Most agree that the juvenile criminal system is broken in DC. Sometimes it takes a major tragedy to kickstart reforms. I hope this is a real first step toward reform. Following is an update from CM Jim Graham (Ward-1) on what is being done (from CH Listserv):
“Over the last couple of weeks we have engaged in a productive discussion about the juvenile and adult justice systems. Many of us have been working hard at this for a long time. I appreciate the dialogue and suggestions of so many of you.
The horrible series of shootings in Southeast that left 5 dead, including 4 teenagers, and five others wounded has angered and saddened all of us. This shooting could have happened anywhere in the city. I have had several conversations with the great-aunt of 16 year old Brishell Jones, who happens to live in Ward One. I also was moved by the testimony of Brishell’s mother and grandmother on Monday.
The cycle of retaliatory youth related violence and the revolving doors in our juvenile justice system must stop.
I continue my work on education, jobs, training, substance abuse treatment and other opportunities for young people.
I want successful rehabilitation programs for youthful offenders–but, when those programs are not successful, I want secure detention to protect the youth, and the rest of us.
Yesterday, I introduced a bill, along with my colleagues Tommy Wells and Phil Mendelson, that will establish a Commission on Juvenile Justice Reform. The Commission will review current policies, outcomes and resources at the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services and the Family Court Social Services. The 9 member Commission will consist of 3 representatives selected by the Mayor, 3 selected by Council Chair Vincent Gray and 3 selected by Chief Judge Lee Satterfield.
Continues after the jump.
The overall goal of the Commission is to make recommendations to the Council on legislative actions to maximize rehabilitation resources and efforts for offenders before they are committed to DYRS. And, in the cases of repeat, violent juvenile offenders that are committed to DYRS, actions required to increase the capacity of DYRS to provide both secured detention and ongoing rehabilitation.
On a related issue, the third Joint Roll Call of MPD Officers and Special Police Officers along the 14th St corridor will be on Friday, April 23, at the # 10 Boys and Girls Club. Over 20 Metropolitan Police Department and SPO’s have participated in each of the previous two. The roll calls are held once a week and will increase in frequency during the summer. They are intended to improve coordination of effort and information sharing among MPD and the private security companies along the corridor, especially in the public spaces between the different properties.
Just as important, community based organizations are working intensively with the most involved gang and crew members, their siblings, and families. Some of the “beefs” between groups are so old many of the young people engaged now in violence have no idea why they are beefing. Community groups are working hard to redirect young people back into educational and vocational opportunities, and provide day to day, intensive mentoring and support.
I want to thank everyone for their commitment and hard work. We will stay on this.
Bests, CM Jim Graham”