Report Finds Juvenile Program Failed to Reduce Robberies; Police still Expanding it
Jan 10, 2016 08:06 PM EST
The New York City crime program set to prevent more juvenile theft did not actually prevent crime, but instead may have caused more damage to the youth under the program. Despite this, The New York Police Department is still pushing to expand the project to include youth offenders in Brooklyn and East Harlem.
The failed program referred to is called the Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program or J-RIP. This program is modeled on the so-called Focused Deterrence Strategy. This is defined as a strategy whereby police utilizes a number of innovative ways to directly interacts with criminal offenders and communicate to them clear incentives for compliance and consequences of criminal activity. The program implements increased police supervision for offenders and possible offenders and is supposed to show juvenile offenders the consequences of their action. And it was supposed to offer mentoring and a few other support services by the police to serve as incentive or deterrents towards criminal behavior.
Unfortunately, this may have actually damaged the chances of those who were placed under the program, as no "real" support services, such as job placement and counselling, were available to the youths in the program, and the officers supervising their charges don't have any social services training whatsoever, and serve as surveillance for those in the program. Alex S. Vitale of Gotham Gazette notes in his article that the increased surveillance without actual support would do more damage towards those in the program. Most offenders placed in the program are living in dangerous conditions, and this arrangement was taken advantage off by some officers to conduct searches in their charges' neighborhoods, putting those in the program in danger from their peers and neighbors.
However, as New York Times reported, the department is still pushing for expansion of the program to other areas of the city. Chief Joanne Jaffe argues that the program has helped many placed under it and attributes the program to a decline of robberies in Brownsville. "We're still intervening in these kids' lives and saving some of their lives," said Chief Jaffe in an interview. "Not all of them. But we've developed relationships with them and their families."
In a joint interview with Commissioner Tumin back in November, Chief Jaffe showed a five minute video with testimonials from those participating in the program, speaking of the good it brought to their lives. Jaffe said, "We're doing a lot of work providing services to these kids, getting them back in school."
Chief Jaffe said that the report did not result in any alteration of the program, and argues that that the program's effects should be placed in a longer-term study, about 20 years.