Mayor Eric Adams signed five pieces of legislation last week that include one to create a juvenile justice board and two that will support and accountability for criminal justice programs and Crisis Management System (CMS) providers that receive city funding.

“Our crisis management system and our violence interrupters are doing the sacred work on the ground,” said Adams at a March 14 press conference. “Day in and day out, they are working with our communities and they are continuing to contribute to making them safe. We want to ensure that they are performing at their full capacity. We want to see how we can duplicate their efforts throughout the city and help improve their work, and these two bills help us do that.” 

Councilmember Nantasha Williams sponsored Intro. 439, which requires the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) to evaluate criminal justice organizations that are city-funded. Councilmember Kamillah Hanks sponsored Intro. 756, which will provide training and support to CMS groups. Councilmember Althea Stevens sponsored Intro. 436, a bill that will create a 20-member juvenile justice advisory board. 

On Staten Island, there’s only one major CMS team operating, called True 2 Life. Hanks said that they do “incredible” work in the district every day, and investing in their capacity will ensure they have the tools they need to reduce gun violence and promote conflict resolution. 

“The work of Malcolm Penn and Iron Mike is transforming the lives of young people every day. I just want to take this moment out to acknowledge them and my team and everyone that’s behind me—my colleagues who are just having incredible bills today,” said Hanks at the presser.

This was Hanks’s first bill to pass in 2023.Years back, before running for city council, she founded her own not-for-profit. She said she can understand and appreciate the challenges in running a community organization. 

“The New York City criminal justice system has implemented numerous programs to enhance public safety, including alternatives to incarceration, reentry or diversion programs, pretrial supervised release services, and crisis management groups,” said Williams in a statement. “While these programs offer a more comprehensive approach to justice, there is no transparency due to the lack of publicly available data. To make our city safer, we need to understand which programs are working and which ones are not.” 

Stevens spoke about the importance of giving young people a voice and choice. For justice-involved youth, she said, this is of the utmost importance since they are already engaged with a system that takes away their autonomy. 

“Although I am so proud to be passing this bill, this is just the first step, and I look forward to working with this advisory board to develop new preventative and diversion strategies,” Stevens said. “We must get to a place where we are investing in our young people on the front end, so we don’t need to invest in them on the back end.”

Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about politics for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting:

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