dispositions that address the substance-abusing behavior of juvenile respondents, recognizing the role of home, school and community in their rehabilitation. Youths enter the court program, contingent upon parental consent, after pleading guilty and agreeing to abide by the mandates of the court, which can include drug treatment, community service, tutoring sessions and regular school attendance.
Chief Judge Kaye said, "Early intervention is critical in helping a troubled young person get back on the right track. Like adults who find themselves caught in the downward spiral of addiction, a substance-abusing teen can become swept up into a life of criminality and be unable to break out. Troubles at home and school, combined with the usual insecurities and growing pains of adolescence, further complicate an already precarious situation. The Harlem Juvenile Intervention Court seeks to halt a young person's progression into further criminal activity by acting quickly to address the substance-abusing behavior with rigorous judicial monitoring and supportive services for the youth and other family members if necessary. By recognizing and addressing the whole network of influences and pressures that can contribute to a young person's use of drugs, the Court increases the chances that the solution will be a long-term, lasting one."
"The Harlem Juvenile Intervention Court represents a more strategic,
efficient, and effective approach to addressing juvenile delinquency and
substance abuse before these problems destroy the lives of our City's youths,"
Mayor Bloomberg said. "Early intervention saves time, money, and, most
importantly, lives, and the City of New York is a proud member of this
collaborative effort, which includes community groups, the public and private
sectors, and all three levels of government. We are committed to helping
our children lead healthy, productive lives, and this new court is another
example of how different people and organizations can work together to
achieve this goal."
The juvenile court is a division of the Harlem Community Justice Center, a multi-jurisdictional community-based court focusing on the most pressing issues of the Harlem community - at-risk youth, housing and drugs. Juvenile Intervention Court participants are often linked to youth development and leadership programs available at the Harlem Community Justice Center, such as youth court, mentoring and parent-teen mediation.
The Harlem Juvenile Intervention Court - developed in conjunction with the Center for Court Innovation, the research and development arm of the state court system - is located in the heart of East Harlem at 170 East 121st Street. Over $1.1 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the State Justice Institute will be provided over a period of three years for the creation of this new court. Additional court partners include the New York City Law Department, Department of Probation, Police Department and Department of Juvenile Justice, as well as the Legal Aid Society and Neighborhood Defender Service.