Thursday, September 8, 2011

The New York Miracle


Today's New York Law Journal has a great op-ed by two people I admire: New York City deputy mayor Linda Gibbs and NYC probation commissioner Vinny Schiraldi. Gibbs and Schiraldi write about a new mayoral initiative to change the trajectories of young black men. Along the way, they discuss what I think is still an under-reported story: New York City's remarkable track record in reducing both crime and incarceration. The article itself is behind a pay wall, but I'll spare you the effort of trying to get past it by quoting my favorite lines here (emphasis is mine):

New York's unique, dual success in reducing both crime and incarceration has been attributed to a number of factors, including innovative police practices, a concerted effort to eliminate poverty and one of the nation's most robust networks of alternative to incarceration programs. We've taught the country that locking up African-American and Latino youth and throwing away the key is short-sighted, ineffective and expensive. While incarceration will always be an unfortunate necessity...it is increasingly our criminal justice system's backstop, not its backbone.