Law Day Event


“Why is that a 16/17 year old is treated as an adult in the New York State criminal justice system when they do not have the right to vote, enlist in the military or to purchase alcohol?" – Twelfth-grade senior at the School for Law, Government and Justice.
On Tuesday April 30th, Bronx Community Solutions celebrated Law Day with a youth forum. This year’s focus was on rectifying injustice and eliminating all forms of discrimination, with an emphasis on issues pertaining to youth. We worked with seniors at the High School for Law Government and Justice to create conversations points on the issues of youth in criminal justice system as well as raising the age in the criminal justice system with a panel of criminal justice partners. Our panelists included the Honorable Judge Efrain Alvarado, Narcotics Bureau Chief Assistant District Attorney Julie De León, Deputy Director of Bronx Defenders Seann Riley, Detective Ford, Police Officer of the 41st Precinct and Court Officer Perez of the Bronx Criminal Court.
When I interact with young people, I try to gain their trust but at the end of the day I have a job to do”  One of the panelists
The youth had many questions for our panelists. They were particularly interested in “stop and frisk” policies, criminal justice procedures for defendants with mental health issues as well as questions about the panelists' personal points of view on the death penalty. The panelists were happy to share their views about youths involved with the criminal justice system. Sometimes the views of the panelists and those of the youths were aligned; at other times they were able to voice disagreement within the context of the panel discussion.
The Law Day event was moderated by Rebecca Stahl, BCS’ new Adolescent Diversion Project Social Worker and Monica Garcia, Case Manager. They worked together to assist the youth with formulating questions which they felt gave representation to the issues that most affect them. 
The event was a great success, we are proud of how engaged everyone seemed to be with having a lively and respectful discussion. Both the young attendees and the panelists left the event remarking on how they had a new perspective on youth and the criminal justice system.

- T.K. Singleton, Coordinator of Community Initiatives

Comments

Catherine Oliva said…
I am inspired by your blogs and agree tremendously with this particular blog. I also don't understand why it is ok to charge a minor as an adult. It's great that everyone agreed and disagreed in a respectful manner and gave a chance to hear out and understand different views and opinions. Making changes in court makes a difference and will help us citizens.