The New York State DCJS Office of Youth Justice provides resources and expertise to promote positive change and improve the quality and responsiveness of the justice system on behalf of youth and families.
New York State provides a fair and equitable justice system that gives youth an opportunity to reach their full potential and prevents future system involvement.
The DCJS Office of Youth Justice will be a valued collaborative partner and leader in building statewide capacity and structures that support government and professional agencies in addressing demonstrated needs with evidence-based solutions.
CORE VALUES AND PRINCIPLES
The Office of Youth Justice has adopted the five core values of the DCJS: Integrity, teamwork, excellence, accountability, and innovation. In addition, we move forward using the following principles:
- Collaboration: No one organization can be completely successful in reducing or preventing crime. Greater long-term success requires true partnerships across many levels.
- Flexible and Adaptable: We should always find the best possible means of using funds in a manner that best meets youth needs while offering opportunities to easily and quickly redirect resources to address local needs.
- Youth and Family Focused: Those who are the beneficiaries of our mission always come first. Their voices are important factors in our decision processes.\
- Information Sharing: Effective communication and information sharing aid prudent decision-making and interaction with stakeholders.
The New York State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG), made up of the key players in juvenile justice in New York, is committed to supporting a fair and equitable juvenile justice system in New York State, one that is data driven and research based. Appointed by the Governor of New York, JJAG serves to supervise the development and implementation of New York State’s federal juvenile justice plan, review and approve all grant applications for federal juvenile justice and delinquency prevention funds, and to consider and advise the Governor and the Legislature on juvenile justice matters of importance in New York State.
The overarching vision of the JJAG includes:
- Fostering innovation in juvenile justice related practice and policy through the dissemination of knowledge that is research based and data driven.
- Serving as a convener and coordinator for state and local juvenile justice related partners and reform efforts.
- Embedding in communities the responsibility and means to meet the needs of their youth who are at risk of entering or involved in the juvenile justice system.
- Supporting the creation of a continuum of care in each community, and throughout the state, to ensure that all youth are served from prevention to intervention through aftercare as close to their homes and communities as possible.
- Establishing a system that is easily accessible to all consumers, both as grantees and the children, youth and families they serve; facilitating state and local, and public and private partnerships that are supportive of at risk and disadvantaged youth and families.
The Juvenile Justice Advisory Group meets quarterly, rotating its meeting location between the Division of Criminal Justice Services office in Albany and the Executive Chamber in New York City. The strategic plan for the group is nearly final and will be published once approved. Meetings are open to the public.
Disproportionate Minority Contact Advisory Council
The DMC Committee will inform the JJAG and its individual member agencies and organizations to help identify and eliminate policies and practices that contribute to the disparate treatment of racial and ethnic minority youth in New York State and thereby eliminate the disproportionate representation of minority youth throughout the juvenile justice system.
The DMC Committee will develop recommendations (a strategic plan) that will guide policies and practices to improve outcomes for all youth and reduce the disproportionate representation of racial and ethnic minority youth at all stages of the juvenile justice system.
- Increase awareness of disproportionate representation of racial and ethnic minority youth at progressive stages of the juvenile justice system.
- Encourage a service delivery agenda that provides fair and equal treatment to all youth.
- Promote public policies that ensure fair and equal treatment to all youth.
- Increase cultural competence of policy makers and professionals who work with children and families.
- Incorporate the youth perspective in planning.
- Research policy and practices that contribute to disparate treatment of racial and ethnic minority youth.
- Map decision points where disparate treatment of racial and ethnic minority youth can contribute to disproportionate representation of youth in the juvenile justice system.
- Determine standard, reliable data sources to measure decision points.
- Quantify the disproportionate representation of racial and ethnic minority youth at progressive stages of the juvenile justice system.
- Research effective strategies that reduce the disparate treatment of racial and ethnic minority youth.
- Develop or identify training to increase cultural competence.
- Train policy makers and professionals who work with children and families to improve cultural competence.
- Organize and convene a youth advisory council.
- Develop strategic action plan to address DMC.
- Monitor and amend plan as needed.
The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, most recently reauthorized in 2018 with bipartisan support, creates a federal-state partnership for the administration of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention by providing: juvenile justice planning and advisory system (State Advisory Groups), federal funding for state and local programming, and the operation of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) which is dedicated to training, technical assistance, and model programs. The Act also requires compliance in the following areas: deinstitutionalization of status offenders, adult jail and lock-up removal, sight and sound separation, and racial and ethnic disparities.
§4.80 Executive Order No. 80 signed by Governor Mario M. Cuomo (and continued by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2011), named the Division of Criminal Justice Services the designated state agency and established the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG) in 1986.
The JJAG identifies critical areas for youth justice program development through data analysis, consultation with experts (local level professionals, families, and youth) in the field, and identification of critical unmet needs that have potential for meaningful systemic impact. Current programs the Office of Youth Justice oversees include but are not limited to:
Every state and territory that receives Title II funding, including New York State, must be in compliance with the four core requirements or mandates of the JJDPA. The New York State Commission of Corrections (SCOC) is under contract to monitor New York State’s compliance with the first three core requirements. To that end, SCOC monitors all New York State jails, lock ups, OCFS operated facilities and juvenile detention facilities to ensure compliance with the deinstitutionalization of status offenders, separation of youth from adults, and jail removal mandates. Compliance is monitored through regular reporting and an inspection cycle that meets the federal requirement for on-site inspections at least once every three years.
These core requirements are:
Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders (DSO)
This mandate requires that any youth charged with a status offense—offenses that if committed by an adult would not be a crime—shall not be locked in a juvenile facility.
Separation of Youth from Adults
This mandate requires that any youth who is alleged to be delinquent shall not be confined to any institution that houses adult inmates.
This mandate requires that no juvenile be detained or confined in any jail or lockup for adults, except for those juveniles who are accused of non-status offenses and who are detained in said jail or lockup for a period of no longer than 6 hours.
Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC)
This mandate requires that all juvenile justice delinquency prevention efforts must address the issue of reducing the disproportionate number of juvenile members of minority groups who come into contact with the juvenile justice system.
Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities Overview
New York State (NYS) is required to address racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system as a condition of its receipt of federal Juvenile Justice Title II Formula funding. The federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) specifically requires that states address racial and ethnic disparities on an ongoing basis by utilizing a data and outcome driven process to identify and improve outcomes for youth of color in the youth justice system every three years. New York State’s Three-Year Plan addendum can be found here.
NYS employs a Race Equity Coordinator and has a cross-agency, cross-discipline and cross-government Racial and Ethnic Disparities (R.E.D.) Advisory Committee that meets on a quarterly basis to align equity training and program efforts across the state. Partners on the committee include the Division of Criminal Justice Services, Office of Children and Family Services, the Office of Court Administration, the State Education Department and the New York State Youth Justice Institute.
The NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services, Office of Youth Justice has expertise and the ability to assist localities through training and technical assistance on the following subject areas and others:
- Mind Science of Bias
- Implicit Bias
- Racial Anxiety
- Stereotype Threat
- Development of Equity Strategies
- Examining Policies and Practices through an equity lens
- Utilizing and understanding disaggregated data
To obtain additional information please contact the NYS Race Equity Coordinator.
Chief of Criminal Justice Program Planning and Development
NYS Race Equity Coordinator
Regional Youth Justice Teams
Regional Youth Justice Teams are regional teams of juvenile justice stakeholders including representatives from local government agencies, service providers, the judiciary, community organizations and youth and families who have been justice involved. The teams were created to further implement New York State’s strategic plan for juvenile justice. Each team meets on a quarterly basis to share best practices, identify areas for practice improvement and provide input to state policymakers. If you are interested in becoming part of a regional team, contact the team liaison in your region.
Information for Grantees
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) administers all the grants approved by the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group. All grants are subject to New York State finance law and are monitored in an ongoing manner by DCJS staff. Grantees can access forms that they may need in meeting their grant requirements at http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/ofpa/forms.htm.
A Program Representative from the Office of Program Development and Funding at DCJS will be assigned to develop and monitor each grant. Grantees should expect ongoing contact with their assigned Program Representative in the form of phone calls, review of quarterly performance reports, desk audits and site visits.
Quarterly performance reporting from grantees is critical to maintain ongoing communication between the grantee and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group and to the development of outcome data that can be helpful in sustaining programs after the grant period concludes. Grantees are expected to provide quarterly reports within 45 days of the close of each quarter. The specific requirements of each grantee’s reports are established within the workplan in their contract. That workplan can be found in the Grants Management System at https://grants.criminaljustice.ny.gov/.