SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS Tables
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REFORMING JUVENILE JUSTICE IN AMERICA
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
MARCH 20, 1997
Serial No. 109
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
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Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana
SONNY BONO, California
ED BRYANT, Tennessee
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
EDWARD A. PEASE, Indiana
CHRISTOPHER B. CANNON, Utah
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVEN R. ROTH, New Jersey
THOMAS E. MOONEY, Chief of Staff-General Counsel
JULIAN EPSTEIN, Minority Staff Director
Subcommittee on Crime
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida, Chairman
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey
PAUL J. MCNULTY, Chief Counsel
GLENN R. SCHMITT, Counsel
DANIEL J. BRYANT, Counsel
NICOLE R. NASON, Counsel
DAVID YASSKY, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
March 20, 1997
Gekas, George W., a Representative in Congress from the State of Pennsylvania
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Green, Richard, Director, Crown Heights Youth Collective, Inc.
Grossmann, Hon. David, Hamilton County Juvenile Court, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Past President, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Jackson, Peter, Director, Alliance of Concerned Men of Washington, DC.
Joy, Eric L., Director, Allegheny County Juvenile Court
O'Connor, Barbara E., Federal Public Defender, Los Angeles, California and Special Counsel, U.S. Sentencing Commission
Redd, Sergeant Roger, Director, Cumberland County Physical Training Program
Walchak, David G., Chief of Police, Concord, New Hampshire and Past President, International Association of Chiefs of Police
West, Patricia L., Secretary of Public Safety, Commonwealth of Virginia
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Green, Richard, Director, Crown Heights Youth Collective, Inc.: Prepared statement
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Grossmann, Hon. David, Hamilton County Juvenile Court, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Past President, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges: Prepared statement
Jackson, Peter, Director, Alliance of Concerned Men of Washington, DC.: Prepared statement
Joy, Eric L., Director, Allegheny County Juvenile Court: Prepared statement
McCollum, Hon. Bill, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida: Prepared statement
O'Connor, Barbara E., Federal Public Defender, Los Angeles, California and Special Counsel, U.S. Sentencing Commission: Prepared statement
Redd, Sergeant Roger, Director, Cumberland County Physical Training Program : Prepared statement
Schumer, Hon. Charles E., a Representative in Congress From the State of New York: Newspaper article dated March 19, 1997
Walchak, David G., Chief of Police, Concord, New Hampshire and Past President, International Association of Chiefs of Police: Prepared statement
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC West, Patricia L., Secretary of Public Safety, Commonwealth of Virginia: Prepared statement
REFORMING JUVENILE JUSTICE IN AMERICA
THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 1997
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Crime,
Committee on the Judiciary,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:45 a.m., in room 2237, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bill McCollum (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Bill McCollum, Steven Schiff, Steve Chabot, George W. Gekas, Asa Hutchinson, Charles E. Schumer, and Sheila Jackson Lee.
Also present: Representatives Robert C. Scott, John Conyers, Jr., and Maxine Waters.
Staff present: Paul McNulty, chief counsel; Dan Bryant, assistant counsel; Aerin Bryant, research assistant; Kara Norris, staff assistant; and David Yassky, minotiry counsel.
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN GEKAS
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Mr. GEKAS. The time of 9:30 having arrived and passed, the Subcommittee on Crime of the full Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives will come to order.
We welcome you to this hearing which, of course, has a subject matter that is near and dear to the hearts of every American, namely, the future of our youth. Everyone knows that with 50 million youngsters in school, that that is a potential gold mine for the future of our country. But embedded in that very same body of youngsters is the potential for harm and danger, and the commission of crime and anguish, and the victimization of themselves and others while in the course of their growing up.
And so, we have ranged in the Congress and the State legislatures to cope with the problem from more austere measures than ever before have been taken, a search for alternative methods of treating the problem and the individuals who get caught up in it; to try an education mode that will serve the best interests of the Nation while guiding the youngsters into adulthood free of crime and free of victimization. And, in general, the populace of our Nation is interested and devoted to the principle of helping our youngsters and helping them and us get through their stage of life where crime is running rampant.
So, the hearing today is going to be important, in that the individuals who will be testifying, as we will note later, are well able to bring us up to date and to allow us to glean from their testimony the statistics and facts and trends and theories that will help us deal with this massive issue in the near and more distant future.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With that, I will yield to the ranking member of the committee, the gentleman from New York, Mr. Schumer.
Mr. SCHUMER. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank you and Mr. McCollum as well for holding today's hearings.
I believe we've turned the corner on the crime problem in many significant ways. For a long time, I think the public and many policymakers were stuck in a cynical and defeatist attitude about crime. People had lost faith in the ability of Government to do its most basic job, which is to protect honest citizens from criminals. But with the tremendous progress we've made in the past few years, starting with the 1994 crime bill, we've put that attitude to rest.
The truth is, if we put our mind to it, if all levels of Government can work together, and, in my judgment, if we get away from any kinds of values arguments, and instead look at what works, we can truly make our streets and our homes safer.
Part of the crime problem that is most in need of our efforts is juvenile crime. We went through all the statistics at our last hearings, and I won't go through them again, but I think it's pretty widely accepted that the juvenile justice system in most States are outmoded and simply aren't working. And so, I applaud the chairman for putting this issue at the top of our agenda, and I'm looking forward to working together on legislation that I hope Members from both parties will be able to support.
As we start the process, I'd like to lay out what I think are three areas of common ground among many people on all sides of this issue.
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First, there is a hard core of violent youth offenders who are responsible for a disproportionate amount of serious crime. These individuals must be dealt with severely. In too many cases the traditional juvenile justice system does not provide the level of sanction that is appropriate for these individuals.
Second, and equally important, we can agree that the vast majority of kids, and I emphasize this is true in all neighborhoods, are law-abiding. And by no means is every kid who has had a brush with the law at one point or another lost forever to the world of crime. Many of these kids can be drawn back into the mainstream by a helping hand, a mentor, who can show them how to lead the honest and decent lives that I am convinced virtually all children very much want to lead.
So my plea to the chairman and other members of the committee is, let us not limit our focus to the punishment side of the equation. If we really and truly want to reduce crime, now and for years to come, we must do everything possible to keep kids in school and on track and away from gangs and crime. This is not to say I don't agree with many of the measures that will be pushed on the punishment side, and not to say they're not important. Punishment is necessary, but it is hardly sufficient, and to just have punishment and nothing on the other side would be an incomplete solution that many citizens would hold up and say, ''Well, maybe Congress is looking at the politics, not at really solving the problem.''
Finally, the third point I'd hope we could agree on is that the firearms problem among gangs and other juvenile offenders is simply out of control. I know that gun control is about the furthest thing from common ground, but every year more kids are committing crimes with guns, and every year the percentage of kids arrested with guns climbs upward. So, I think we all have to acknowledge that the problem is there. I know we'll not be able to all agree on the solutions. But again, I'd ask my colleagues, please, don't close your mind to reasonable measures that will prevent gun violence. We can greatly limit the flow of guns to kids without impinging on the legitimate rights of hunters, sports people, and others who want to carry a sidearm for self-defense, to do just that. So, yes, by all means, punish gun offenders harshly, but let's do all we can to prevent the victim from being shot in the first place.
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Procedurally, since this is likely to be our final hearing on this topic before we get a markup, to mark up a bill, I want to simply state that I believe that H.R. 810, the bill proposed by the President and the administration, which I have introduced, is an excellent starting point.
Obviously, since Mr. McCollum has introduced his own bill, we're going to be working from that. But I would ask two things of the process. First, that before we begin formally marking up anything, I hope we might be able to incorporate some of the proposals in H.R. 810 into the draft that we'll be marking up. And second, I think it's essential that the process permit those of us in the minority to at least offer as amendments the proposals we believe in. If they're voted down, so be it. But this is an issue that should be bipartisan; the process must permit input from the minority.
Finally, I'd like to welcome as one of the witnesses later on, Mr. Richard Green, who's the director, executive director of the Crown Heights Collective, and has done a great, great job in working with kids in a very, very volatile area, and bringing, not only peace in that area, but putting many, many kids on a path toward constructive lives.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GEKAS. We thank the gentleman.
We note the presence of members of the committee: the gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Scott, and the gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Chabot. If there's either ofand Mr. Hutchinson. We would defer to any of them who wish to make an opening statement. Mr Chabot.
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Mr. CHABOT. I did want to welcome one of our special guests, one of the witnesses this morning. I'll wait until the appropriate time for that, however.
Mr. GEKAS. We'll yield at the proper time.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you.
Mr. GEKAS. Mr. Scott.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd like to welcome the Secretary of Public Safety from Virginia, Ms. West, and I have no further comment, not being a member of the subcommittee, but I would like to welcome Ms. West.
Mr. GEKAS. Mr. Hutchinson.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. I just want to thank the chairman and the committee for holding this important hearing. This is a critically important issue today. I look forward to the testimony, and I'll waive any further comments until I have an opportunity to ask questions.
Mr. GEKAS. We also take the opportunity to note the presence of a former Member and colleague with whom we have worked on many subjects, the gentleman from New York, Mr. Horton, Frank Horton.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCHUMER. And I might add, Mr. Chairman, that he's led our State's delegation with integrity and clarity and friendliness, and we all in New York miss him. Glad he's here.
Mr. GEKAS. You could use him again?
Mr. SCHUMER. We sure could. We sure could.
Mr. GEKAS. With that, we'll move to the first panel and we'll introduce the members of that panel.
Our first witness would be Ms. Patricia West, who's already been noted as the secretary of public safety in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As the Commonwealth secretary of Public Safety, she oversees 11 State agencies, including the Department of Corrections, the Virginia State Police, and the Department of Juvenile Justice. Prior to being named secretary of public safety, Ms. West served as the director of the Department of Juvenile Justice. She has been actively involved in reforming Virginia's juvenile justice system, and served on Governor Allen's Commission on Juvenile Justice Reform. Currently, Ms. West is the chairman of the Juvenile Subcommittee of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Advisory CommitteeI'd have to read that; I'd never remember that one.
Our next witness is Chief David Walchak, the chief of police in Concord, New Hampshire. Chief Walchak has been in law enforcement for more than 25 years. He's the immediate past president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and was the first administrator of the Criminal Justice Training System for the State of Maine. Chief Walchak is a member of the National Sheriffs Association, Advisory Policy Board for the National Criminal Justice Information section of the FBI, and the Department of Justice National-Oriented Policing Resource Board.
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Our third witness for this panel is Judge David Grossmann of the Hamilton County Juvenile Court in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the immediate past president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, as well as the past president of the Ohio Association of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. In addition to his career on the local bench, Judge Grossmann has been extensively involved in State legislative initiatives, including one which reorganized Ohio's juvenile delinquency laws. He has also been affiliated with several offices of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention programs, including the peer review consultant project. His experience with juvenile delinquency has not been merely professional, given that he has now nine grandchildren. I don't like the way that was stated. [Laughter.]
His experience with juvenile delinquency has not been merely professional, given that he now has nine grandchildren. [Laughter.]
I move that that be deleted from the record. [Laughter.]
Our fourth witness on this panel is Barbara O'Connor who is both a Federal public defender and a supervising trial deputy in Los Angeles, California. Ms. O'Connor also currently serves as Special Counsel to the United States Sentencing Commission, a position to which she was appointed in January of this year. Ms. O'Connor also serves as a judge pro tem with the Los Angeles County Municipal Court and has taught legal research and writing and oral advocacy classes as an adjunct professor at Whittier College of Law in Los Angeles.
And our final witness on this first panel is Eric Joy, the regional supervisor of the Allegheny County Juvenile Court in western Pennsylvania. Mr. Joy also serves as the program manager of that court's community intensive supervision project. Mr. Joy began his career as a juvenile probation officer; went on to become supervisor of the juvenile probation district office, and has now served in the Allegheny County Court system for 30 years. In addition to his work in the juvenile justice system, Mr. Joy has taught as a part-time instructor in the Sociology Department at Dusquesne University.
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I consider this a sterling panel.
We'll now yield to the gentleman from Ohio to expand the introductions.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank the chairman for holding these hearings, these important hearings, and I want to give a special welcome and thanks also to Judge Grossmann from the Hamilton County Juvenile Court for appearing as a witness here this morning. As the chairman stated, Judge Grossmann is a past president of the National Counsel of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. I had the opportunity as a practicing attorney in Cincinnati for many years to handle cases in his courtroom and see Judge Grossmann from the other side of the bench. I've seen the judge in action and I've seen how he runs his courtroom and how he runs the whole juvenile court system there. It's really a model, I think, that other communities, as they become aware of it, will imitate. It's my feeling that if we had more judges like Judge Grossmann, we'd have fewer instances of juvenile crime in this country. And I'm just very pleased that the judge is here today.
I know the judge would like to extend an invitation to this committee to consider a visit or a tour of the facilities that he and his people have put together in Cincinnati. It really is on the cutting edge, and I'm just very pleased that he's here today; I look forward to hearing his testimony; and I can say that the judge is a very caring person who really cares about the kids who come before him in his courtroom, cares about the victims of crime in particular, and cares about the families. He's also a tough, no-nonsense judge. I think that's an excellent combination, and he's had good judges work with him, from Judge Sylvia Hendon to Judge O'Connor, who's now moved on to the common pleas court. We're very glad to have Judy Grossmann and the other witnesses here, and I look forward to your testimony this morning.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GEKAS. We thank the gentleman, and we'll proceed after noting the presence of the gentleman from New Mexico, Mr. Schiff, who will participate in these hearings.
Mr. SCHIFF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GEKAS. We will at the outset, without objection, receive the written statements, if any there be, from the witnesses and allow them to be placed into the record, and ask you, if you don't mind, to summarize as part of your presentation that written statement.
We'll begin with Ms. West and work over to Mr. Joy. Ms. West.
STATEMENT OF PATRICIA L. WEST, SECRETARY OF PUBLIC SAFETY, COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
Ms. WEST. Thank you. I'm very pleased to have the opportunity today to speak on a very important and timely topic, the juvenile justice system.
I'm a product of the front lines of that system and from that vantage point, first as a prosecutor and then as the director of the Department of Juvenile Justice, I've observed firsthand the weaknesses and problems within the system. I have been fortunate enough in Virginia to work in an administration that recognized the problems, and we've had great progress in correcting many of the shortcomings in our system.
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I would like to begin by detailing the problems in juvenile justice systems as a whole, and then briefly tell you what steps Virginia has taken to deal with those problems.
I believe that the fatal flaw in most juvenile justice systems and a reason that the country has seen skyrocketing increases in juvenile crime can be summed up in one word: accountability or, actually, the lack thereof.
The first juvenile justice system was established in the late 1800's, and over the years evolved into a system that made excuses for juveniles' behaviors, minimized their crimes, and basically tried to shield juveniles from the reality of their criminal actions. You need look no further than the terminology used in juvenile justice systems to prove the point. Juveniles were not found guilty; they were found not innocent. They are not convicted of a felony; rather, they are found delinquent of an offense which would be felony if committed by an adult. Juvenile correctional facilities have a variety of names: reform schools, training schools, learning centers, et cetera; and juveniles in those facilities are referred to as ''clients'' or ''students,'' and so on. While terminology may not be important, its symbolism is great.
A system that looks solely to the best interest of a juvenile defendant may have been sufficient in an era when kids were shoplifting bubble gum or going for a joy ride in a neighbor's car, but it is wholly inadequate to deal with today's juvenile carjacker or cocaine dealer or worse.
What I saw as a prosecutor on a daily basis were juveniles who thought the system was a joke. They knew the system as well or better than many attorneys, and they knew that the probability of anything of consequence happening to them was low.
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A first offender was typically diverted from the system altogether; they never even saw a judge. Second or third offense usually resulted in unsupervised probation, and a fourth or fifth offense might result in supervised probation. For the next offense, a juvenile would probably get to continue on their probation, but may have a suspended commitment to the State. Finally, after seven or eight trips to court, they might get committed to the State to spend some time in what, until 2 years ago, we in Virginia called a learning center.
If a juvenile's first offense was a very violent crime, then this pattern may not have held true, but it was the typical pattern for juveniles involved in felonious property offenses, such as breaking and entering, or grand larceny and less violent crimes against persons.
The problem with this pattern of dispositions is that the severity of the criminal activity usually escalates. It is not typical for juveniles to commit armed robbery as a first offense. They start in the system as property offenders, and the system reinforces their negative behavior by failing to impose meaningful sanctions or otherwise hold them accountable, and then their criminal behavior escalates. By the time many reach the point that they are in State residential systems, they are career criminals.
Virginia's Governor, George Allen, recognized the deficiencies in our juvenile justice system and in 1995 appointed a Commission on Juvenile Justice Reform. At the same time, the Legislative Commission on Youth was studying the issue, and both groups made recommendations to the 1996 general assembly in a bipartisan effort. The best of both commissions was combined and resulted in a major overhaul of Virginia's juvenile justice system.
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The reforms reflect the addition of the goals of protecting the rights of victims and protecting public safety and holding juvenile criminals accountable to the goal of acting in the best interest of the juvenile, which had been in the past the sole interest of the system. The reform plan is a balanced and reasonable approach combining tough punishment for the most dangerous, violent criminals, such as murderers and rapists, with new sentencing options and programmatic changes to give less serious juvenile offenders a better chance for reform and rehabilitation.
Key features include automatically trying juveniles age 14 and above who commit the worst violent crimes, such as murder, as adults. There's a second category of serious violent crimes including robbery, carjacking, and malicious wounding which will be tried automatically in circuit court, adult court, if the prosecutor makes the motion to transfer the case from juvenile to adult court. All other felonies would still be tried in juvenile court unless a juvenile court judge approved the transfer to circuit court using existing criteria for that transfer.
When sentencing juveniles, circuit court judges will have the new sentencing option of suspending the adult sentence entirely contingent upon the successful completion of a commitment to a juvenile correctional facility or program. This will give the juvenile a second chance for reform before the adult sentence is imposed, but the adult sentence will be imposed if the juvenile violates the terms of the suspended sentence including misbehavior or refusal to comply with the rules in the juvenile facility.
More State funds were appropriated for the Juvenile Community Crime Control Act which gives localities flexibility to create a system of graduated sanctions that fit their individual needs. Juvenile court judges will have boot camps as an alternative sentencing option.
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There was significant new funding appropriated for additional juvenile court prosecutors, probation officers, and facilities to house serious violent offenders. There was also additional security staff for the juvenile correctional facilities. Predatory violent juveniles will be separated from the less serious juvenile offenders giving the latter a better opportunity for reform.
The reform also took previously closed juvenile court proceedings and records and opened them to victims, victims' families, and the public in cases of felonies involving juveniles 14 and above.
Furthermore, juveniles will be fingerprinted upon arrest, and after a felony conviction, they will be required to submit to DNA testing, the results of which will go into the States' DNA data bank. And I'd just like to point out one thing that came out of those commissions, one statisticI'm not a big statistics person but, this was amazing to me, and so I was able to remember this 2 years laterIn the State's automated fingerprint system, 1 percent of the fingerprints in that system were of juveniles; 20 percent of the hits, the cold hits, matches, that they got from that system came from the 1 percent of the juveniles' fingerprints. So, I really feel very strongly that this is a positive step that by requiring all juveniles to have theirwho are convicted of felonieshave their fingerprints in that system, it will go a long way in solving many additional crimes in the Commonwealth.
I would emphasize that Virginia has strengthened its juvenile justice system by ridding it of the most violent and disruptive juveniles who consumed a disproportionate share of the resources but were the least likely to change their criminal tendencies. The State then appropriated significant additional resources to enhance the system in order to provide services to those juveniles who are minable and who want to turn their lives around.
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I'm proud that Virginia has taken the lead in juvenile justice reform and is well on its way to becoming a model for the rest of the Nation.
While crime is primarily a State and local problem, it requires solutions to fit varying needs and circumstances. The Federal Government does have an important role. Federal block grants, without burdensome or unreasonable mandates, would allow States and localities the flexibility for improving juvenile crime control by ensuring accountability through the use of graduated sanctions. States and localities know best what their individual needs and problems are, and with the Federal Government playing a supporting role, I am optimistic that the juvenile justice system's across the country can effectively curb the rising tide of juvenile crime.
[The prepared statement of Ms. West follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF PATRICIA L. WEST, SECRETARY OF PUBLIC SAFETY, COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
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Mr. GEKAS. Thank you for your testimony. We hope that you'll submit to some questioning following the presentation of all your fellow panel members.
Ms. WEST. Yes, sir.
Mr. GEKAS. Mr. Walchak.
STATEMENT OF DAVID G. WALCHAK, CHIEF OF POLICE, CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE AND PAST PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE
Mr. WALCHAK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, fellow members of the subcommittee. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be with you this morning talking about reforming the juvenile justice system in America, one of society's most pressing problems.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The current president of the IACP, Chief Darrell Sanders of Frankfort, Illinois, asked me to represent the association today. During my tenure last year, the IACP took one particularly important initiative, targeting the issue of juvenile delinquency through an IACP summit on youthful offenders which was held April 25 and 26, 1996 here in the Washington area.
The subsequent report, which I am holding up here, was published in October 1996. It is entitled, ''Youth Violence In America: Recommendations from the IACP Summit.'' The report itself is quite lengthy, but it is available to you and your staffs upon request. For your review, I have attached an executive summary as part of this testimony and ask that it may be made part of the record.
Mr. GEKAS. Without objection, it will be made a part of the record.
Mr. WALCHAK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WALCHAK. As you will see, the recommendations are comprehensive and go well beyond just what would be done with the violent, juvenile criminals. A large part of the report deals with early intervention programs to keep young people away from crime, the juvenile justice system, and eventually, from the criminal justice system.
To their dismay, the summit participants recognize that many youngsters are abused or neglected as infants, have very little supervision and guidance in their formative years, ages 4 to 10, and turn to gangs as the substitute family, providing them with shelter, protection, self-esteem, and even respect. These are the youths that IACP researcher John Firman characterized as having, and I quote, ''no hope, no fear, and no life expectancy.''
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Many of the summit recommendations attempt to disrupt this cycle before the individual youth finds himself or herself in trouble with the law. These prevention recommendations involve collaborative efforts among the communities, families, schools, health care providers, juvenile and criminal justice personnel, including law enforcement officers. The participants also recognize that it is predictable that not all of these efforts would be successful and, therefore, additional measures are necessary to deal with those youthful offenders.
The underlying theme is to encourage and foster personal responsibility for actions. Any system dealing with juveniles should employ a swift and sure justice model for all criminal acts. It should include immediate and graduated local and community-based sanctions. The juvenile should have complete confidence that, if he or she misbehaves, there will be repercussions, and that continued misconduct will be answered with escalating level of swift and sure punishment.
Any such juvenile justice or criminal justice system should employ deterrent programs for first-time offenders, including incarceration, restitution to victims, and the use of community courts and peer panels. No infraction, regardless of how minor, should be exempt from repercussion, and whether it be truancy from school, or disrespect for others or for others property.
IACP summit participants were also concerned that under current State juvenile justice systems, information about most youthful offenders cannot be shared with others. They strongly recommended that States create programs to coordinate and share criminal, juvenile, and family court information among the courts, law enforcement, schools, and social service agencies. These professionals share a belief that violent and habitual offenders should be identified and that their juvenile records should not be expunged, as they progress through the criminal justice system.
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Another recommendation made by the summit participants was to design a new system that assigns jurisdiction to either juvenile or adult criminal court, based upon the principle of individualized justice. State's systems should recognize that age alone cannot be the sole criteria for determining court jurisdiction for misconduct. Summit participants felt that the severity of the action and its effect upon the victim should be more determinative of the outcome than the age of the offender.
In closing, I would like to point out that the States, not the Federal Government, have traditionally handled the bulk of cases in both the juvenile and criminal justice system. It is these current State laws that must be amended, and many of the laws are already being addressed by State legislatures across this country.
Individual States invariably elect to handle these reforms in slightly different ways. The Federal Government could be of great assistance to the States in their reform efforts by formulating a model or sample juvenile justice law that States might follow.
I would encourage the subcommittee to allow the various States flexibility in the way each deals with their problems. Strict grant program mandates, at the Federal level, cause States great problems and are ultimately counterproductive. For example, in the case of the Jacob Wetterling Sexual Offender Registry Act, States like New Hampshire and Michigan already have comparable registry programs in effect which readily accomplish the federally-mandated objectives, but do so in a less cumbersome manner.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee for this opportunity to be here. I am pleased to answer any questions at the appropriate time.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Walchak follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DAVID G. WALCHAK, CHIEF OF POLICE, CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE AND PAST PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE
Good Morning Chairman McCollum, Representative Schumer and fellow members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for inviting me here this morning to testify about reforming the juvenile justice system in America. I am David G. Walchak, Chief of Police in Concord, New Hampshire, and Immediate Past President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, known as the IACP.
The current President of the IACP, Chief Darrell Sanders of Frankfort, Illinois, asked me to represent the Association today. During my tenure last year, the IACP undertook one particularly important initiative targeting the issue of juvenile delinquency through an IACP Summit on Youthful Offenders, which was held April 25th and 26th, 1996, here in the Washington area. The subsequent report was published in October 1996, entitled YOUTH VIOLENCE IN AMERICA: Recommendations from the IACP Summit. The report itself is quite lengthy, but it is available to you and your staffs upon request. For your review, I have attached a copy of the Executive Summary as part of my testimony, and ask that it be made part of the record.
As you will see, the recommendations are comprehensive and go well beyond just what should be done with violent juvenile criminals. A large part of the report deals with early intervention programs to keep young people away from crime, the juvenile justice system, and eventually, from the criminal justice system.
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To their dismay, the summit participants recognize that many youngsters are abused or neglected as infants, have very little supervision and guidance in their formative years (4 to 10) and turn to gangs as the substitute familyproviding them with shelter, protection, self- esteem and even respect. These are the youths that IACP researcher John Firman characterized as having ''no hope, no fear and no life expectancy.''
Many of the summit recommendations attempt to disrupt this cycle before the individual youth finds himself or herself in trouble with the law. These prevention recommendations involve collaborative efforts among communities, families, schools, health care providers, juvenile and criminal justice personnel, and law enforcement officers.
The participants also recognize that it is predictable that not all these efforts would be successful and, therefore, additional measures are necessary to deal with those youthful offenders. The underlying theme is to encourage and foster personal responsibility for actions. Any system dealing with juveniles should employ a ''swift and sure'' justice model for all criminal acts, including immediate and graduated local and community-based sanctions. The juvenile should have complete confidence that if he or she misbehaves there will be repercussions, and that continued misconduct will be answered with escalating levels of ''swift and sure'' punishment.
Any such juvenile justice or criminal justice system should employ deterrent programs for first-time offenders, including incarceration, restitution to victims, and the use of community courts and peer panels. No infraction, regardless of how minor, should be exempt from repercussion, whether it be truancy from school, or disrespect for others and their property.
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IACP summit participants were also concerned that, under current state juvenile justice systems, information about most youthful offenders cannot be shared with others. They strongly recommended that states create programs to coordinate and share criminal, juvenile and family court information among the courts, law enforcement and schools, only. These professionals share a belief that violent and habitual offenders should be identified and that their juvenile records should not be expunged, as they progress through the criminal justice system.
Another recommendation made by summit participants was to design a new system that assigns jurisdiction to either juvenile or adult criminal court, based on the principles of individualized justice. States systems should recognize that age alone cannot be the sole criteria for determining court jurisdiction for misconduct. Summit participants felt that the severity of the action and its effect upon the victim should be more determinative of the outcome than the age of the offender.
In closing, I would like to point out that the states, not the federal government, have traditionally handled the bulk of cases in both juvenile and criminal justice systems.
It is these current state laws that must be amended, and many of laws are already being addressed by state legislatures across the country. Individual states invariably elect to handle these reforms in slightly different ways. The federal government could be of great assistance to the states in their reform efforts by formulating a model or sample juvenile justice law that states might copy. I would encourage the Subcommittee to allow the various states flexibility in the way each deals with the problem. Strict grant program mandates, at the federal level, cause states great problems and are ultimately counterproductive. For example, in the case of the Jacob Wetterling Sexual Offender Registry Act, states like New Hampshire and Michigan already have comparable registry programs in effect, which readily accomplish the federally- mandated objectives but do so in a less cumbersome manner.
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Thank you for your consideration. I would be happy to answer any questions.
Youth Violence In America
Recommendations from The IACP Summit
I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Demographers and sociologists predict an ''echo-boom'' of youngsters over the next decade that will dramatically expand the pool from which violent youthful offenders will emerge. The number of 1517 year-olds, now the most crime prone segment of the population, is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years. Absent immediate, bold, and successful interventions, America can expect commensurate growth in juvenile crime, much of it violent, and much of it, perhaps, more deadly than at present. Considering also, the changing nature of youth crime, increasing rates of offenses, increasing rates of violent crime, and more frequent use of deadly force, no other conclusion seems as reasonable. From a public policy standpoint no other conclusion can be risked. To stabilize and eventually reverse the trends in youth violence, a comprehensive program of actions must be carried out by a partnership of American families, governmental institutions, and public and private sector organizations.
STRENGTHEN THE FAMILY
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Promote the family as the true ''home'' for positive direction, support, formation of values, and advice to children
Increase services for troubled families and children
Create a network of child advocacy centers where victims of child abuse and neglect can go for support and services
Provide enhanced support for parents who lack basic parenting and family management skills
Increase intervention in domestic violence situations by all relevant agencies
Encourage and support programs and education classes to prevent teen pregnancy
MOBILIZE THE COMMUNITY
Involve youth more actively in examination of youth violence issues and development of solutions
Establish local delinquency councils to foster community action in prevention
Build community action teams that include churches, schools, community based organizations, and law enforcement, among others, to fight violence in a coordinated manner
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Expand community policing universally to promote/increase interaction between community based youth programs and the police
Create adult mentor programs in neighborhood centers, schools, and juvenile detention and correctional centers
REPOSITION LAW ENFORCEMENT
Augment or reprioritize police resources to increase the number of youth service, school resource, DARE, and GREAT programs
Increase federal support to police agencies for youth violence reduction programs and technology
Increase the number of trained and equipped community policing officers
Expand the role of school resource officers to enhance the level and range of non-traditional in-school services
Promote aggressive investigation of all violent crimes and arrest and detention of violent youthful offenders
Recognize and reward non-traditional police performance to balance officer perceptions of the importance of youth violence prevention and enforcement activities
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Expand and update training for school resource and youth officers, to reflect contemporary issues, current needs and to teach anger/violence reduction techniques
Retrain police officers to approach potentially violent confrontations with youth more effectively
Create resource manuals that reference community/government youth programs to support community policing officers
Augment police technology, including PCs, laptops, crime analysis software, and gun tracing centers, to enable police to anticipate and interdict youth violence
Conduct research to continue to identify and evaluate police programs for youth that are effective
RECAPTURE THE SCHOOLS
Create a zero tolerance atmosphere for juvenile crime of all types on school campuses, with swift punishment and effective alternative interventions and sanctions in place
Establish standards to promote a safe, disciplined learning environmentuniforms, dress codes, and zero tolerance for drugs, alcohol, and weapons, for example
Keep troubled and trouble-making students out of classrooms and in alternative programs
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Increase investment in alternative education programs for high risk children with emotional/behavioral problems
Utilize school facilities as centers for community activity after school, during evening hours and throughout summer months
Keep as many schools open as possible after hours and as safe havens for students, with expanded extracurricular activities
Feature law enforcement officers in schools in leadership roles, using a police-teacher team approach
Integrate violence reduction strategies and training into appropriate courses
Redesign teacher education curricula to respond to youth conflict and violence
Promote equitable distribution of financial/programmatic commitment and resources to public schools in all communities
Intensify programs to reduce truancy
TREAT YOUTH VIOLENCE AS AN EPIDEMIC
Conduct a national awareness campaign to recognize youth violence as a public health crisis/disease
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Conduct mandatory public health programs in schools that treat youth violence as an epidemic
Ensure that emergency room personnel provide services beyond immediate medical care to youths evidencing injuries from weapons or other violent confrontations
STRENGTHEN THE DELIVERY OF JUSTICE
Employ a ''swift and sure'' justice model for all criminal acts, that includes immediate and graduated local and community based sanctions
Design a new system to assign juvenile v. criminal court jurisdiction, based on principles of individualized justice
Expand the use of juvenile assessment centers that employ teams of professionals to assess a child's needs and make recommendations both prior to and after adjudication
Employ deterrent programs for first time offenders, that include incarceration, restitution to victims, and use of community courts and peer panels
Administer consistent, continuous approach (progressive intervention and sanctions), to violent youth with incarceration for the most violent offenders
Administer an omnibus juvenile justice correctional program system that ensures both secure removal from society and educational/rehabilitation opportunity
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Enact laws that give juvenile courts limited jurisdiction over parents, and hold them liable for criminal acts of children, when appropriate
Train local agencies to employ better criteria and methods to identify habitual offenders and to make more effective use of the SHOCAP model
Take strong countermeasures to deglamorize gang lifestyle, using RICO statutes and safe street task forces to indict gang members and reduce gang activity
Expand victim/offender interaction in the juvenile justice system to promote healing of victims and fuller accountability for offenders
STRENGTHEN MULTIAGENCY PARTNERSHIPS
Create programs to coordinate and share criminal, juvenile, and family court information.
Expand alliances among social service, education, mental health, public health, child welfare, juvenile justice and law enforcement agencies
Increase collaboration and cooperation among federal agencies, including the Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development
INTENSIFY PUBLIC EDUCATION
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Encourage local and national media to balance coverage of youth issues by highlighting positive youth behavior and accomplishments and successful programs
Demand that the electronic media including network/cable TV, the movie industry, and the music industry, be more accountable for the deglamorizing of violence and promoting non-violent alternatives
Use total cost data to dramatize the true economic consequences of youth violence, with emphasis on lost lives
Refute, through education of citizens, the perceived expectations of ''safety'' from owning and carrying guns for self protection
REPLICATE PROGRAMS THAT WORK
Disseminate information about successful programs to local officials to enable them to replicate these programs
Provide more technical assistance to local agencies on successful youth violence programs through the Office of Justice Programs, particularly the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Increase funding for proven programs, like those of the Boys and Girls Clubs, Police Athletic Leagues, and for innovative new programs that hold promise
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Encourage implementation of locally driven youth violence prevention strategies that include goal setting, reinforcement of positive lifestyles, and extensive mentoring opportunities
Guarantee the commitment of federal, state and local resources to replicate and expand solid grass roots violence reduction efforts
Retool and revamp ineffective responses to better fit community/youth needs
Create more summer jobs for youth through public/private partnerships
IMPROVE INFORMATION SHARING
Establish systems to share information among police, justice, education, social services and community based youth service agencies
Eliminate barriers that inhibit information sharing among police, justice, education, social services and community based youth service agencies
Introduce legislation, where necessary, to mandate the sharing of information on juvenile offenders among police, justice, education, social services, and community based youth service agencies
Mr. GEKAS. We thank the gentleman.
The sergeant in arms has just directed me to return the gavel to the true chairman of the committee, and so very reluctantly, I return same to the gentleman from Florida, Mr. McCollum, the chairman of the subcommittee.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM [presiding]. Thank you very much, George. I want to thank you for taking the gavel this morning; I happened to have been unavoidably detained, and I apologize to the committee for that purpose, but I thank Mr. Gekas, in particular, for doing so.
Mr. Grossmann, I believe you're the next witness in this panel, and if you would please give us your testimony, we would appreciate it.
STATEMENT OF HON. DAVID GROSSMANN, HAMILTON COUNTY JUVENILE COURT, CINCINNATI, OHIO, AND PAST PRESIDENT, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF JUVENILE AND FAMILY COURT JUDGES
Mr. GROSSMANN. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee and counsel, it's a pleasure to be here. I would like also to reintroduce Congressmanformer CongressmanFrank Horton who is with me today, seated behind me, and Mr. Thomas Madden. Both of these gentlemen have assisted us at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, representing us very ably for many years, and I'm pleased to have them with us.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, we're pleased to have them here too, and of course, I've served personally with Frank Horton, and we're very delighted, Frank, that you're here today.
Mr. GROSSMANN. Mr. Chairman, I arrive here from Cincinnati, Ohio, which I am pleased to tell you has somewhat dried out, is no longer under siege, but a city that I have been a part of all my life. I have been involved with the juvenile justice system in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, which is a community of between 850,000 and 900,000 people, for almost 39 years; 16 of those years as a magistrate when I left the armed services judge advocate general's staff, became a lawyer in the city, and then, 22 years now, as the juvenile judge, most of those years as the presiding administrative judge.
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I'm very proud of our community and our court and would like to give you at least a few comments about its profile and its operation to perhaps give you some hope that it is possible to operate an effective and an efficient juvenile justice system.
We have almost 600 employees; we have a annual budget of better than $32 million and an exceptionally fine plant, including a state-of-the-art detention facility recently completed; a state-of-the-art correctional school, housing better than 140 young people on an 88-acre tract in the county, and obviously, all of the other accoutrements including probation staffs, medical psychiatric staffs, work details, clerks offices.
The court operates in Ohio and in Cincinnati as a full service system, and I personally believe that is the most effective system. The system operates under the direct control and direction of the judges. We have 21 magistrates in our court, and together we hold a great many hearings. I believe in my testimony, which I now understand has been made a part of the record of the committee, that we have 145,989 hearings held in juvenile court in 1996. Now, that represents 584 hearings each day. Among those hearings, though, I would caution the panel, are such routine matters as traffic hearings and such other simple things that move along very swiftly. But with 23 fully operating courtrooms, we get a great deal of business done.
We pride ourselves on effective and efficient handling of cases; we have an excellent MIS system. It is highly computerized and very, very efficient in keeping the court apprised of its own state of controls and also on giving us the ability to evaluate how well our system is functioning. Without that we would be totally lost, and I would submit to you that those courts across the country that lack it are, in effect, flying blind.
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We make the statistical information in the profiles of our court operations available to those people and those agencies and services that need them throughout the county, including the police who have access daily, hourly, momentarily, to any information they need, when they make a stop on the streets so that they know what they are facing in the form of the juvenile that they have apprehended.
We are very careful also to move our cases in a timely way. We believe that accountability relies upon swift movement. If we do not get an effective response in a reasonably short length of time, the juvenile loses track of what it is all about, and we do that by the handling of our MIS systems and our case management systems, which I've more fully described in my written testimony.
I am here to tell you that there are many things that we have done in Cincinnati that I believe are key to the success of our operation. We have struggled hard, and I think accomplished the desired end of making the community feel and believe that they are safe within the city and within the county.
The first duty of a juvenile court is to assure its community that it is capable of handling those cases that come before it with the protection of the community in mind as a paramount effort. Once you've accomplished that, it is possible then to secure your community's support in order to obtain the necessary resources to do the other things that the court must do in order to avoid the advance of young people into the system.
As the committee is well aware, there are some very serious problems in our country involving young people. Perhaps chief among them is the number of young people born out of wedlock; 30 percent of the children in this United States are born out of wedlock. That is a tragedy of the first order, and it is a contributing factor that brings on the advance of child abuse, child neglect; also brings on the early avoidance of school.
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We send our magistrates into our primary schools in the innercity to intervene in those cases where absences become a chronic factor, and when you have absence on the part of grade-school children, I can assure you, gentleman, you have a serious problem in the making. And we do our best to intervene at that level and to secure the necessary resources and assistance to those children and families to try and turn that aside.
We also make a great deal of effort through immediate uses of work details which are applied in a very timely way that teaches the lesson of accountability to our young people. We hold our parents accountable; Ohio is one of the States across the country that does have parental accountability statutes; we can hold parents accountable both monetarily and from the standpoint of control of their children when behavior becomeswhen delinquency behavior occurs.
We do not hesitate to waive to grand juries, waive to the adult system, that high-end group of young people who are obviously assaulting the community in such a way that violence deeply threatens the life and the safety of the community.
I might mention, because guns were mentioned, obviously, the prevalence of guns, the prevalence of drugs have imposed themselves on all courts, and mainly the big city courts. Interestingly enough, over a dozen years agoI think it's even perhaps close to 15we had the first case of a child or a youth bringing a gun into the schools. Very quickly, my partner and I on the bench developed a policy that simply stated: if you take a gun into a Hamilton County or Cincinnati school, you will do time with us; you won't just be suspended from school; bring your toothbrush; you're going to be staying either with us or in one of the training schools. We have held rigorously to that policy ever since, and I am here to tell you that it has been highly effective; the number of gun cases in Cincinnati, or Hamilton County schools is rare. It's only one indicia of what an efficient and effective court can do to turn aside some of the problems that we see imposing themselves upon our country.
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We also take a great deal of pride in the work we have done with the dependent, neglected, and abused children. We have been chosen as a model system by the Attorney General's funding to develop a resource manual for the handling of those cases, and again, I needn't dwell on it, but all of you know that those are the feeder systems for the adult processes.
Now, I would like to think that the adult systems were very effective in handling cases that come before them. Unfortunately, I suspect the adult systems are even more stressed than the juvenile system. I mention that because it is my long-term belief that the hope of the country, from the standpoint of control of juvenile crime and the advancement of the protection of families and the rehabilitation of young people, lays within the juvenile justice system. But that system cannot function properly if it is not properly equipped, given the necessary resources and also the confidence of the community that the system can function effectively. Once that is done, you will see a system that does serve its purpose as it has always been conceived to have served. I believe that is happening in our county; it has been happening for some years, and I think it will continue to be the case as long as the community continues to perceive us as they presently do.
Let me simply close by saying, that in order for this type of system to be effective and replicated across the country, training is necessary, and that is part of the Federal role, I believetraining and technical assistance, because today the demands of our present systems are so extensive and technologically-challenged that it is very, very important that we bring the effectiveness and efficiency of, not only the marketplace and ordinary business practices and auditing practices into the court, but also the judgment of what systems and what services and processes are effective. We can't do that without significant assistance in both training and technical assistance. That's the key to the movement that we would see that would advance the process across the country.
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I repeat what Congressman Chabot mentioned; we would welcome any of you or your staffs to our county, to our court; we have a regular process of demonstration and illustration of some of the things we do. I think you would find it a very interesting visit. We have probably some of the finest facilities that exist in the country and are using the technology and the services of the community as well.
Let me also say, in closing, that the court has made special efforts to link up, not only with the agencies in the county, but also with many private-sector people, including the religious community, to offer their services to the court in an unofficial way. With great effect, we have found that appeal to that group has been a resource without which we would not function nearly as well. But, again, a trust relationship exists, a confidence relationship exists, that has been nurtured over many years, and we are quite pleased that the results have been effective.
We do not have a huge crime spree in Hamilton County; most of the youth there are functioning reasonably well. That isn't to say that we don't have problems; we do. But we think at least we're equipped to address them.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity.
[The prepared statement of Judge Grossmann follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. DAVID GROSSMANN, HAMILTON COUNTY JUVENILE COURT, CINCINNATI, OHIO, AND PAST PRESIDENT, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF JUVENILE AND FAMILY COURT JUDGES
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HAMILTON COUNTY JUVENILE COURT
The Juvenile Court remains a viable concept as the 21st century nears. A vital role of the modern Juvenile Court is to provide leadership and to marshall local resources toward the safety of the community, and for the protection, and rehabilitation of the children under its jurisdiction.
The Juvenile Court must be ready to quickly intervene in a young person's life, where necessary, and to hold the entire system accountable for efforts regarding children. In order to accomplish this task, the Court must stand at the forefront of emerging issues and develop effective responses. It is necessary to have the authority and resources to oversee cases and demand performance. The Court should directly control overall case flow activity and also direct essential dispositional services. Up to date computer technology must be used to manage information, speed up process and provide data for analysis and measurement of program success.
In Hamilton County, Ohio, the Juvenile Court employs these principles under its defined vision to provide quality judicial services for the safety of the community, the positive development of children, and the preservation of the family unit.
Hamilton County has a population of 850,000 persons. The capital city is Cincinnati. The area is mostly suburban surrounding a sizeable urban core. The types of cases appearing before the Juvenile Court include: Delinquency cases where a youth is charged with a crime; Dependency cases where a child has been abused or neglected; Paternity/Child Support cases to determine parentage and collect support; Traffic cases where the driver is a juvenile; Custody cases where the parties disagree concerning with whom the child should live or visit; Adult cases where there is contribution to a child's delinquency or failure to send a child to school; and Various other cases concerning children. In 1996 there were 145,989 hearings held in Juvenile Court584 hearings each day. Hamilton County has a separate Domestic Relations Court and a Probate Court.
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Hamilton County Juvenile Court directly controls all phases of the filing, scheduling and hearing process and also administers essential disposition services. Thus, the Clerk's Office, the Docketing Department and the Magistrates are all under the immediate authority of the two Juvenile Court Judges. Further, the Judges have direct responsibility for the Detention Center, a large Residential Training School, and the Probation Department. Also, the Court controls its own youth work detail, restitution collection, diversionary local hearing system, family counseling center, and medical/psychological diagnostic facilities. In addition, the Court provides a multitude of programs and services designed for particular circumstances, often in partnership with the schools and various community agencies. The Court has a graduated and progressive disposition scheme where the response is determined in accordance with age, prior record, the nature of the offense and individual characteristics. These dispositions may allow the youngster to remain at home under restrictions or may require institutional placement. The Court may also bind over older youngsters with serious felony offenses to be tried as if an adult.
A prompt or speedy response, balanced with due process, is considered essential in all areas of the Hamilton County Juvenile Court. Swift response to misbehavior gives the proper message to a young offender. The immediate intervention in neglect or abuse situations protects the child's wellbeing. Therefore, the Court's Clerk's Office is open 24 hours, every day. Cases are scheduled immediately upon the filing of the complaint or petition. When a youth is arrested for delinquency, an arraignment is held the next morning. Trial occurs within 10 days. No hearing may be continued for more than 14 days. Where minor offenders are cited to Court the initial hearing is held within 2 weeks of the incident. Work Details are served beginning the next day after Court hearing. Probation Officers meet with the youth and family immediately after a hearing where probation is ordered. All databases are updated daily and kept current.
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The Court has procedures for social workers encountering child abuse or neglect at night to contact a Judge or Magistrate for recorded dialogue which could result in the immediate issuance of an emergency order. All Dependency/Neglect/Abuse filings are set for hearing the morning after filing. A public defender, guardian ad litem and case manager are present and available for immediate assignment. Trials must be held within 30 days of the complaint with a disposition to be completed within 90 days. Temporary commitments, while parents are seeking reunification, may only last one year after which the children's circumstances must be permanently settled.
These examples of prompt response are representative of practice in all areas of the Court, as there should be no unnecessary delay in a juvenile court.
For a Court to have a meaningful role in the resolution of a case, the Court must have the ability to hold itself and others accountable. Like all Courts, Hamilton County Juvenile Court has a system of Directors and Supervisors with management responsibility to assure that its directives are carried out. Yearly employee evaluations and pay raises conditioned on performance are utilized. All programs and services are evaluated at least yearly on factors which include efficiency and effectiveness. Often local universities are engaged to conduct independent analysis of programs.
Leadership and accountability begins with the Judges. Both Judge David Grossmann and Judge Sylvia Hendon had many years experience in the Juvenile Court system before they were elected to the Bench. Both are extremely knowledgeable and able in Juvenile Law and both are committed to the betterment of juvenile justice. These factors produce the credibility and respect required to lead. The Judges maintain consistency by communicating their combined philosophy and policy to guide the 21 Magistrates who preside over daily hearings. The Judges review all Magistrates' decisions and hear the most severe and notorious cases, themselves. The Court is open to media scrutiny, providing Court statistics and candid information. The media is permitted to observe court cases, respecting issues of confidentiality and sensibility.
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The Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judges have clear statutory authority to oversee and manage all cases. This allows the Court to be the primary author of any case plan or disposition. Subsequent review hearings provide a courtroom forum to examine progress, question caseworker action and insist on reasonable efforts toward the planned goal. Parents and children are held accountable, too. It is essential that Court personnel follow through and verify compliance of orders entered by the Court. Those disregarding the Court's instructions are charged with Violation of Court Order and brought back before the Court for further consideration.
In Hamilton County, the Juvenile Court Judges are the acknowledged leaders regarding all children's issues. Both Judges are active in national and state judicial organizations. The Judges and Court personnel frequently deliver public speeches and listen to citizen suggestions. The Court was instrumental in the formation of several collaboratives where various county agencies pooled resources for common efficiency. The Judges and Administrators sit on most all commissions and boards regarding children in the county including the Family and Children First Council, C.O.R.E. Board, Mental Health Board, Youth Sentencing Commission, Community Corrections Commission, Youth Inc., Juvenile Citizens' Advisory Council, Red Cross, etc. The Court has led efforts to assist in the formation of State and National policies and laws. The Court has spearheaded efforts to improve services, such as the current projects for truancy prevention and adoption expansion.
In order to operate an effective Juvenile Court it is necessary to be funded with a sufficient budget. A supportive County fiscal authority is ideal, and can be fostered through respect, leadership and demonstrated efficient management. The Court must take advantage of the multitude of subsidies and grants, without sacrificing the focus of its mission. The fiscal operations of the Court must be professionally managed under solid business and audit principles. The Hamilton County Juvenile Court's operating budget is approximately 32 million dollars. Of this total, approximately 18 million dollars flow from the County General Fund with the remaining 14 million dollars secured through various subsidies, grants and revenues.
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Hamilton County Juvenile Court has been effective in the performance of its responsibilities. Its success is attributable to the community leadership role it has developed through the presiding Judges. The Court has been able to act quickly without decreasing the quality of service. The Court has accountability measures built into the processes it employs. The Court has an ever changing and improving Information Service component using latest technology to increase efficiency, provide information, foster communication and analyze daily business as well as long term trends.
All Juvenile Courts are challenged by the high incidence of juvenile crime, the increasing reports of child abuse and neglect, and the effects of illegitimacy and drug usage. Heightened public and media attention to these problems has produced fervent public debate regarding causes and solutions. A properly supported Juvenile Court should play a crucial leadership role in the resolution of juvenile issues, thereby providing for the protection of the community and control of troubled children.
HAMILTON COUNTY JUVENILE COURT
To achieve excellence in the performance of the responsibilities of the Juvenile Court providing quality services for the positive development of children, the safety of the community and the preservation of the family unit.
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1. We believe that all children have inherent value.
2. We respect all people and appreciate their diversity.
3. We perform our statutory responsibilities with the highest ethical and professional standards.
4. Staff is our most important resource. We value personal growth, creativity, and leadership which requires an ongoing program of staff training and development.
5. We are each accountable for our own area of responsibility and jointly accountable for the effective operation of all Court systems
6. We routinely evaluate the effectiveness of our service delivery systems and seek significant improvement.
7. We promote partnerships to enhance our services to the community and provide leadership for children's issues at the local, state, and national level.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Grossmann.
Before we go on to Ms. O'Connor, we have a vote on; it's a 15-minute vote and they're about out of it, I guess. We'll all return from recess as soon as that vote's completed.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. The Subcommittee on Crime will come to order.
Sorry we had that recess we did not really want to have. With the motion to adjourn, I understand now, it will probably be another hour before you have a rule vote, so we want to be sure to proceed with our witnesses and move on with this hearing this morning.
Ms. O'Connor, I believe, when we broke, it was going to be your opportunity to give us your thoughts, and we certainly appreciate that.
And, by the way, I will reiterate what I think Mr. Gekas did at the beginning: all of your statements are admitted to the record, without objection, and you may summarize, please. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF BARBARA E. O'CONNOR, FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA AND SPECIAL COUNSEL, U.S. SENTENCING COMMISSION
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Ms. O'CONNOR. Thank you, Chairman McCollum and everyone, for inviting me here and, in particular, Mr. Bryant for helping me out, and Mr. Yassky, in terms of preparation.
It's been a wonderful panel so far for me to listen to and, in particular Judge Grossmann; I think you know, if any of us had our child in trouble, we would want that child to be before Judge Grossmann for a variety of reasons. And I think he exemplifies the approach that I'm really encouraged to find out that you all are taking, which is community involvement.
I suppose my mission here today is unusual, because I am the only member of the Federal family, as we sometimes say, to be here on the panel. Your public defender's office, we sometimes think we're the black sheep of the Federal family, but we're thrilled to be asked to participate and really grateful for that.
We in Los Angeles don't deal with too many juvenile offenders in the Federal system, and part of my mission here today is to encourage you to keep that the way that it is. Other districts around the country have a different experience with the Juvenile Justice Act and the Federal system, because they handle the Native American population, and, as you know, many of those juveniles are brought into the Federal system and are dealt with as juvenile offenders.
In Los Angeles, when we get a juvenile, it's a big deal, and it is not, typically, a small inconsequential case. Nevertheless, the language of the previous act was such that we don't always get the individual that you might think that we do, and this is my concern about the upcoming changes.
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It's always difficult to talk about specific cases, and any prosecutor could come in here and tell you a case of an egregious misdeed by a judge, not Judge Grossmann, but perhaps some others who mishandled a juvenile, who failed to transfer them to adult status. And any defense lawyer could come in here and give you an equally egregious situation regarding a juvenile who should not have been transferred to adult status.
What I'd like to encourage you to do is keep Judge Grossmann and his Federal colleagues in the mix. We have an adversarial system, and we all participate in that; we have prosecutors, we have judges, and we have defense lawyers.
I was reading some materials yesterday, and one individual had written in terms of giving a decision on whether to file against a juvenile as an adult or as a juvenile to the prosecutor. Why would it be any less fair to give that decision to the defense lawyer? Why not give that to them? Why would that be less fair? And what I'm encouraged by is your openness to thinking about the larger picture, the why's. Do we really want this to be the way that our system operates? And is it fair?
I have a lot of notes here, that I rewrote several times last night and the themesomeone asked me, ''What is your theme going to be tomorrow?''and my theme, really, for you is to think about what is fair. Is it fair when a juvenile is charged in Federal court to remove the judge and the defense lawyer from that decision? Is that really fair when the prosecutor is armed with mandatory minimums that can result in sentences in excess of 20, 30, 40 years?
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I have sat with a young African-American male, 17 years old, charged in an instrument that carried a 55-year mandatory minimum. Imagine yourself in that position and the amount of leverage that you have in the case, which is like most Federal cases, very professionally investigated, a very tight case. We consider it a good case for the defense if there's not a confession; we often have confessions to deal with. This particular juvenile was involved in serious bank robberies, not sympathetic crime. However, under the previous statute, the mandatory transfer provision is such that on a second violent offense the judge has no discretion on whether that boy should be treated as an adult.
This boy's first violent crime involved a theft of about $3 in a schoolyard, but he went into a local juvenile court and pled to robbery and under the Federal statute, robbery, whatever the circumstances beneath it, is a crime of violence; and on the second crime of violence, mandatory treatment as an adult, mandatory 55-year sentence, if convicted. This boy was not someone with a serious criminal record. He was not someone beyond redemption, and the judge didn't want to do it, but the judge had no discretion.
So part of my message to you is to urge you to support our judiciary; keep the judges in the decisionmaking here. We have an adversarial system, not a system that is meant to be unilaterally applied by prosecutors who are often professional, often well-meaning, who have good intentions.
When I looked at the legislative history of that previous statute, it took up about a half of a page; it was not particularly well-thought-out, and when I argued the case in the ninth circuit, I said it appeared it to be a knee-jerk statute, and I was met by the comment, ''Well, that is not going to be a reason to throw it out.''
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So, I was absolutely thrilled to hear that you were not engaging in knee-jerk legislation here, and that you are studying the issue with compassion, with thoroughness, and with concern for all the players; for the victims, for the community, and also for the defendants who come before judges like Judge Grossmann.
The other aspect of your concern which I think is wonderful, is that it's solution-oriented; you are looking for solutions, and you are charged with coming up with solutions for the rest of us.
When looking at the members of the subcommittee, thought, well, let's see, I grew up in the Bronx, New York and people often said, ''Well, we didn't need lawyers and politicians in the Bronx, because we had cops and priests,'' and the community dealt with problems; the community knew who the teenagers werethis was in the fifties. There weren't gangs; there was violence, and the community took care of it. We didn't throw our youth away.
I've now had the opportunity to live in Los Angeles, California, and I have three sons; I am raising children in Los Angeles, California. My youngest children's music teacher was murdered by a juvenile offender, a juvenile criminal.
I wanted to mention one thing, though, that does concern me, is language. When you're looking at the legislation and you're considering removing judicial discretion, please look at the language carefully, and understand that you are giving decisionmaking authority to individuals who typically have a limited amount of life experience; that people are brought into the Federal system for reasons that are sometimes beyond their behavior: for political reasons, for budgetary reasons, people can be labeled gang members in order to get some of those Federal dollars that are earmarked for gang prevention.
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The encouraging part of your legislation to me is the true emphasis on prevention, on education, on accountability, when there is still a chance to change, and on support from the various members of the community and the various actors in the criminal justice system. It's my belief the criminal justice system is not where we need to focus; we're the end of the road for these folks very often, and in particular, if you allow these juveniles to come into Federal court and be treated as adults, you're going to see horrendous results on individual bases. We know already that there is a disproportionate impact of Federal mandatory minimums on our minority population.
I had the privilege of arguing the crack powder case before the Supreme Court just almost exactly a year ago. As a result of that, I've met people all around the country, and I've spoken to the African-American Male National Council in Charleston, South Carolina not too long ago, and there was a room filled with community members who are trying to help their youth.
I rode the bus with a couple who in their retirement yearswhere in my family, all of them went to Bradenton, Chairman, so I do feel a connection there as wellthis couple, rather than retire and do nothing, are running an after-school program specifically targeted at learning about science, and they're in south central Los Angeles, and I thought, what a wonderful contribution they're making. The Federal dollars that you're looking at can help people like that, can help them intervene with the second-grader, before the second-grader turns into the knife-wielding juvenile that we're all afraid of and want to put somewhere else.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But those juveniles, if you call them criminals, they become criminals in their own mind. If you remember who they are, and you look in their eyeswhen I look in my 10-year-old's eyes, and the 15-year-old that I raised, and my eldest son who's trying to join the FBI, I see, you know, a child who can still be saved and worked with.
It's easy for public defenders to get on a soap box and talk about egregious instances where our clients have been wronged, and that does happen sometimes; sometimes they deserve punishment; sometimes there are folks that I don't want to meet on the street, either, but bringing these juveniles into the Federal system, which is ill-equipped to deal with them, is not the solution.
I receive a lot of support as a Federal public defender from my office today, from the sentencing commission who allowed me to come over here and talk to you; from my colleagues who offered me help yesterday, preparing. I have a wonderful network that supports me and allows me to show up here and talk to you. Without that, I'm not sure that I could do it, and without that kind of a support network, these children can't do it, either.
And I've seen the other end of it, too. I represent a man on a Federal habeas who has spent the majority of his life in jail, but you could see itand Ms. West discussed thisyou could see at 10 years old, he started to get arrested, and no one did anything meaningful. The boy needed help. He had some assets; he's very intelligent; most of my clients aren't. And so, God willing, when he's released in 2001, he will have had some benefit from his time in prison. Putting 14-, 15-, and 16-year-olds in there is not the solution.
And I'll just share with you one other war story. I represent another juvenile who was also not someone you would want to be the poster childfor lack of a better termfor juveniles, who was charged in a hate crime, a young skin-head, as they say. This boy was so naive that he thought, once he got into the Federal penitentiary, he could have discussions with the other adults in there to tell them about his views and to sort of meet with the members of the African-American community inside the Federal institution. He would be destroyed in there, and we were able to keep him in the California Youth Authority, but that is the mentality of these children who engage in odious behavior, in dangerous acts, but who remain incapable of understanding really what they've done and what the repercussions for the community are.
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On a final note, I would encourage you to think beyond fearwe often react because of fearand, rather, to give our young people a model that they can respect as well, not just be afraid of.
I was encouraged to talk about the budgetary concerns that would be implicated by further federalization of juvenile crime; everyone is scared to death of that. We have no capability of dealing with it in the criminal justice system. The judges don't know enormous amounts of money would have to be spent to train the judges, and I would encourageagain, I think Ms. West mentioned this, or perhaps it was Judge Grossmannencouraging Federal involvement at the training and technical assistance level, is exciting, is positive, is solution-oriented.
The provisions of the legislation that would put the decisionmaking ability solely in the hands of the prosecutor are aimed at doing nothing but destroying our judiciary, and really in a larger sense, our whole system, our whole adversarial system.
And I want to thank you for listening to me here today.
[The prepared statement of Ms. O'Connor follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF BARBARA E. O'CONNOR, FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA AND SPECIAL COUNSEL, U.S. SENTENCING COMMISSION
The first state juvenile justice court was established in Chicago, Illinois in 1899. As we approach the one hundred year anniversary of that date, we are presented with on-going challenges to develop new and effective means of preventing juvenile delinquency as well as addressing the consequences of its incidence. Along the way, both the state and federal systems have tried various approaches to the issue of juvenile delinquency. The juvenile justice courts continue today in each of the states and federal involvement in the prosecution of juvenile offenders appears to be on the rise.
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In 1974, the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act was passed. 42 U.S.C. §5601 et. seq. This Act reflected the prevailing theories of juvenile punishmentthat juveniles were unique, that troubled children were deserving of individualized treatment and services, that such children should not be incarcerated with adults and subject to abuse in the jails and other juvenile facilities. Dependent and neglected children were exempted from prison and only delinquents and status offenders remained subject to incarceration. Since that time, the Act has been amended in a number of ways. Currently, new legislation is under consideration which would completely re-vamp the Act and eliminate many of its protective provisions. In addition this legislation, like its predecessor, represents a wholesale revision of the philosophical approach to juvenile justice without the benefit of evidence indicating that federal involvement is necessary, useful or cost-effective. As Chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on Criminal Law, the Hon. Maryanne Trump Barry addressed the concerns of the federal judiciary fully in a letter to Senator Fred Thompson in July of last year. (Appended to this statement) The concerns remain the same in the current pending proposals.
The current federal mandate appears to result from a perceived increase in violent juvenile crime. However, only 6% of juvenile arrests in 1992 were for violent crime,(see footnote 1) and the percentage was exactly the same in 1994.(see footnote 2) The level of juvenile crime, including violent crime, has declined over the past 20 years with one exceptionthe rate for juvenile homicides committed with handguns.(see footnote 3) The level of this crime has tripled between 1984 and 1994. Some would say that, along with the increase in number, is an increase in the callous nature of the crimes. It is important to remember, however, that only 1/10 of 1% of juvenile offenses are homicide offenses.(see footnote 4) Additionally, it appears the rate of violent juvenile offenses decreased in 1995, and that the rate of juvenile homicides decreased significantly, by more than 14%.(see footnote 5)
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In spite of the reality, there appears to be a push for increased federal involvement in the prosecution of juvenile offenders. New legislation would remove judicial discretion, already seriously eroded in the federal system, regarding whether a juvenile should be prosecuted as an adult or as a juvenile. The decision would be in the hands of a prosecutor, armed with a battery of mandatory minimum penalties. Younger children would be subject to harsh federal mandatory minimum penalties. Yet, studies have shown that the imposition of harsh penalties does not serve the purposes of deterrence or rehabilitation for juveniles. Additionally, the proposed legislation permits the housing of children with adults in federal prisons. Such an approach is counter-productive.
Rather, the states should be encouraged to continue to do what they have always donestudy and revise their juvenile systems to develop effective community-based strategies. The states are hardly ''coddling'' our young. In addition, the federal system is ill-equipped to contend with the myriad of problems associated with prosecuting and punishing juveniles. No infrastructure currently exists which would make the federal forum the appropriate entity for resolution of the problem. Studies show that treating children as adults and housing juvenile offenders with adults is in fact contrary to every penal goal thought reasonable.(see footnote 6) Thus, an increase in the prosecution of juveniles in federal court, along with the proposed solution of integrating these youthful offenders with the adult criminal population seems to serve no purpose. One need not think long before imagining the impact on the incarcerated juvenile of housing with adult offenders. The cost of transferring the responsibility for juvenile offenders to the federal system would be enormous. The impact on the prosecutors, the defenders, the pretrial services officers, probation officers, prison guards and other institutional personnel is almost unimaginable. There is simply no reason to do so.
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A final concern regarding the revision of juvenile justice policy to implicate the federal system relates to the over-representation of minority youth at all stages of the juvenile justice system. This should be of particular note given the nation-wide concern regarding disproportionate impact of the crack cocaine laws and other race-related issues.(see footnote 7)
Like us, the public wants solutions to juvenile offender problems which work. We believe the public would appreciate proactive, not reactive, legislation directed toward impacting the most violent juvenile offenders, those few individuals who may truly be beyond redemption. While a survey of 1,000 randomly selected adults across the United States showed that 82% believed serious juvenile crime had increased in their state, 71% of the respondents believed all but the most serious juvenile offenders should be handled in community-based programs, contrasted with 29% who favored residential correctional institutions, or training schools. Respondents distinguished between drug sellers and drug users, and between first offenders and repeat offenders. Sixty-two percent believed juveniles selling large amounts of drugs should be tried in adult courts and 68% of those wanted youths who commit serious violent crimes tried in adult court. But 68% did not want drug sellers imprisoned with adults and even 55% did not feel juveniles convicted of serious violent crime should be housed with adults.(see footnote 8) The federal system offers no redress for any of these concerns. Rather, it is ill-equipped to deal with the problem in any meaningful way.
One approach currently referred to as ''restorative justice, the balanced approach, and balanced and restorative justice (BJR)'' may offer a proposal which attempts to address punishment concerns while not ''throwing the baby out with the bathwater.'' See ''Restoring the Balance: Juvenile and Community Justice,'' Gordon Bazemore and Susan E. Day in Juvenile Justice, OJJDP Vol. III, No. 1. However, the Committee is obliged to review the findings of Jeffrey Fagan in the New York study and Donna Bishop and Charles Frazier at the University of Florida for a complete analysis of the efficacy of program revisions at the state level before adopting any such approach. Some legislators, originally supportive of the imposition of harsh penalties for juveniles are, in light of the failure of those sanctions to reduce juvenile crime in any way, re-thinking their positions. Before the Committee acts in a way difficult to un-do, we urge you to think ahead, study more and support the community efforts underway. The problem should not be transferred to the federal forumthe solutions lie elsewhere.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, you're quite welcome. Thank you for coming here today, Ms. O'Connor.
Mr. Joy, you are recognized, and you may summarize.
STATEMENT OF ERIC L. JOY, DIRECTOR, ALLEGHENY COUNTY JUVENILE COURT
Mr. JOY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My invitation to appear here today came at sort of the last minute, so I hope I correctly understood my mission as conveyed to me by Mr. Bryant, and that is, my understanding was to share my comments and views on the matter of juvenile offender accountability and the role of progressive sanctioning as it pertained to the juvenile justice system.
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I'd first like to define the terms ''accountability'' and ''sanctioning'' as I understand them to apply to the administration of juvenile justice. Accountability refers to the responsibility incurred by a juvenile offender to make restoration for the injury, damage, or loss that his or her delinquent acts have caused to individual victims in the community at large. Restoration can take various forms, but the two most common are monetary restitution and community service.
Sanctioning is, as I see it, is really a euphemism for punishment. Historically, the juvenile justice system has taken great pains to deny that they're in the business of punishment. This harks back almost 100 years ago when the early founder of the first juvenile courts made it clear that the express purpose of these new children's courts was not punishment, but it was treatment care, protection; the role of the court being that similar to a stern, benevolent parent.
And today, I think many of us in the juvenile justice system still have trouble with the ''P'' word; when pressed we'll admit that, well, yes, sanctioning really means punishment, but it's more than that; it's punishment with a purpose. So progressive sanctioning, then, refers to punishment on a graduated scale from least to most severe. The appropriate punishment or degree of severity is determined by considering both the nature and severity of the presenting offense as well as the offender's prior offense and punishment history.
The purpose of punishment, as I see it, is three-fold. First, is to reaffirm social values; in other words, there are certain behaviors that we as a society will not tolerate. Secondly, is to protect the community and the public from individuals whose behavior poses a danger or a threat to persons and property. And, finally, is to deter the offender from any further repetition of such behavior, thus, hopefully, having a rehabilitative affect.
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I think there's general agreement on the advocacy of the first two points, but there's been a lot of heated debate over the third; in other words, whether or not punishment in and of itself is an effective inhibitor of further criminal behavior.
I would say at this point, based on my 30 years as a practitioner in the juvenile justice field, that I am convinced that holding juvenile offenders accountable for the harm they cause others and utilizing progressive sanctioning methods are both indispensable features of an effective juvenile justice system.
I think that opinion would be shared with my colleagues across the country. I think, however, that they would probably, when asked, give an odd expression and say, well, sure we agree with those, and why not, we've been doing this all along. But I would disagree with them there, because, in general, I think that while we've long espoused these particular concepts, that to a great degree we've just been paying lip-service to them.
And there's several reasons why I believe that juvenile probation departments have not been able to fully or effectively operationalize these two concepts. First, and the reason I began my comments with some definition of terms, is that I think there's a great deal of variation among probation departments and how they how interpret the meaning of offender accountability and progressive sanctioning as it relates to the way that they deliver probation services.
For example, offender accountability in some jurisdictions may mean nothing more than ensuring that the alleged juvenile offenders are required to go before a judge at a formal hearing and answer to the charges. Or, if found guilty of such a proceeding, that they are placed on probationary status and must follow certain rules of conduct imposed by the court. The idea that accountability must involve victim restoration may not come into the equation at allor given low priority at best.
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Similarly, most probation departments adhere to the concept of progressive sanctioning, but how is it actually practiced? How many jurisdictions actually have any type of written guidelines for sentencing at the hearing stage or for sanctioning probation violator during the post-sentencing phase? When I talk about guidelinestalking about guidelines that would be designed to ensure fairness, consistency, and proportionality in outcome decisionmaking.
And I'd like to add at this point, and I didn't include this in my written statement because it's sort of an afterthought, but I think these are two areas where you have legitimate potential for Federal mandates to States, one being a requirement that States meet certain standards around victim issues, victim restoration. The other would be a requirement that States develop sentencing guidelines for juvenile offenders, preferably done at the local jurisdictional level, because I think these types of guidelines have to reflect the local legal culture; they have to reflect the sentiments of law enforcement, judiciary, and the general public in a particular locale, because those sentiments differ from area to area. If they don't reflect those, my experience is that they become ignored.
And I think when we're talking aboutwhen I'm talking about sentencing guidelinesthe reason I stress that is because progressivesay progressive sanctions, that's basically a concept; sentencing guidelines are the way that you operationalize that concept.
Second problem I see is one of a paradigm's shift; in other words, changing traditional beliefs about the juvenile justice concept and the roles of juvenile probation officers; for example, those juvenile probation officers and juvenile court judges who sort of remain steeped in the traditional philosophy that the juvenile justice system is grounded on the concept of individualized justice. In other words, each case is different; outcome should be based on subjective assessment of each individual child's needs. The idea to them, the idea of using any kind of classification or categorizing instruments upon which to base sentencing or sanctioning decisions may be viewed as compromising this basic tenant. And I know a lot of them also see that as an affront to their personal, professional judgment.
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Similarly, juvenile probation officers, who have traditionally viewed their primary role along the lines of counselor or social worker, often have a hard time with the restorative justice, accountability concept, because it changes what they do on the job. While they'll agree that requiring juvenile offenders to make restitution to their victims is a great idea, many of them feel that this sort of casts them in the role of a bill collector, glorified bill collector. While they feel that community service is an excellent way for juveniles to repay their debt to the community, they're often not so pleased at the prospect of having to supervise these community service projects during evenings and on weekends, when this type of activity has to occur.
And, third, at times I think it may be the case where a particular probation department understands these concepts and desires there to implement them, but they simply lack the resources necessary to do so. Holding youth accountable to their victims and the community is a very labor-intensive and sometimes costly endeavor. For example, if it means paying your probation officers overtime to work evenings and weekends, creating opportunities for youth to earn money to pay restitution to their victims by finding or creating jobs for them is a very difficult and time-consuming task. Utilizing a system of progressive sanctions can be difficult if the means to carry them out are not available.
A probation officer, for example, may want to sanction a probationer who has repeatedly violated his curfew; he may want to place in a confined setting for a night or two. Such a short-term detention facility may not be available, or if it is, the State's juvenile code may prohibit its use for that purpose.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Another example is if you have a juvenile court judge who may have, say, a second-time minor property offender who really should be in a type of day treatment program, because probation has proven to have been a failure; yet, this is not a youngster who poses a serious threat to the danger and safety of the community, but if that day treatment program is not available, then you have a gap in this progressive sanctioning process.
In Pennsylvania, in my State, there have been recently some very promising attempts to address the accountability and the sanctioning issues; I'm sure similar things are occurring in other jurisdictions I'm just not aware of. At the State and legislative level there have been a number of changes in the Pennsylvania Juvenile Act over the past couple of a years, spearheaded by Governor Ridge, that are designed, specifically, to make juvenile offenders more accountable and punishable.
But I think probably some of the most exciting efforts being made to address the accountability and the public safety are sanctioning issues that are occurring at some of the local jurisdictional levels within the States where juvenile probation departments are taking it upon themselves to develop and design programs that respond to these issues and are cost-effective as well.
I'd like to conclude my comments by briefly describing one such program that we started in Allegheny County in our juvenile court about 6 years ago. We call it our Community Intensive Supervision Project, and it's currently one of the experimental program sites under OJJDP's Balanced Approach and Restorative Justice Project.
It's a juvenile court-operated afternoon and evening treatment program that operates from 4 p.m. until midnight 7 days a week. It operates out of four separate treatment centers which we've located in four of the city of Pittsburgh's highest crime rate, innercity crime rate areas.
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Each center's staff is comprised of a probation supervisor, a probation officer, a drug and alcohol counselor, and 10 para-professionals who are titled ''community monitors.'' The community monitors are recruited and hired from the communities in which the centers are located. They are, thus, well acquainted with the neighborhoods, the residences, the schools, and the problems these youth are faced with while growing up there.
Each center has the capacity to serve up to 30 youth at a time. These are all convicted male juvenile offenders who are ordered into the program by our juvenile court judge. These kids all reside in these communities where the centers are located. Most are repeat offenders who otherwise would be considered for some type of residential institutional care.
Now, they're required to come to the centers each day on their own; they have to get there at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. They participate in the program until about 9:30 at night. Then we transport them home, and from about 10 o'clock until midnight, our staff goes around and makes spot-checks at their homes, direct face-to-fact contact, talk to the kid and the parents to make sure they're there. They're all on an electronic monitoring system, so that we can monitor their whereabouts during the night and during the daytime. During the morning hours our staff go to schools or their place of employment to ensure that they're where they're supposed to be.
This program is really designed to give balanced attention to public safety, offender accountability, and offender competency developmentthose three elementsand the public safety's fear. Again, we have 24-hour direct and indirect supervision 7 days a week. We have random drug testing on a weekly basis for each one of these kids in the centers. We have progressive sanctions, informal sanctions, that we use for program violations. And we remand them to court if there's any additional criminal arrest.
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As far as accountability goes, we require them to make restitution to victims, monetary restitution, and in this attempt we try to get them in a position, give them the opportunity where they can earn money to repay victims. We require them to undergo victim sensitivity education, and we're now getting into victim-offender mediation. We also require each of these youth to perform 200 hours of community service.
As far as competency development goes, we provide remedial math and English, drug and alcohol education, a curriculum on violence prevention, a curriculum entitled, ''maleness to manhood,'' which has to do with developing responsibilities that will lead to responsible adulthood. We have GED, which is high school equivalency preparation for a high school equivalency diploma; we provide job-readiness skills, and we engage these kids in a lot of cultural and recreational activities where we take them outside of the centers and take them to all sorts ofkinds of activities.
This program's been very successful in reducing the arrest rates of these serious offenders while they're in the program. Over the last several years, only 5 or 6 percent of the more than 200 kids served each year were rearrested for criminal charges, and I would attribute this to several factors, one being the direct supervision of youth during the high-risk hours of the day. I think the research has shown that most juvenile crime occurs between 4 in the afternoon or after school and about 8 or 9 o'clock at night.
Secondly, I think an important factor in this program is the vested interest that our para-professional staff or community monitors have to look for solutions to the delinquency problem within their own communities. These are people who live there; these are the kids that they know; the problem hits them right at home. So they have a very vested interest, and they're a very motivated and dedicated group of people.
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Finally, I think it's the ability again of these para-professional staff to relate to the kids, gain their trust and confidence and, in essence, serve as role models for them.
Probably, I think the most important thing we've learned from this project, and this has to do with some of the aforementioned problems associated with lack of resources that may plague many jurisdictions. These things, we've found, were solved when our staff were able to draw in the parents of these youth and other members of the community to show them what we were doing and what we hope to accomplish. As a result, we've been able to form a partnership of sorts between the court and these communities which has led to collaboration on a number of efforts to develop job opportunities for the youth and to sponsor community service projects which engage both the youth and community residents working together for the betterment of their neighborhoods.
And that concludes my statement.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Joy follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ERIC L. JOY, DIRECTOR, ALLEGHENY COUNTY JUVENILE COURT
I have been asked to share my comments and views on the matter of juvenile offender accountability and the role of progressive sanctioning as they pertain to the Juvenile Justice System.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I believe it would be beneficial to first define the terms ''accountability'' and ''sanctioning'' as they apply to the administration of juvenile justice.
''Accountability'' refers to the responsibility incurred by a juvenile offender to make restoration for the injury, damage or loss that his/her delinquent act(s) have caused to individual victims and the community at-large. Restoration can take various forms, however the two most common are ''monetary restitution'' and ''community service.''
''Sanctioning'' is really a euphemism for ''punishment.'' Historically, the Juvenile Justice System has taken great pains to deny that it is in the business of ''punishment.'' This harks back almost 100 years ago when the founders of the first Juvenile Courts in this country made it clear that the purpose of these new children's courts was not to punish wayward youth, but rather to provide protection, care and treatmentmuch in the same manner as would a stern but benevolent parent. Today, many of us in the juvenile justice field still have trouble with the ''P'' Word. When pressed, we may admit that well, yes, sanctioning does mean punishment in a sense; but it's more than thatit's punishment with a purpose!
''Progressive sanctioning,'' then, refers to punishment on a graduated scalefrom least to most severe. The appropriate punishment (degree of severity) is determined by considering both the nature and severity of the presenting offense, as well as the offender's prior offense/punishment history. The purpose of punishment is three-fold: (1) To reaffirm social values (i.e., there are certain behaviors that we as a society will not tolerate). (2) To protect the community and the public from individuals whose behavior poses a danger or threat to persons or property. (3) To deter the offender from any further repetition of such behavior. There is general agreement as to the efficacy of the first two points. There has long been much heated debate over the third (i.e., whether or not punishment in and of itself is an effective inhibitor of further criminal behavior).
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Let me say at this point that based on my 30 years as a practitioner in the juvenile justice field that I am convinced that holding juvenile offenders accountable for the harm they cause to others, and utilizing progressive sanctioning methods are both indispensable features of an effective juvenile justice system. I would also submit that were you to ask the opinion of any of my colleagues, anywhere across the country, they would have a similar response. However, they might also give you an odd look as if to say: ''Why of course we agree with this. After all, we've been doing this all along!''
Here, unfortunately, is where I would have to disagree with them. In general, and I say in general because it is impossible to make blanket statements or indictments about the state of juvenile justice in this country given the vast number of individual jurisdictions that operate under different state juvenile codesbut in general I would say that while we have long espoused these worthy concepts we have largely just paid lip-service to them.
I say this primarily based on my own personal experience in Allegheny County, but my conversations over the years with colleagues from other states and the research and literature I have seen leads me to suspect that our jurisdiction is fairly representative of others across the country that serve large, urban populations.
There are several reasons why I believe that, in general, Juvenile Probation Depts. have been unable to fully and effectively operationalize these two critical concepts. First, and the reason I began my comments with an attempt at some definition of terms, is that I believe there is a great deal of variation among Probation Depts. in how they interpret the meaning of ''offender accountability'' and ''progressive sanctioning'' as it relates to the way they deliver probationary services. For example, offender accountability in some jurisdictions may mean nothing more than insuring that the alleged juvenile offenders are required to go before a Judge at a formal hearing and answer to the charges; or, that if found guilty at such a proceeding, they are placed on probationary status and most follow certain rules of conduct imposed by the court. The idea that accountability must involve ''victim restoration'' may not come into the equation at all, or given low priority at best. Similarly, most Probation Depts. adhere to the concept of progressive sanctioning, but how is it actually practiced? How many jurisdictions actually have any type of written guidelines for sentencing at the Hearing stage, or for the sanctioning of probation violators during the post sentencing phaseguidelines designed to insure fairness, consistency and proportionality in dispositional decision-making?
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A second problem I see is one of a paradigm shift (i.e., changing traditional beliefs about the juvenile justice concept and the roles of Juvenile Probation Officers.) For example, to those Juvenile Probation Officers and Juvenile Court Judges who remain steeped in the traditional philosophy that the Juvenile Justice System is grounded on the concept of ''individualized justice,'' (i.e., each case is different and outcomes should be based on a subjective assessment of each individual child's needs), the idea of using any kind of classification or categorizing instruments upon which to base sentencing or sanctioning decisions may be viewed as compromising this basic tenant. Similarly, Juvenile Probation Officers who have traditionally viewed their primary role along the lines of counselor or social worker often have a hard time with the ''restorative justice/accountability'' concept because it changes what they do on the job. While they will agree that requiring juvenile offenders to make restitution to their victims is a good idea, many of them feel that this casts them in the role being nothing more than a glorified bill collector. While they feel that community service is an excellent way for juvenile offenders to repay their debt to the community, they are often not pleased at the prospect of having to supervise these community service projects during evenings and on weekends when most of them have to be done.
Third, at times it may be the case where a particular Probation Dept. understands the concepts and desires to implement them, but they lack the resources necessary to do so. Holding youth accountable to their victims and the community is a labor intensive and sometimes costly endeavor if it means paying probation staff overtime for evening and weekend work. Creating opportunities for youth to earn money to pay restitution to their victims by finding or creating jobs for them is a very time-consuming task. Utilizing a system of progressive sanctions can be difficult if the means to carry them out are not available. A Probation Officer may want to sanction a probationer who has repeatedly violated his curfew by placing him in a confined setting for a couple of nights. Such a short-term detention facility may not be available or, if it is, the state's juvenile code may prohibit its use for that purpose. A Juvenile Court Judge may have a second-time minor property offender who should be in a Day Treatment Program because probation has failed, yet the youth is not so much of a danger or threat to the community that he requires more expensive residential care. But if there is no Day Treatment Program available, then there is a gap in the progressive sanctioning process.
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In my state, Pa., there have been some recent and very promising attempts to address the accountability and sanctioning issues. And I am sure that similar things are occurring in other states as well that I am just not aware of.
At the state, or legislative level, there have been a number of changes in the Pa. Juvenile Act over the past two years, spear-headed by Governor Ridge, that are designed specifically to make juvenile offenders more accountable for their criminal acts. For reasons of time constraint I will not review these at this time, but I would be happy to discuss them at the Panel's request.
Probably some of the most exciting efforts being made to address the accountability and public safety (sanctioning) issues are occurring at some of the local jurisdictional levels within the states where Juvenile Probation Departments are taking it upon themselves to design programs that respond to these issues and are cost-effective as well.
I would like to conclude my comments here today by briefly describing one such program that we started at the Allegheny County Juvenile Court six years ago. We call it our Community Intensive Supervision Project (CISP) and it is currently one of the experimental program sites under OJJDP's Balanced Approach and Restorative Justice Project (BARJ).
It is a juvenile courtoperated afternoon and evening treatment program that operates from 4:00 p.m. to Midnight, seven days per week, out of four separate ''Treatment Centers,'' each located in one of the City of Pittsburgh's highest crime-rate, inner-city communities. Each Center's staff is comprised of a Probation Supervisor, a Probation Officer, and ten para-professionals who are titled Community Monitors. The Community Monitors are recruited from the communities in which the four Centers are located. They are thus well acquainted with the neighborhoods, the residents, the schools and the problems these youth are faced with while growing up there. Each Center has the capacity to serve up to 30 youth at a time. These are all convicted, male juvenile offenders who are ordered into the program by a Juvenile Court Judge. They reside in the communities where the four Centers are located, and most are repeat offenders who would otherwise be considered for placement in a residential, institutional program. They are required to come to the Centers each day, on their own, at 4:00 p.m. where they participate in the program until 9:30 p.m. when they are transported home by the Center staff. All youth in the program are on an electronic monitoring system so that their whereabouts can be monitored throughout the night and throughout the day. During the morning Center staff check on their attendance at school or place of employment.
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The program is designed to give balanced attention to public safety, offender accountability, and offender competency development:
The CISP Program has been most successful in reducing the arrest rates of youth while they are in the program. For the last several years only 56% of the more than 200 youth served each year were re-arrested on criminal charges. I would attribute this to several factors:
(1) Direct supervision of the youth during the high-risk hours of the day.
(2) The vested interest of the para-professional staff to look for solutions to juvenile crime in their own communities.
(3) The ability of the para-professional staff to relate to the youth and to gain their trust and confidence.
Probably the most important thing we have learned from this project is that some of the aforementioned problems associated with the lack of resources that plague many jurisdictions were solved when our staff were able to draw in the parents of these youth and other members of these communities to explain and demonstrate to them what we were trying to do. As a result we have been able to form a partnership of sorts between the court and these communities which has led to collaboration on a number of efforts to develop job opportunities for the youth and to sponsor community service projects which engage both the youth and community residents, working together for the betterment of their neighborhoods.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Joy, and thank you to all of you for doing this today.
We have a lot of visitors in the Capitol; we have a lot of people coming and going and it may be distracting to you; I can assure you that those of us up here listened intently to your testimony.
We have a sort of a 5-minute rule we operate under; I'm going to yield myself 5 minutes. As I do so, since I was a little delinquent getting in here this morning, I'm going to state that, unless there's objection, my opening statement, which I'm not going to deliver, will be admitted into the record. And it so is ordered. And then I'd like to make a couple of comments and then direct a couple of questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. McCollum follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. BILL MCCOLLUM, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Good morning and welcome to this hearing of the Subcommittee on Crime. This hearing will come to order.
At the unveiling of the Administration's juvenile crime initiative last month in Boston, President Clinton made the following observation:
[and I quote] There are now about 52 million young Americans in our schools, the largest school-age population ever, even bigger than the biggest baby boom year. And so we know we've got about six years to turn this juvenile crime thing around or our country is going to be living with chaos, and my successors will not be giving speeches about the wonderful opportunities of the global economy, they'll be trying to keep body and soul together [end quote]
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The President has joined a growing chorus of demographers in declaring that there is a coming storm of juvenile crime. And all levels of government must act now before it is too late.
As many of you know, the Subcommittee on Crime held six regional meetings around the country last year to hear how state and local law enforcement officials are preparing for this expected surge in youth crime. Over 40 states participated in these meetings. And while a variety of views were expressed about what should be done, everyone agreed that we are facing a potential juvenile crime explosion.
By now we have all heard the statistics regarding the dramatic rise in juvenile violent crime over the past decade. We also know how violent teenage criminals can be. One fact I find especially disturbing is that 18-year-olds commit more murder in this country than any other age. Think about that. More murders by high school age kids than adults of any other age.
Tragically, the statistics tell us that many of those 18-year-old killers were repeatedly cycled through our country's juvenile justice system at younger and possibly more hopeful stages in their lives.
What could have been done to hold those young people accountable at the initial discovery of their law-breaking predilections? How could the justice system have intervened and made a difference in their lives before they became such a clear danger to the community?
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The sad truth is that in too many states and communities the juvenile justice system has failed miserably. Consider the following: Only 10 percent of violent juvenile offendersthose convicted of murder, rape, robbery, and assaultreceive any sort of secure confinement. Many juvenile offenders receive no punishment at all. Nearly 40 percent of violent juvenile offenders who come into contact with the justice system have their cases dismissed. By the time the courts finally lock up an older teenager on a violent crime charge, the offender often has a long rap sheet with arrests starting in the early teens. 43 percent of juveniles in state institutions had more than five prior arrests, and 20 percent had been arrested more than 10 times. Approximately four-fifths of these offenders had previously been on probation, and three-fifths had been committed to a correctional facility at least once in the past. It's hard to believe, but the average length of institutionalization for a juvenile who has committed a violent crime is only 353 days.
Far from declaring that society takes illegal conduct seriously, the juvenile justice system today tells far too many youthful offenders: You will not be held accountable. In so doing, the system actually invites disdain for the law by those who encounter it.
During my meetings last year with those working in the juvenile justice system, one consensus clearly emerged: There must be a sanction for every crime, starting with the earliest offense.
When families fail to instill virtue and self-restraint in children, government must be prepared to immediately send a message to those children, and their parents, that law-breaking will not be tolerated, and that juvenile offenders will be held accountable. Too many ''minor'' crimes by young offenders, such as truancy and vandalism, are tolerated by law enforcers, sending the message that there is no sanction for illegal behavior. Such wrongdoing left unaddressed is often a precursor to more serious crimes. Let me make a crucial point: Such accountability is not only an imperative from the standpoint of public safety, it is in the best interests of youthful offenders. Throughout human history, civilizations have always recognized that internalizing a code of ethics is a fundamental part of basic human development. And we make this much more difficult when we fail to hold young people accountable for their actions.
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At the same time that we encourage a sanction for every crime, we must support the many grassroots prevention programs that communities have developed around the country. There is no inconsistency between these two views; rather, they are important complements. Community-initiated programs aimed at preventing crime are vital, providing much-needed mentors and opportunities for young people desperately in need of mentors and hope.
The challenges faced by law enforcement will be unparalleled as we enter the new millennium. The American criminal justice system, and particularly the juvenile justice system, is simply not prepared to face tomorrow's wave of violent young people. Only by taking decisive action now, can America prevent this wave of young people from committing unprecedented numbers of violent crime.
I look forward to hearing from our first panel today about specific ways in which juvenile justice can be reformed so as to do a better job of holding both violent and nonviolent offenders accountable. I also look forward to hearing from our second panel about how grassroots, community-based organizations are working with at-risk youth to help them mature into productive, law-abiding citizens. Such organizations have a vital role to play in re-directing nonviolent offenders from a path of crime. Any legislation that seeks to assist States to embrace accountability-based reforms will have to provide States and localities the flexibility to work with such groups to promote meaningful accountability of nonviolent offenders.
I look forward to working with the Members of both Subcommittees and the Administration in crafting a juvenile crime bill which will meet this challenge.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I yield now to my friend from New York, Mr. Schumer.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Ms. O'Connor, I want to assure you and all of those who are interested in the Federal system that we are not at all undertaking an expansion of the Federal role in juvenile justice. It is not the intent of the chairman, nor do I believe the intent of any of the Members of either party, to do that.
It is, however, our concern that we address some of the problems that over the past two or 3 years we've heard, Mr. Scott and I, Mr. Conyers and othersMr. Scott no longer being a member of our subcommittee, but was last Congresshave been around the country and have spent a lot of time listening to many in similar positions as some of you.
And my impression from that, and I think we share that impression, is that there are not enough resources, as you say, Mr. Joy. While there are some very good model juvenile justice systems out there, by and large, Chief Walchak, we don't see police taking juveniles who spray-paint a building or who rip off of a hubcap before juvenile courts if they're first or second or third offenses; they just don't do it. It's perhaps because it's overworked or whatever reason.
And then we've had a lot of juvenile judges tell us that even when they do receive kids for this type of behavior there is rarely punishment for it, not even community service, either because the system just is overrun, or they don't have enough probation officers or whatever else it is.
And so it is really our intent by this legislative initiativeI think that the President proposed and that we're proposingto attempt to work through a process where we can stimulate the States. Our goal is to encourage, provide some incentives, and provide some money, although by no means enough, and to alter this situation to get the system of juvenile justice working all across the country in a way that in a few cases is modelled in the exemplary. Our ideal is a system where, as you've described, Mr. Joy, there are sanctions, albeit not detention-time necessarily, in some progressive or graduated scale for the very first juvenile offenses all the way up to the more serious things that perhaps, Ms. O'Connor, you described in a couple of instances.
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So that's the objective. It's necessity is illustated by the different examples I've heard today. I think, Chief Walchak, you gave an excellent rendition of how the executive summary that you've attached here would address a comprehensive problem that we've got, which is: there's nothing that we're going to do out here today or tomorrow or next week that's suddenly going to have a magic silver bullet that'll solve the juvenile crime problem with the Nation. But it is important that we're here, and the same thing is true, Ms. West, of what you're doing in Virginia. I think these are good ideas, but we do want to try to target our effort to encourage these ideas.
And I'm curious to know if I'm right. Chief Walchak I don't know about whether it's true in your city in New Hampshire, but you certainly come in contact with a lot of other policein general, if a kid is out, throws a brick through a window or rips a hubcap off or spray-paints the side of a building, isn't it now uncommon that that youngster's actually taken before a juvenile judge by the police the first time they catch him doing something like that? Am I wrong in that impression?
Mr. WALCHAK. No, you are not, Mr. Chairman. That is how cases are handled in our part of the country. The problem continues to get worse, as you've outlined; that is what is happening today.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And, Mr. Grossmann, am I not correct, Judge, that many, many juvenile courts in this country see youngsters quite a few times before they really begin to sanction them in any way other than just, I guess we'd call it, a slap on the wrist? It may not be the way you do it in Ohio, but I'm looking at it from the standpoint of the overall system; I realize that it varies a lot.
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I presume you have contact with a lot of your juvenile judges, and I've certainly heard from a lot of them, complaining to me about the lack of resources and their feeling that they don't have the ability to carry out the kind of program that they would like to carry out in regard to actually taking each and every youngster that comes before the system and treating them in a way that perhaps Mr. Joy just described. Could you comment on that?
Mr. GROSSMANN. Yes, Chairman. I had the privilege of chairing for a number of years the Metropolitan Courts Committee of the National Council, made up of 40, 41, 42 presiding judges of the largest cities of the United States. Among those 40, 41 judges, most of them are nowsome of them are gone by the way into other systems, but many of them I still know. They handled better than 70 percent of the juvenile delinquency system.
Together we crafted a number of policy and procedure statements, and I brought them with me this afternoon; I'm going to leave them with your staff.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you.
Mr. GROSSMANN. They really give and point the way for the handling of these systems. One of them, I remember, The Title Juvenile Court and Serious Offenders, 38 Recommendations. Had this been followed at the time it was published, we wouldn't be discussing the problems today in the same light that we are.
Another one, Deprived Children: A Judicial Response, 73 recommendations; these are very carefully crafted policy statements by probably the most knowledgeable people in the country when it comes to this kind of problem. Yes, you're correct; there are numbers of juvenile courts who are underfunded, underresourced, and, therefore, under the problem of not being able to respond.
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And let me make just one comment about this hubcap, brick through the window. Long ago, we established in Hamilton County a group of volunteer magistrates, lawyers who were willing to pro bono give their time within their own little villages, community, to act as unofficial hearing officers, supplied by the community with a place, with an officer to help them, and with staff. They hear the kind of cases you're describing, and they bring down community sanctions that are supported by the people of that community and by the parents.
The alternative is you can either take that court's handling or you can come see me. Invariably, they respondwell, the communities are very careful about how those cases are handled because they trouble the citizens. Someone throws a brick through your window, you're going to be upset. Being able to get right to an unofficial, but sanctioning hearing officer who says, ''I want you to do this much community service. I want you to do this in the way that restoration hapens for the victim.'' It is a very fine way to deal with a problem that would overwhelm a large city court where we don't have the resources to deal individually with those cases.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, perhaps something modeled after that type of thing would be what other communities and cities and States could find a way to follow. It's our purpose, of course, in part, to simply point the way, to say that there needs to be something done. And I don't know how you define a system that would allow the progressive sanctions that Mr. Joy talked about in light of the absence of a court system handling this. That's part of the problem, but, nonetheless, it would be our intent, my intent, right now to try to craft some kind of encouraging legislation that would ask the States and the locals to develop that. I don't have the silver bullet, but at least we have that process.
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Mr. GROSSMANN. Mr. Chairman, knowledgeable people, as they look at our criminal and juvenile systems across the country, I think, are forced to come to the conclusion that we are simply working the back-end. We're trying to build more prisons, trying to develop more responses, but the adult system is truly not working. It's failing. Now that isn't to say that we don't have to enhance its efforts. My contention is that we have failed to properly give the resources and support to the front end.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, you're absolutely right about that.
Mr. GROSSMANN. And that's where I hope the committee is going
Mr. MCCOLLUM. You're right. You're absolutely right. I don't think we can say we can't do both. We have to do both, but we've all focused on the one end, and we haven't gotten this one.
Mr. Conyers, you're recognized for 5 minutes. I believe you have been here the longest and are the only member over there who's officially a member, ex officio, but officially a member of the subcommittee.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would yield to Mr. Scott of Virginia.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's good to be back.
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I'd like to ask a couple of questions. Ms. O'Connor, what are your views on housing children with adults, and under what circumstances might that be appropriate?
Ms. O'CONNOR. Well, Mr. Scott, I'm not convinced that that's ever appropriate. The number of truly violent children in the system is very small. Those individuals who are so advanced in their criminal history that they end up in a Federal penitentiary doing a 20-year sentence at the age of 17 or 18 need special protections. Our system is not designed at all to provide that.
Recently, some of you may have been visited by some corrections people who came here out of concern for the behavior problems that they're experiencing in the Federal institutions. Some of those behavior problems result because the offenders do not perceive the system as fair. To go back to my earlier fairness thing, we saw what happened some say because of the legislation regarding crack cocaine last year and the problems that occurred in the institutions when people who were there felt that our government was not responding fairly. When you have juvenile offenders such as the young man I described earlier who had one prior conviction for a schoolyard robbery, no supervision, no prior criminal history, who ended up with a 15-year mandatory sentence in our Federal institution, that is not fair, I don't think. And I often thought, when handling that case, if I could talk to the legislators who passed that legislation, none of them would agree that this was fair or that this was intended.
The behavior problems are astronomical in the institution, and these people who came here were specifically concerned about that. When the system is perceived as unfair, there is no incentive for those individuals in the institutions to behave.
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Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
Mr. Walchak, in your written testimony you indicate that it is the recommendation of the States-created programs to coordinate and share criminal juvenile and family court information among courts, law enforcement, and schools only. Is it your view thatcan I infer from that that you don't support the public dissemination of the information, just where it's needed for law enforcement andessentially, law enforcement reasons?
Mr. WALCHAK. Yes, that's correct, Mr. Scott, but even a little bit of an expansion on that. We're talking about social service agencies likewise, because we're really concerned about getting all of the information together, so that we can, hopefully, get these kids back on the right track.
Mr. SCOTT. But, you know, I could infer thatthere are some of us that think that the public dissemination has that, creates a situation where some children may want to commit crimes in order to gain the notoriety. So it would be counterproductive.
Mr. WALCHAK. I think, Mr. Scott, that's correct, and we certainly would not want this to become a badge of honor, that the longer the record one has, the more respect he gets within the community of his peers.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And, Mrs. West, I think in your testimony you talked about the graduated sanctions
Ms. WEST. Yes.
Mr. SCOTT [continuing]. Not ignoring the earlier symptoms, where you have a chance of doing something, and waiting until we're arguing about what a three-time loser ought to get, dealing with the first offense early. Can you go into some of the kinds of early graduated sanctions that you are recommending?
Ms. WEST. What we're doing in Virginia, Congressman Scott, as you well know, is trying to give the localities funding, so that they can come up with individualized solutions for their own community. The communities know best what they need to deal with.
The things that we're talking about are community service-type programs, restitution programs etc. Those type programs exist now, but we do not have enough of them. What happens is juveniles come in to court and they don't get ant meaningful, tangible sanction the first, second, third, fourth, fifth time they appear in court. So, for example, they are on their sixth time to court, and they get community service. Well, that's no longer appropriate. The result is that we destroy or make ineffective the programs that we have by putting inappropriate kids in them.
As an example, in Virginia Beach we had a program where offenders had to wash police cars, and they were six or seven time felony offenders, property offenders, who were going into this program. We had to stop the program because they were vandalizing the police cars. They were already career criminals by that point, and we needed to do something a little more strenuous than have them wash police cars, but that same sanction for a first-time offender would probably be a great and appropriate sanction. But because we're letting them go so long into the system before we do anything, it makes many of the programs ineffective.
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But we are trying to correct that in Virginia. We've increased the funding for Fiscal Year 1998 to $26 million that will be given to the localities to establish a continuum of sanctions and services.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Conyers, Mr. Scott.
Mr. Schiff, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. SCHIFF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First, I want to thank you for holding this hearing and thank all of the witnesses. Whether I agreed with each specific statement or not, I think each witness made a very significant contribution. Like yourself, Mr. Chairman, I will make a couple of observations, then have a couple of questions, because many of the things I did agree with.
Chief Walchak, I think you gave the best description of why many young people, not all because crime is always a complex issue and there's never one reason why someone's a criminal, but you gave the best overall description about why young people might have no adult supervision, no guidance, and turn to gangs for what they're missing in their home life; and, also, in the fact that we have to try to intervene, where we can, where it's possible, not through criminal enforcement means, but through social means. I agree with that.
However, Ms. West, I also have been a prosecutor for many years. Ms. O'Connor, I was also a defense attorney for 2 years. So I worked that side of the street, if you will. But my experience with the juvenile code in my State of New Mexico, which we made some improvements in, not enough, but we made some, is what you describedis juveniles laugh at it. They know nothing's going to happen. They know they're going to go before the judge, and the judge will lecture them; they will be turned loose; they'll commit crimes again; they'll go back; the judge will lecture them; they'll be turned loose. And, of course, that happens until they hit the ages of 18 or 19 in those days; then the system gets serious, and then they start going to prison. And I've had more than one criminal defendant who I prosecuted in his early twenties say, ''You know, if someone had been tougher with me when I was 15, I wouldn't be here now going to prison in my early twenties.'' And so I think these things are not inconsistent with each other. I think they all fit together.
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Mr. Grossmann, I'm pleased to hear what you said about the juvenile court in Cincinnati, but I have to ask you this question: are there demonstrable results in terms of the juvenile crime? Is the juvenile crime rate less in Cincinnati than it would be in comparable sized cities?
Mr. GROSSMANN. I believe so. It's quiet. We, obviously, have problems. We, obviously, have serious offenders, but I do notin fact, serious and violent crime has been dropping in our community for some time now.
We keep, though, replacing youth into the system by dint of some of the very serious problems in our society that keep feeding the system, and that's why I was laying heavy stress that we need to pay careful attention to that end; otherwise, we're just going to keep doing it over and over again.
Mr. SCHIFF. I understand.
Ms. O'Connor, you made a couple of observations which I would like to talk about, one of which is you brought up an issue that we've discussed here in the House before on several occasions, which is the disproportionality issue, particularly over cocaine, the fact that the penalty for crack cocaine under Federal law is more significant than powder cocaine. Would you support a bill that would raise the penalty of powder cocaine to equal crack cocaine?
Ms. O'CONNOR. I'm not sure that's a fair question to me, Mr. Schiff, as a Federal public defender, and I would be loathe to
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Mr. SCHIFF. I think if you're going to testify, any question is a fair question. [Laughter.]
Ms. O'CONNOR. I'm not sure you an expect a fair answer, shall we say? I don't think that the penalties for powder cocaine are the issue. I think the issue is the unfairness of the penalties for crack cocaine, and the disproportionate impact is part of that, but stepping back from it is the broader view of: what is a fair sanction? What's an appropriate sanction for the level of crime?
Mr. SCHIFF. I understand what you're saying. You'll forgive me for observing, however, that I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head. It is the extent of the penalty for crack cocaine you object to; it is not disproportionality, because if
Ms. O'CONNOR. Well
Mr. SCHIFF. Wait a minute. If anyone objected to disproportionality, they would support, in my judgment, making all cocaine penalties equal, because that would end the disproportionality argument on the different penalties for cocaine, which I'm sympathetic to.
Ms. O'CONNOR. Well, Mr. Schiff, I'm not sure that that's true, because part of the reason this occurs is enforcement patterns, and that's something that you would see with juveniles, should you bring more of them into the Federal system as well.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCHIFF. But that's not a penalty, and that's something else now. It's just not the penalty. The penalty argument can be solved on disproportionality. I'm merely saying that those who don't wish to raise the penalty on powder cocaine, in my judgment, think the penalty is too high, and the disproportionality argument is kind of awell, not the real agenda, I think.
Ms. O'CONNOR. Well, I respectfully disagree with you, Mr. Schiff. Low-level powder cocaine dealers are not prosecuted in the Federal system. We don't have them. So whatever the penalties that you enact for that crime, you arewe are not prosecuting that crime.
Mr. SCHIFF. But if we raise the penalty for powder cocaine, that might be an influence to U.S. attorneys to prosecute equally.
Another subject is, I have some trouble with your emphasis on the word ''boy.'' When you appear to be talking about a 17-year-old male who's big enough to carry a firearm into a bank to commit an armed robbery, wouldn't you at least say that's a young man?
Ms. O'CONNOR. It is both, in my opinion, and as I say, having raised one who is now trying to join the FBI, I've seen him both be a boy at 17 and be a young man at 17 in different arenas, and I've seen that in my clients, too, as I suggested. Should you sit across the table from them, you would not see anything that you would call a man about them; you would see someone who is engaged in behavior that you could call manly because it's violent. If that's how we want to define manliness, you do see that. Terms are important.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Chairman, may I have your indulgence to ask one more question?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. You may.
Mr. SCHIFF. I appreciate that.
The chairman emphasized that we are not trying to federalize juvenile systems; we are trying to provide the assistance that Judge Grossmann referred to. That's my belief. But we did pass a bill, at the request of the administration, in 1994, as part of the overall crime bill, that made it a Federal offense, with certain exceptions, for any juvenile to be in possession of a handgun. Frankly, I don't think juveniles should be in possession of any firearm, generally speaking. But I'm under the impression that bill is not enforced. It's been on the law for two-and-a-half years now.
Can any of you think of a case where a Federal prosecutor actually prosecuted a juvenile? You represent a variety of jurisdictions from one end of the country to the other. Can any of you think of even one case where a Federal prosecutor enforced the Youth Handgun Safety Act?
[All witnesses shake their head to indicate ''no,'' except Mr. Joy, who nods to indicate ''yes.'']
I can't, either.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I just want to conclude with this, Mr. Chairman: I think we ought to repeal that bill. I think you either pass laws that are intended to be enforced or you don't have them on the books, but to pass a law like that, where we grandstand that we've made it illegal for juveniles to possess firearms with absolutely no intention of enforcing it, I think is one of the additional factors that makes the law a joke to the people who are trying to influence them.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I thank all the members for the additional indulgence.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Schiff.
Ms. Jackson Lee, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I appreciate very much the panelists who are here, and ask them to accept my apologies for being delayed on the floor of the House on matters that I was attending to, but certainly I've had an opportunity to review their testimony, and I'm gratified for their presence. I thank the chairman for this hearing.
I have followed and have been involved in this issue certainly for a period of time, as many of us might want to claim. I even had the privilege of joining our chairman on some of our hearings that we had nationwide over the last year in different cities dealing with the issues of juvenile violence and the participation of juveniles in crime activities or criminal activities.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Interestingly enoughand I don't have the data in front of me, but as we concluded those hearings, it was interesting to determine that in actuality the high degree of juvenile crime across the Nation falls within a certain number of cities. So that the crisis and hysteria that has generated some portions of what we are attempting to do here in Congress falls mainly in certain large city. Ms. O'Connor, you happen to come from one, but let me appreciate the work that you have done. It does not diminish the outcry of citizens who are concerned about juvenile violence, but it certainly raises the question of that we should be possibly focused on other alternatives.
And as I read some of the testimonyand I hope I have some of the oral testimony correctlet me pose some questions. And I believe, Mr. Chairman, if I have not done so, may I submit my opening statement for the record, and would ask unanimous consent of that.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Without objection.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I thank you very much.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Ms. O'Connor, you raise a very valid point, and I have been with constituents who have been the victims of heinous crimes by juveniles, and there is no charitable attitude there. There is no desire to see the ''boy,'' if you will.
At the same time, there is legislation before us that suggests raising the custody period, so that that age is 26. Outcomes? I'm not sure what someone who has possibly not been in circulation for 10, 15 years, or so, no skills, no ability to interact with society, frustrated, and a man at 26would you please give me some sense of your perspective on that, and as well, your perspective on how much support we need to give to the family?
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Let me show you or cite for you an example I find heinous. Single parent working as hard as she possibly canin most instances it is, and I do respect the single male parenton her job in my county, did not know that the youngster was truant, and in comes armed police officers, constables. Her employer sees her being taken away in handcuffs, does not bother to get the details, is not able to talk with her. Lo and behold, it's to come before a juvenile court judge to talk about the truancy of a son. She ultimately is fired, and, therefore, is not able to even provide the mere basics that she needs to provide for other children or to address the concern of this now-delinquent son.
Your response to that? And I would ask also to have the police chief of Concord, New Hampshire maybe cite for me his juvenile statistics. He is a smaller city, but to explain to me what he means by no infraction, no matter how minor, should go unpunished. In terms of the overload of the system, how are we speaking of that? I'd like Ms. O'Connor to answer my question first.
And then, lastly, to Judge Grossmann, let me thank you for what seems to be your balance. You have a tough job, and I know you don't want to see heinous acts go unpunished, but I believe that there is another way, balanced with incarceration, to get to the minds and hearts of these children. I'd like to hear more about your program of putting judges in communities, but whether it works.
Ms. Grossmann, I'd appreciate your answer. O'Connorexcuse me, I moved from the judge and put you in another state. Ms. O'Connor, thank you.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. O'CONNOR. Thank you.
You raised a number of important concerns, one being that what you do here affects individuals, and the important policies that you set are going to have real impact on individual single parents, on individual defendants, on all of us who represent a variety of disciplines in the system here.
What we have now in the Federal system, which is my bailiwick, as it were, is a complete inability to deal with the situation that you refer to. There are no resources.
I represent an individual who, much to his surprise, was released after 5 years, after a number of legal battles, on a day he didn't expect to be released. He is an individual from Long Beach, California, who has a lot of potential, who came out and visited his probation officer, who said, ''I consider it my job to put you back in jail.''
He said, ''What can you give me for vocational training?''
She said, ''Nothing.''
''Can you direct me to school programs where I can continue the education?'' And this is a 26-year-old man.
And she said, ''That's not my job. You're here for drug testing.''
She has the responsibility to drug test 85 ex-offenders. She cannot reasonably do anything else. And there was absolutely nothing else offered to this person upon release from the Federal system.
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The families that you mentioned are where the focus needs to be. That is really the only place we can impact the future, is much earlier on. We do not have the resources, and certainly the Federal system is the worst place to deal with the future impacts of these offenders and their recidivism.
What we have seen, and I know you all are probably familiar with the studies that show that direct filing into the adult system of juveniles is not the solution. Direct filing by prosecutors has been shown to be ineffective. Juveniles who are housed with adults come out worse than they were, commit more serious and more numerous offenses.
So, not to be the voice of negativism, but that is not the solution. What you do have before you are a lot of alternatives that do appear to help the families.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. JudgeMr. Walchak?
Mr. WALCHAK. Yes, Ma'am. Your first question again, please?
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I noticed that you had a comment here, no matter howno matter what the infraction, no matter how minor, it should not go unpunished. I think that wasand I was asking as well, What are your statistics with respect to juvenile crime in Concord, New Hampshire?
Mr. WALCHAK. Sure. That statement comes from the basic premise that we need to get a hold of these kids right at the outset, at the very beginning. And when we talk about punishment, punishment can take an assorted number of ways, such as community service. I, quite frankly, was very impressed that both of what I am hearing is happening in Virginia and in process, and the way the process has been running in Cincinnati, because they get at these kids right at the beginning, and that may be community service; that may be writing an essay for a very minor infraction, but the principle is the same: we need to make these kids responsible for their actions and teach them that.
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And I certainly share your concern about single parents. We have a daughter who is a single parent with a 10-year-old, an 8-year-old, and, believe me, my wife and I are very concerned about what's going to happen with these two guys, and we work with them and we try to attend their school events also, with an absent father. So we're very sensitive to that, very concerned about that.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. So your thrust isand if the chairman would indulge me just as to an additional minuteis to come in early and provide guidance, though it may be in the form of indicating that what was done was wrong?
Mr. WALCHAK. Yes, Ma'am.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Do I hear you not saying let's put them away and throw the key away?
Mr. WALCHAK. No, Ma'am. I absolutely do not believe in throwing them away and putting the key away. I do believe in a sanctions process, though, that has more teeth as the violations or the incidents reoccur and the behavior has not changed. I feel strongly about that.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GROSSMANN. Accountability begins at a very early age. Young peoplewell, the average 2-year-old I could sentence any day of the week to all sorts of crimes and misdemeanors; the challenge is to get that 2-year-old to be a self-disciplined, successful, independent adult. Now you do that by starting young, and you do that also by responding to bad behavior.
As the chief said, any behavior that is sufficiently out of control needs some response. It doesn't require incarceration necessarily, but it does require a response. That's where I think our independent group of magistrates that have been in our community now for 20 years have been very effective, because they function at that community and neighborhood level, and they respond in ways that parents and the community can support. Now it just moves right on up the line.
Accountability is a way of showing a child respect. If you're accountable for your actions, you are not a person who is incompetent. If you're accountable, you have the ability to respond correctly, and that's the training that's required. And the court, our court, spends a great deal of time teaching that lesson over the time of a child's growing up in various levels of response.
So it's an important issue. We use the term ''punishment.'' Punishment in the dictionary has a double meaning. It can be both discipline and it can be retributive. If you ask any average parent, ''Do you punish your child,'' most of them will say, ''Yes, sure I punish my child.'' But they mean they correct it, with the eye to improving behavior. And that's basically what the system is about.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I thank you for your indulgence. I just want to add a comment as I close, and I did not get to ask the question, but I'll just put it on the record. And that is, that we, frankly, have to be concerned about the issues these panelists have indicated, but, likewise, I have a specific and special and emotional issue that many in my community, African-Americans, Hispanics, are, in fact, the large number of those who are incarcerated in many of our communities. I think that will be a travesty and a tragedy on this Nation. We must find a way to deal with that, and the imbalance is so obvious that I cannot imagine that we'll pass legislation that does not address that very sad statistic.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Ms. Jackson Lee.
Mr. Schumer, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. SCHUMER. Yes, I know that Ms. Waters has been waiting, and she's not a member of the subcommittee, but I'll yield my time to her, so that she can ask her questions, and then we can move to the next panel.
Ms. WATERS. Thank you so very much. I certainly appreciate that, Mr. Schumer, and I appreciate the chairman's indulgence also.
I came this morning because of my involvement with so many young people in south central Los Angeles and my work with gang members in the public housing projects and my development of programs to try and divert, retrain, and to mainstream. I am overwhelmed with the amount of mail that I'm getting from the Federal prisons. We have thousands of letters. I have a person assigned in Los Angeles, a person assigned here in Washington, separating, organizing by State these letters, and trying to find a way simply to respond.
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The stories are heart-breaking. We have all of these first-time offenders in the Federal prison system because of the mandatory minimumsmost of them, it appears now, convicted on conspiracy to trafficking in cocaine, and not actual possession even. We have mothers who are organizing all over the country, mothers against mandatory minimums.
I have one person who came out of prison who was an adult, an elected official out of California, who witnessed what is going on in the Federal system, called me, and said, ''You guys had better do something about this.'' He said, ''What you have is a growing number of angry young people because they believe the system is unfair.''
When I look at the letters, and when I have time, I sit down and I try and read 30, 40, 50 of them on the weekends, I see first-time offenders, mothers and fathers on conspiracy to traffic, children left with grandmothers, and the amount of time thatand I don't know how they calculate thisit's extremely disturbing, and I don't think that we can afford to keep going that way. First of all, the Federal system will not be able to accommodate the numbers that are being put in under this mandatory minimums dealing with crack cocaine. So I'm certainly working toward getting rid of that disparity and attempting to work with the Sentencing Commission.
I don't know if the Members of Congress have an appreciation for what is going on. When we debated this issue last time, they locked down the Federal institutions because of the outbursts of anger and unrest that occurred, and I'm worried about all of that.
I don't know how to break through this as long as we have Members who believe that there are these huge numbers of violent young offenders, and the only way to deal with them is to increase these mandatory minimums and lock them up, young people, juveniles, up as adults.
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Can you answer for me, What will happen if we get juveniles in the system where they will be treated as adults? Can they, too, be convicted under these conspiracy-to-traffic laws? And could a 15-year-old end up in Federal prison on conspiracy and receive some of these long sentences also, Ms. O'Connor?
Ms. O'CONNOR. That's absolutely the case, Ms. Waters, and many of the defendants that we represent in Los Angeles are exactly the people you are describing, charged with conspiracy offenses. It's why I tried earlier to make the point to you all to please be careful of your language and find out what you're talking about when you pass these laws.
Ms. WATERS. Would you describe for them what these conspiracy convictions are and how they organize them, the prosecutors and all?
Ms. O'CONNOR. All right. Let me tell you, my one case, the crack cocaine case that I argued before the Supreme Court last year being the most well-known, a variety of defendants charged for conspiracy-to-traffic cocaine, some probably sophisticated criminal people, others not; my defendant, notstill, charged with a 35-year mandatory minimum sentence. I think he was a 21-or 22-year-old young African-American male whose older brother may have been more involved in this conspiracy.
Nevertheless, because he was charged as a participant, even though the only evidence against him was he going in and out of the location, he would have been subject to that 35-year mandatory minimum. Now to sit with that individual at trial for five young African-American males, and to expect the Federal juries in Los Angeles, who in Federal court are, by and large, Anglos from different districts, to separate out my client, that's a very risky proposition when you're rolling the dice on a 35-year mandatory minimum. Thank God, after 4 years, I was able to get the case dismissed against him, because, to go back to my theme, it was not fair.
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But there are hundreds, thousands, of individuals incarcerated whom Ms. Waters referenced who I also get letters from, and families, and have sat with these parents, and have cried over these defendants whoand, you know, I come from a different neighborhood from south central LA, and I know it's not fair, and I have three sons and am not a gun proponent in any sense, but it is outrageously unfair.
And I can remember when I first started as a Federal public defender thinking: why isn't the community absolutely outraged? And, thank God, Ms. Waters and others started to talk about this whole phenomena, and you all started to become sensitive to the fact that this is a real issue out there, and real families who are being impacted.
But we need to be concerned about those folks, too, who may have some minimal participation, but when you bring them into the Federal system, and if you bring these juveniles in, that's where you won't have to worry about aftercare because they're in there for 20 or 30 years.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Ms. Waters. Thank you, Mr. Schumer.
We have completed, essentially, the first round with this panel. We have had some request to go a second round. I have one question, I think, that needs to be answered which has not been asked today, and I think we should probably then recess after that, with this panel being excused, and come back and bring our second panel, because we have a vote that's going on right now.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think the subcommittee needs to know, Mr. Joy and Judge Grossmann, Mr. Walchak, and Ms. West, the way that the resources for juvenile justice are being handled, the resources in your State. We don't fully understand, my staff does not, and I think there are a variety of ways that in different States these resources are probably handled, and it would be good for us because we're going to have a grant program probably as a result of this juvenile justice bill we're working on.
Is this pattern typical? City, county, Statewhat kind of mix is there? I might direct that question to Mr. Joy, but then I wouldand I'm not going to go down the line with that, but I would like for each of you to submit, if you would, for the record, how in Virginia and New Hampshire and Ohio, and to whatever degree you don't have a full answer now, Mr. Joy, how Pennsylvania divides the juvenile justice resources. Just very briefly, because we're all going to have to go here in a second, can you give me a general idea?
Mr. JOY. Yes, in Pennsylvania, Federal funds that come to Pennsylvania are distributed by the State to the various counties through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. It's also, particularly for juvenile offenders, Federal dollars come to the State and are disseminated by our Juvenile Court Judges Commission that disseminates it to the various local entities, the counties.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And the prosecuting part of this for the juvenile court, is that a State's attorney, local? How is that type of thing funded?
Mr. JOY. The prosecution?
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCCOLLUM. Yes, anybodyif the juvenile is brought before a juvenile judge in Pennsylvania, is the regular district attorney or State's attorney's office the one that handles it?
Mr. JOY. It's the county, the county district attorney.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. The county State's attorney or district?
Mr. JOY. Yes.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. If you couldand, again, I don't want to belabor, because it's not my intent to go down and spend more time; we don't have it todaybut if each of you could give me a flavor in some written form for the committee's purposes, it would be greatly appreciated, how each of your States generally break down. I'm not looking for the budget, how many dollars. I'm just looking for who provides the funding and for which functions in the juvenile justice system, be it probation officers, be it the judges. Where does the money come from?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And I, again, want to thank all of you for being here today, Ms. O'Connor, as well as all the rest of you, Judge Grossmann, Chief Walchak, Ms. West, Mr. Joy. You're a good contribution to this. We do have a juvenile justice system problem.
And, with that in mind, the subcommitteeyou're going to be dismissed; we appreciate it. We'll be in recess until the end of this vote, and then we're going to come back with our second panel. Thank you.
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[Whereupon, at 12:05 p.m., the subcommittee recessed to reconvene at 12:30 p.m., the same day.]
Mr. MCCOLLUM [presiding]. If our witnesses are in the room for the second panel, I'd like to get this hearing started, if we could. I don't know who all is here right now. I hope nobody went to lunch. We'd like to believe that we're here.
All right, our first witness is Sergeant Roger Redd, who currently serves as bailiff for the sheriff's office in Cumberland County, North Carolina. He's a retired sergeant major with the United States Army. The Cumberland County Physical Training Program for At-Risk Young that Sergeant Redd co-founded has been a truly remarkable success story. An alternative to sentencing for first-time offenders, this program is a military-style boot camp that stresses discipline, respect for others, leadership, and ethics. In 1996, Sergeant Redd was honored as a National Jefferson Award recipient for his work with the physical training program.
Our next witness is the chief executive of the Crown Heights Youth Collective Program, and I would like to turn, to introduce Mr. Green, to Mr. Schumer of New York, who I think wants to welcome a fellow New Yorker.
Mr. SCHUMER. And a fellow Brooklynite.
I want to specially welcome Richard Green to the subcommittee. Mr. Green is truly an example of one of the best that Brooklyn has to offer. He's a product of our public schools, a decorated Marine, and he's co-founder and chief executive of the Crown Heights Youth Collective, which is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year. Literally hundreds of young and now-not-so-young people owe their success to the terrific work of this organization, and my entire community owes a tremendous debt to Mr. Green for his efforts in restoring peace and tranquillity and harmony to the Crown Heights area, particularly in wake of the 1991 riots there.
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So it's an honor for me, Mr. Chairman, to have Mr. Green testify before us, and I will try to make sure that all the committee members read his very fine testimony.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. We thank him for being here.
And our final witness today is Mr. Peter Jackson. Mr. Jackson is the deputy warden of the Lorton Youth Center. He's also director of the Alliance of Concerned Men of Washington, D.C., a group of former felons and substance abusers who joined forced to work in the innercity of Washington, D.C.
Mr. Jackson's life story is truly one of transformation, having been involved in the life of crime as a young man and now serving as deputy warden in the same prison system where he was an inmate 26 years ago.
I want to welcome all three of you to this panel today. I appreciate very much your taking the time to be here and the patience you showed this morning when we had such a long and protracted bit of time with the first panel.
Mr. Redd, you're the first one recognized. Let me say that your statements, all three of your statements, will be introduced in the record in their entirety, without objection, and I hear none, and you may feel free to summarize your testimony. Thank you.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF SERGEANT ROGER REDD, DIRECTOR, CUMBERLAND COUNTY PHYSICAL TRAINING PROGRAM
Mr. REDD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Some five-and-a-half years ago, I started working with young, youthful offenders, because when I originally started on the job as a deputy sheriff, I was out there locking them up, putting them in jail, and this kind of bothered me because I felt that some of those children, juveniles, needed to go and some didn't. So I figured, What can I do to try to help to stop this crime? So I started working in the courtroom where I had an opportunity to see all the children coming in, juveniles, from the age category of 16 on down, and some that are older children.
So I went to one of the superior court judges by the name of Judge E. Lynn Johnson, and I asked him, Could I start this program of putting youthful offenders through this military-style boot camp. And he looked at it, and we looked at the information I had and the different criterias, and he said, yes, let's go with it.
So we went out, we looked at all the juveniles that we had on probation that hadn't reported or wasn't reporting, that wasn't doing nothing, that could have been violated, terminated, probably sent away, and we had an opportunity to interview each one of those individuals. We started with a class of 35, and they went through this training.
The training consisted of military boot camp physical training, leadership, drill and ceremony, counseling, and extensive counseling on how to prepare yourself for life, why it's important that you get an education, why it's important that you respect others, that it's important that you respect others in order to get respect for yourself.
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So they went through the training. We kept going, and from now until today, we went up to as much as 997 graduates, and only 16 returned to be sent to a juvenile detention center. And everyone says that we need to do something about it. I saw that need, and I knew something had to be done about it because I had a 16-year-old son, and I was concerned that he may fall into the category, even though I had given him proper guidance every day, but all children don't understand. Sometimes they have a tendency to fall or succumb to peer pressure.
And that's because some of the mothers and fathers that I've seen, because I go to all of the houses; I visit with the children; I take them tothey've got to go to church, which is mandatory. They meet with me early in the morning. They go through the physical training. They tell me why they did the crime.
I talked to one child. He told me he didn't really want to hurt nobody, but he was hungry; he didn't have anything to eat, so he broke in a house and was eating a peanut butter sandwich and said, ''I saw the gun on the table, but I didn't want the gun. I just wanted to get something to eat.''
So it's very touching because here we have young girls and guys throughout our society committing crimes or hurting someone else, or bothering someone else, even though we all have a right to be left alone. So I kept going with this program, working a little bit harder.
Every one of these children will tell you today that you have touched my life; you have made me realize that I'm just as good, not better, than anyone that's in our society, because what you have told me, what you have shown me, how hard you've worked with me.
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And it can be done. I think that military-style boot camps are good, but I also feel that it takes a special individual, an individual that cares, an individual that's touching, that's caring, that he understands, because it's a case-by-case basis because no two are alike. None of the children are alike.
I take them to church, and I've had several of themI've got 170 now that have joined the military that are doing very good, have progressed from the age that were young and grown up. I have 33 in FTCC full-paid scholarship that are doing very good.
The youngest girl to graduate from the program was 13 years old. The youngest male child was 12 years old. And those students are doing very good in school today.
I go to the school; I check on them, even though it's not my regular job. This program is an all-volunteer program. I go to the work in the morning time. I start with them at 3 o'clock in the morning, because I split the groups up, and I work with them until 7:00, until 8 o'clock in the morning, because I've got to be at work at 8. Mothers and fathers will call you late at night and tell me if they're having a problem with their child or if that child needs us.
I take them different places to teach them about our values in life, because you look at some black male children and they come up in society where they've not really been taught our normal ways in our society, the right way and the wrong. They may see the black male beating up his mother or father, vice versa, in a broken home.
So he really doesn't understand the proper guidance that we've been taught in our society. He doesn't understand when he comes to court you say, ''Yes, Your Honor,'' you know, ''Yes, sir,'' ''No, sir,'' because he hasn't been given that proper guidance, but he receives that from us. He's taught how to respect those persons that sit on the bench or how you should carry yourself in school, that the teacher's there to teach them, not to be a disciplinarian.
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Today I received two students; they'll be coming from another county within the State, because this where I am located is in Cumberland County. We've had so much success with it.
And it's a privilege working with them. I've worked very close with the judges in all the courts, the superior and the district courts. They are very supportive of it. The probation officers, the district attorneys, the public defendersevery one of them are now presently involved in trying to see what they can do to help better.
And at one point in time it was really scary because I said, Do I really want to stay here, because of this movement into Cumberland County? But, yes, I do, because you can definitely see the crime going down.
Everybody has talked about what should be done, but we are doing something about it. And I've been there and I've had probably 30 individuals come down and say, ''I would like to come down and help you with these children.''
And I says, ''Well, okay.'' But the first thing I did, I wanted to question them, see where they was really coming from, if their heart was in the right place. I asked them several questions, determined what they said about children. I said, ''No, I'm sorry, I can't use you,'' because in order to touch those children, to touch their hearts, and teach them the right way, we as an individual parent or adult, we have to be right ourselves.
I told my three sonsKevin, Roger, and Shawnif I tell you to throw a rock, evidently it's good; if I tell you not to throw a rock, evidently it's for a reason. We have to teach these children the proper guidance, and today Roger is a graduate of Notre Dame, Kevin is a graduate of Indiana, and my last son, Shawn, 16, is a graduate of the Governor's School and now in the School of Science and Math, on USC, Chapel Hill, 16 years old.
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And it bothered me out on there on the road as a police officer putting them in jail. I said, I've got to do something; we have got to stop, and today we are lucky that we can enjoy the benefit in Cumberland County to see crime taking a nose-dive. And it's no lip-service; it's a fact, because we had to do something.
On the 3rd of next month, I would love to invite each and every one, whoever could travel down, to see that in process of the new class of 160 new students coming in. They will come to you and say, ''God, I love this. How do you teach them? Why do you do this?'' And I'm harder than woodpecker lips; I don't cut them no slack because I figure that this individual has violated someone's rights. He's bothered somebody's property. He's offended or hurt or sought in some wayand he deserved to be smoked. And this is what I do. I've never had one hurt. I've never physically touched one other than touching that brain to make him realize he has a brain; he needs to utilize it and engage that brain, so he can become someone important in our society, and not always he's taught this at home.
And it's important that all of us as adults in a position to try to tell him, to teach him, or to put some type of program in place that's going to workbut, again, I'm very funny and coarse about some of the programs because I have visited some military-style boot camps and I didn't like their ways because, if you start using the four-letter words around them, you're doing everything that we're trying to teach them not to do. You're blowing the situation. You teach them the right way, give them that proper guidance.
Our sheriff in our county, Mr. Butler, Sheriff Butlerand I have the utmost respect for all of our judges, district and superior court, and our attorneys now, because they were concerned because it was going to directly reflect or hurt their children. So we all had to take a look at what it was going to do, and it's proven to be outstanding, and it's not an easy job. I've been myselfone individual threatened with a shotgun, but I knew how to deal with that.
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I go to the houses. I have one individual during this caseI just got through working the case, a first degree murder case. He got a job with Court TV. He graduated and is doing very good. He's traveled with them back to Houston, Texas. I get a call from the fellow that's in charge there to say he's doing very good; they're totally pleased with him.
Those 160-some students that are in military, I get letters from their various commanders telling me, ''God, we really appreciate this.'' And those individuals that is funded by the West Fayetteville Rotary Club that go to college upon completion of graduationI have a graduation at the end of the basic training, and the top student that becomes the honor graduate gets an opportunity to apply to get to go to college, and this is paid for by the West Fayetteville Rotary Club. And I did this by going out and talking to the people within the community. Show these children that we do care, show them that they're just as important in our society as we are, because we all were children when we was young.
But as we got older, if we don't do something now, we won't have no America because everything we've worked hard to strive for, to put in place, will go down the drain. That's a proven fact. Nothing is more precious than life, but nothing is more precious than to see that young child, your child, your grandchild, grow up and become a credit to society, a credit to you, because that child is direct extension of one of us adults, male or female, and it's important that we do that.
I have an old cliche that says: let no child's soul cry out, had I been properly trained. If we train that child right today, tomorrow we'll see a product that is something great. And that now 197 that I've trained are going to become something great 1 day in our society because they're startingbecause we're starting a new pendulum. That pendulum is swinging, and make them understand that they're just as valuable, that they can be a credit, that they can put something back. They're working. They're paying their taxes, and you cannot go no place in that county that you don't find someone in one of the stores that was arrested that did not graduate from my program out of those kids and doing great. And the people say, ''Thank you so much,'' and they tell me, ''I care and love you just as much as my own father, if not more, because you took the time to tell me I was wrong. You took the time to give me the push that would make me crawl.''
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Tell them, ''Get down, crawl on your belly. Get up. Drop, you ugly duckling.'' It sounds harsh; it sounds bad, but it's keeping them out of trouble. They're not bothering no one and they're not breaking into houses anymore. They're doing something that's great.
And I'd like to say that it's a credit to our superior court judges and our district court judges, and everyone in the law enforcement offices there in Cumberland County, and we hope that what I say here today can touch each and every one of you, that you might think about that military boot camps are good, but I think also they do need to be looked upon to make sure that they're teaching the right thing.
My program is nonfunded. I've been doing it now five-and-a-half years. I have five other individuals that work with me, and those individuals are individuals that went through the program, that graduated, that has outstanding jobs, but come every morning and volunteer their time to help me work with these children, and they're doing great, and it's a privilege to work with them.
And, again, on the 3rd of next month, I will get 160 new students, and I'd like to invite you down to see them, and look at them on the day that I first get them. You will say, ''My God, how do you work with some of these people? How do you put up with it?'' And then look at them on graduation day, and then follow them. It will make you feel proud or touch you because you're seeing something being done about the situation throughout our Nation, and to which everybody is giving lip-service: we should do this; we should do this. I didn't wait to think about it; I'm doing something right now about it.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Redd follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SERGEANT ROGER REDD, DIRECTOR, CUMBERLAND COUNTY PHYSICAL TRAINING PROGRAM
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC32097aa.eps
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, thank you, Mr. Redd, and, obviously, a successful boot camp program. Sometimes we don't hear about successful ones, but I'm glad to hear yours.
Mr. Green, I believe I'll go in the order in which I introduced you. So I should have you go next.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD GREEN, DIRECTOR, CROWN HEIGHTS YOUTH COLLECTIVE, INC.
Mr. GREEN. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you all this morning for having this most timely hearing. I'd like to thank our Congressman from Brooklyn, Congressman Schumer, and the works that he's been doing over many years when we stepped out some years ago at city hall and held a press conference on the issue of gun control amongst young people, and the other subsequent initiatives that he has taken, and this being perhaps one of the things that I think we will be able to look back on as a very historical moment today.
My program, like the others today, has been based around the issue of prevention on the other side. We feel the old cliche: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound in cure. And many of the things that we have done over the years have moved in that direction. And, also, looking at the fact that the way the Nation has looked at the measures around budgetary constraints, we felt that our programs were always very timely in terms of budgetary time, in the sense that we were going to look at how we could help the municipalities, the city, the State, and the Nation, to keep the cost of this whole idea of criminalizing the actions of young people.
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Our programs last over the course of a lifetime with many of the young people we work with because, again, their days and lives are very short at times, and if we are able to get to them in a timely manner, it's very often so that we will be able to move them away from that lifestyle, which we've had tremendous success in doing.
The idea this morning, we're talking about sentencing and we're talking about prevention or we're talking about whether or not the poorest will be given the option, whether the Nation has an option whether or not to incarcerate or whether we have an option whether or not to get them on the preventive edgeI think is where I would like to be at least productive in offering our little suggestions that we can help.
One of the main things that I see out in the streets that I work with is that the young peopleMalcolm X used to have a very common quote he used to make. He used to say, ''You can't break a man's leg and then get angry with him when he limps.'' A lot of young people out there this morning have had a leg broken, and when we see them limping, I think as a society we get angry with them.
I brought along a couple of things I wanted to share with the committee. One is that one issue that I'm faced with every day. This is called a ''40 and a blunt.'' Many young people will tell youand I've had them say it to me, where they've had this before they have their Cheerios in the morning. The ''40 and a blunt'' is a 40-ounce malt liquor and the blunt is a cigar that they've taken to roll marijuana into it, and they will have this on their way to school. Whenever you get a 40and we have a saying on the street: there's a fight in every 40; there's a fool in every 40, and many times there's a funeral in every 40. Many times when a young person will walk out in this condition, we see the actions that are subsequent that we heard talked about this morning here in this committee.
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The other side of it is these are all actually funeral announcements. Every single one of these young people's funerals I've attended, the youngest here being 4 years old and the senior citizen in the group being 25. All of them as a resultand this is a water gun that I confiscated from one of my young people, which is a water gun that was taken and painted to look like a realbut it's the actual, exact, inch-for-inch replica of a 9-millimeter, and this water gun comes out of any typical toy shop. And this is the beginning of them feeling a need to carry a weapon, whether it be squirting a water gun, where they'll take a pink-and-blue water gun and paint it into a black water gun and walk out on the street with it, and it leads to this scenario that I talk about, where since 1991, I've attended every single one of these funerals, most of them 19 years old; it seems to be the magic age that they cannot past that barrier of 19.
So I greatly, I would say, support any legislation that would take the guns off the streets. I support the efforts on the part of law enforcement to remove these guns off the street.
But at the other end of it, I also support the kinds ofwhether it beit shouldn't have to be necessary legislation, but just good conscience on the part of citizens to take a water gun away from the look of this, where my 8-year-old son would not want to buy a water gun looking like that in a playful manner, but get him prepared to think about it in the real way, that when it gets to the next level where a buddy of his on the streetand in Brooklyn there's a saying they say sometimes in our community: it's probably easier to find a 9-millimeter on some of our blocks than it is to find a book.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I want to be able tohe's not aware of that, and some good citizen would look at taking these water guns and the other paraphernalia that lead young people into that lifestyle that would lead to ultimately coming before the courts, the worse scenario being another obituary that adds to us.
The other side of it is the piece of employment. Our young, 85 percent of my young people in the central Brooklyn communities this afternoon is unemployed. I'm not saying that these young people are not employable, but the time that there's no real job-building industry in that area has not been on the rise. So we just cannot have the kind of help to get them employed. So, subsequently, the streets become their employment. The corner of Franklin and Prism become their office buildings, and they'll stand there at that particular position until either they'll get in contact with the drug dealer who is offering ready employment on the block or else the petty people that we call the fake thugs that will stand there and get into a minor confrontation with the police, and which will escalate into something that will end up them going to Rikers Island.
And once they get into that whole system of the criminal justice system, it's just a pattern of continuous development. If they're given 5 years' probation, we don't have a probation program like Sergeant Redd has; they end up calling that on the streets ''a one-to-three'' because it means that 5 years' probation; they will ultimately be given a sentence of one to three because they'll end up back in front of a judge who will violate the probation and they'll be back inside the system.
The job situation will go into a lot of different areas. It helps in the house. It helps in the idea of these young people's hands, as we see them moving around with their hands; there's a continuous motion with their hands on the street. Why? Because they lack an opportunity to do things with their hands. So we ask that programs that engage their manual skills be brought back in, programs that engage them in terms of their abilities to do other things other than the things that we see. We want to remove the guns out of their hands, but we want to also replace it with something.
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Booker T. Washington used to say, ''We have to take things not only out of their hands, but out of the head and the heart''and the home. And I think when we move, we have to understand that we have to simultaneously not only take and say, ''Give me that gun. Put it down. Don't sell drugs. Say no to drugs,'' but we want to give them things to say yes to and things to replace that with. Give them tools. Give them the kind of opportunities. And it comes out to be a very profitable venture on the part of the Nation because you're building a skilled individual that will end up helping us to rebuild the innercities, and at the same time it's so cost-effective.
Because in the State of New York and New Jersey, our sister State, it costs between $50,000 and $61,000 a year to incarcerate one of my young people. I can take that same young person for a year for about 1 percent of that dollar amount, and it's not feeding the multitude with three loaves and a fish, but actually doing serious programming with them with a limited amount of resources, in the sense that what we can do with it, the young people will just be caught in that time of life that I call like the middle-relief pitcher where you're not really holding the big lead; you might not even be lead; you might be just two rungs down, and if we have programs that come in and just hold them two rungs out in the game, then, hopefully, we'll have the closer coming up that will win the game for them.
The piece 2 days agoI almost wasn't able to come down here because we didn't know how it would continue, but there was the incident of the Biggie Small's death and his funeral in Brooklyn, and one of the issues happened with a little small confrontation with the police.
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And then, lastly, in closing, that is a very important issue today: the whole idea of the rap industry and how that has misaligned our young people. And if I could leave you with one point, we have to be able to bring those young people back in the fold. I think those young people that we found that the rap industry has sort of had us alienate, we have to reach back out to them.
With that, I thank you again for having this happen this morning, and there are a number of programs that we have done, and I'm going to make sure and get them to the committee as part of the permanent package. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Green follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF RICHARD GREEN, DIRECTOR, CROWN HEIGHTS YOUTH COLLECTIVE, INC.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Green.
We're ready for Mr. Jackson's testimony, but I understood you wanted to comment, Mr. Schumer?
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCHUMER. Yes, I just wanted to ask if we could insert a newspaper article into the record, just to corroborate what Mr. Green was saying. I have today's New York Daily News here, and there's an article sayint that in New York City a new hotel was refurbished. It will hire a couple of hundred people, and over 2,000 people lined up, many of them young people, early in the morning to get the jobs. People think, oh, young people don't want jobs. Well, you announce that there are a few jobs available, and hundreds and hundreds line up. So I'd just like unanimous consent to insert this article into the record
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Without objection.
Mr. SCHUMER [continuing]. After Mr. Green's testimony. Thank you.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Without objection.
[The information referred to follows:]
Christina Parker got to the Roosevelt Hotel at 8 o'clock yesterday morning, but she was already late for work.
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The 26-year-old unemployed nurse's aidwho's been out of work about a yearwas one of thousands of job-seekers who rushed to the Midtown hotel only to be turned away and told to try again this morning at 5.
Nearly 5,000 men and women responded to the hotel's classified ad seeking maids, bartenders, telephone operators and frontdesk staffers.
The good news is that the jobs will pay $15 an hourwith benefits. The bad news is that there are only 700 of them.
The line started forming at 3 a.m. By 10 a.m., it wrapped around two entire city blocks45th to 47th streets, between Madison and Park avenues.
It forced hotel managers to divide the throng into three groups: The 1,000 lucky ones who would get an interview, another 1,000 who were promised a spot at the head of the line today, and the rest of the packpeople like Christina Parkerwho were just told to come back even earlier today.
''I've got to get a job, so I'll come back,'' Parker said.
A spokesman for the 70-year-old hotelwhich will reopen in April with an entirely new staff after a two-year, $65-million renovationwas overwhelmed by the turnout.
''In Pittsburgh, we got 3,000 applicants in five days, so to get 5,000 the first day tells me that business is not doing so well in New York,'' hotel spokesman Ted Knighton said.
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About 200 employees were thrown out of work when the Roosevelt closed in 1995. Roughly 100 reapplied for those jobs yesterday, given only the privilege of going to the front of the line.
''I worked there for 10 years and the only thing I have to show for it is they let me go to the front of the line to beg for my job back,'' said Claudia Trujillo, who lost her job in the banquet department when the hotelthe longtime home of the city's Republican Partyclosed.
''I just want a jobany job,'' said Jesus Gonzalez, who got on line at 6:30 yesterday and was lucky enough to get an interview four hours later.
Gonzalez lost his job as a photostat operator last year when Marvel Comics automated the position.
''That's a nice way to say they laid me off,'' he said. He's been out of work ever since, first exhausting his unemployment benefits and now living on welfare.
''I will do anything to get off welfare,'' he said.
Kathleen Brown, 46, has nearly used up her meager savings since being laid off from her job as a nurse's aide last May.
They found someone who would work cheaper,'' she said. ''I was only making $450 a week with no benefits. Is that a lot? I go to so many interviews and I tell them I'd like to make $450 a week. Once you say that, they never call back.''
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Despite the overflow crowd fighting for a small number of jobs, police reported no incidents.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Jackson, you're recognized.
STATEMENT OF PETER JACKSON, DIRECTOR, ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED MEN OF WASHINGTON, DC.
Mr. JACKSON. Yes, I'd like to thank God today for having this opportunity to bless us just to be alive, to just to be before the committee and have this opportunity to share some things about my life and what we do.
Right now I'd like for you to know that I was onceyou already know that, but I'd like to state that I'm coming with three types of credentials or three personalities. I was an ex-offender locked up for armed robbery, right out of this city. I grew up in this city. I went from an ex-offender to working for 28 years a public servant with the D.C. Department of Corrections. I rose from the rank of a counselor; now I'm a deputy warden at the same place I was incarcerated. I also a mentor and volunteer and president of the Alliance of Concerned Men. And I think, with all those combinations, that I have beared some experience that could shed some light on the situation.
I have never forgot the pain of my incarceration. So, as a prior ex-offender, I understand the plight of the ex-offender. I was once a juvenile, and I understood the fact that I didn't have a father. My father abandoned me, and my family became my crew or the people that I hung with. And so I don't use that as far as an excuse today because I know that I've overcome those things, through the help of mentors and people that stood in the gap. But coming up, many of the adults don't understand the things that you go through, and although we are busy with our jobs and with our promotions, and so forth, we somehow don't get the feel or the sense of the neglect that goes on in the homes.
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So, as an ex-offender, I was incarcerated at Lorton Youth Center 6 years for armed robbery, didn't do the whole six. I was blessed there that I had an inmateI understand that they're still building more prisons, and I can tell you from being in the prison that the prison is not the answer. The prison didn't transform me. What happened to me was that people began to accept me and greet with love and began to mentor me likeand tell me the right things to do.
An inmate doing 20 to life stepped to me when I was doing my 6 years and told me, ''Pete Jackson, you've got a lot of potential.'' This is an inmate, and the inmate's name is Lee Bozeman. He said, ''You have a lot of potential. Why don't you use that potential?'' He say, ''I see who you're hanging with down here at Lorton, and you're just going to beyou're going to just be another number. You're going to continue coming back and forth in this penitentiary.'' He say, ''Get about 15 of your best boys right here and bring them and ask them, or your best young men, and ask them why they're down here.'' And he said, for lack of a better word, ''If anyone of them tell you that they're down here because they committed against society, I will kiss your butt on the compound.''
And I went and I asked all of them, and all of them had an excuse. They were in denial just like alcoholism and drug addiction. They were in denial. See, ex-offenders are denial. You send them and you lock them away. They're still carrying the same pain and hurt of the streets and not having a mother or father. Their mother was a crack addict. They have been shifted from one scene over tonow they're graduating, but they never recognized the crime that they did.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And when I asked all these guys, all of them had an excuse. All of them said, ''Man, I'm here because somebody snitched on me.'' ''I'm here because, man, society turned against me.'' None of them said that they were here for armed robbery, drug addiction, or anything, and that was profound in my mind as a young youth. That was profound that this older inmate knew that.
And I said, ''Man''he said, ''Man, take inventory of yourself and stop lying to yourself. You're here, yeah, you had a bad life, but you're here because you did something.'' And from that point, I began going to my cell and began to do surgery on myself, so to speak, and deal with the larceny and all of the things that I'd done and the hurt that I had caused other people, and then began to look to the change from the inside out. And so that's what I sort of bring to the table.
I want to say, in one sense, that the ex-offender is just another person that's been turned away from society. The ex-offender, the young Pete Jackson is the older ex-offender. This juvenile situation is just a graduation into the older ex-offender. If you can understand that an ex-offender has all the problems of society, and you have a situation where an ex-offender like myself was returned back into society with skillsI had a barber's license because I was aI had a Youth act, and I also had the opportunity to get a GED, and so forth, and I got a scholarship to go to college because I was pretty good with basketball and football. I came back into the community, and the community is just like it is now; it was hostile. I had a D.C. No. 152738, didn't nobody want to hire me; people thought I was a plant.
Then, also, you've got to deal with the situation where it's just like a person that's been in the service. You have to bring them in and de-program them after they learn how to kill. And when they came back from the 1960's and they did all that killing, because they wasn't de-programmed, they went out and started killing people up at the post office and all that.
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Well, an ex-offender who's been away from 5 years, 10 years of his life, comes back out into a society that is actually a business, the civic, even the community that they come from do not want to accept them. Many times in the same house that they live in, either their mother or significant other ones have had to do without that individual. The individual will come out with three kids and a baby, and he wants to work, but he cannot find a job; won't nobody hire him.
So what happens is you've got a revolving door, and that's what happened to a lot of my buddies. A lot of them are dead. A lot of them are doing twenty to life, but I'm a deputy warden because I had someone to step in and give me the opportunity. I'm not any better or anything of that nature; it's just that I had the opportunity.
So what I'm saying to you is that the Terrance Johnson piece, Terrance Johnson came out after 15 years. Terrance Johnson needed an opportunity. His maturity, his jail maturity, was up, but his street maturity was down. He didn't know how this whole piece functioned. When he lost his scholarship for $7,000, there was nobody really there, no transition, nothing that would help him get a job.
And so, as an ex-offender, I feel their pain. As a deputy warden and as an administrator of a halfway house, Ten-Ten, in particular, I work there. We have tried to put people to work. I was in charge of the whole Ten-Ten North Capitol. We have vocational counselors running out here trying to get men work. They keep coming back saying, ''Mr. Jackson, it's very difficult. The business community, the Federal Government, whatever, it's very difficult to get these men hired.'' So what you have them is drinking their liquor, standing on the corner, and reverting back.
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So one of the recommendations that I make to the committee today is that let's start looking at some transition houses, so that a person not only just goes to a halfway house, but he can have a house, a transition, where you've got a 24-hour hotline, where you have a person there that understands, that's an advocacy for ex-offenders, that can be able to make his transition and give him life skills to be able to get back into his household or understand that his wife don't want him no more or his mother distrusts him. No matter what he had, he has left the community hurting. So now he's trying to get back into the community, and it's so difficult for him, for that happen. So the whole unemployment situation, the whole insensitivity situation of recidivism and the revolving door is going to maintain to be a revolving door until we begin to reach out to the ex-offender.
The volunteer component, I'm a volunteer. I'm the president of the Alliance of Concerned Men. We have been blessed to go out on Benning Terrace when that young brother got killed, 12 years old. He got killed because of, what they say, gang-related incidents, but the young man wanted to say: we're a neighborhood; we're the circle, and we're the heel. We put labels on people and put labels. And what happens when we put labels on our young children? They become like they're from Mars. They become foreigners. We read about them in the paper. We cannot really relate to them as human beings because here we are calling them ''gangs'' and other things, and when we see it, we see it from a position that these are not young babies.
The truth of the matter is that our youth are not lost; it's that the adults are lost. We say we lost a generation. We have a lost a generation of adults, because they're only a carbon copy of what is happening, the responsibility of the adults.
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And so I'm saying that we went over there with some love, because of our outstanding record in the community for 6 years with no funding, and so forth. It was six of us, most of us ex-offenders, ex-addicts. We grew up together. We saw all the killing going on and we said we wanted to make a difference and do something, just like the people sitting at this table and just like each and every one of you, want to make a difference. That was our only motivation.
So we went out there on Benning Terrace and somehow some of the people that we met brought us intothat we have worked withbrought us into a person that knew how to get in with the individuals, the young youth over there. We were met with some hostility.
We were met with distrust initially, but because they knew who we were, and that wethe first question they asked us, ''Are you all just like everybody else? Are you all coming over here just to be seen in the newspaper? Are you all coming over here just to get some press or are you all coming to stay? If we're going to talk to you, then we want some help.''
And so we committed ourselves to those young men over on Benning Terrace, and those young men today, because of a receiver, David Gilmore, and also NCNE Bob Woodson, allowed us to facilitate the two warring factions in his office where they were wearing bullet-proof vests, and so forth. We had to shake them down, but we worked through that whole process. We were allowed to meet with them, and they told us what the problem was.
The problem was, they said, that they don't have anything to do; that the recreation center is null and void; that the footballthat the basketball court is nonexistent; that the football field, there's nothing, no planned activities in the recreation, and they didn't have jobs. They said that they didn't want to kill one another, but it's just a neighborhood that began to turn on one another because of idleness and nothing to do, no hope.
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So we eventually went on and talked toa lot of people got interested in it, and Bob Woodson said, ''Well, let's see, can we get some funds.'' So we sit down with the young men, and David Gilmore, the housing receiver, said, ''Look, I see what you're doing, the Alliance of Concerned Men. I see the passion. I see that you're out there doing life skills with them. I see that you have brought the community together, because from having 59 killings within the span of a yearno, within the span of 3 years, it has gone down in January to nothing; no gun shooting; no anything. The young men are now working.
It's just like my brother to the left said, Richard Green, when they were offered a job, it was like we had to sit up in an employment office in the recreation center. All of the young men said, ''I'll work. I'll put down the gun. I'll put down the dope. I'll put down whateverwhatever you can pay us.''
David Gilmore, with his cooperation and public housing, they have gotten the graffiti off the walls. They only pay $6.50 an hour, but they have cleaned up that neighborhood. The neighborhood now is not in duress. People can come out, the children can come out. They were even scared to go to school. The officer that's assigned to the area said that it's like night and day. It's like night and day.
And we even had the parents are beginning to speak out, and they think that the cooperation of the housing authority, Bob Woodson, and the Alliance of Concerned Men that came together to bring that whole pieceand the answer is just, to this juvenile, whole juvenile situation, is that we have to reach into the homes. We have to stand in the gap for those young children. These young children don't have fathers. Some of their mothers are on crack. Those who are doing well, they are bitten by the hostilities and the misplaced rage against society. It grabs all of our children, because if you live in that neighborhood, you are a prisoner to that neighborhood if you have people that'sin other words, one bully can arrest a whole school.
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When I was going there, we had a bully in that school, and nothing moved without that bully. If you've got four, five, six, seven, or eight people carrying guns in these communities, they can stop everything moving in the community.
And so what happens is we have to addresswe have to have mentorship programs. All we're doing, the Alliance of Concerned Men, we're meeting with these young men weekly. We're giving them life skills. Not only are we doing that, we are going down to Lortonwe have a concerned fathers program. We cannot forget that these young men have fathers. The father is able right down there at Lortonwe carry the children down, and they sit down and they interact. They talk about school work. The fathers tell their children, ''Please don't get into this.'' And what happens is we do workshops with them. Those fathers are able to make calls right outif there's a situation out there about to jump off, the fathers are able to make calls and stop it, because they came from the same communities.
And so we understand that the father is a valuable component even though he's incarcerated. We're having a bridging program, and it's called the Concerned Fathers, and that's been going on. And we have graduated several men, and what they do is come out and become volunteers and work with the Alliance of Concerned Men.
The other thing we do is belief, values, images, and fears. We have a big program that we work with the children in southeast Washington, and of course we know what images is on TV. We know that, without spiritualitythe Alliance of Concerned Men, we open with prayer and we close with prayers, and all our groupsnow our young men, they open with prayer; they close with prayer. So they understand that we're just not a group that comes before you with programs; we're a group that comes before you saying the glory of God and the spirituality that man needs so badly to move forward, and that spirituality helps them overcome when there is no job, when there is no mentor.
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So we're trying to help build character in them, and that has been a blessing, and it is working. We just need some support across this Nation because we have other programs, as we see, across the Nation that are able to do this kind of job.
And I'd just like to thank the committee. I want to make sure I didn't leave anything out because this might not ever happen again. [Laughter.]
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, you'd be surprised. You're a pretty good witness. You might get back here again.
Mr. JACKSON. I'd like to thank the committee at this time and say that, like thousands of other kids throughout the Nation, those youth in southeast D.C. could once see nothing but violence, hopelessness, and resentment. Likewise, those thousands of youth have the same ability to change, as demonstrated by me and others, and the same need for the source of confidence, respect, and guidance. All they want to do is to have some dignity.
You teach a man how to fish. Waityou don't teachyou feed a man a fish, but if you don't teach him how to fish, then he could take careif you teach him how to fish, he can take care of his daily needs every day, but if you teach this man how to fish and don't put him near the water, where the fish is, and you send him out to a desert, then what good have you done? What good is programs in institutions that, when they come out, they're on dry land? What good is a GED if you can't implement the GED?
And, also, just one other thing is that we understand that the passion that people bring tothat we can solve our communitywe can solve these problems in the community. The community is rallying around us, the men. We are adding men. The Alliance is bringing men intoyou know, we are challenging them to take back their communities. If six men can do it and come in and no one know us, then those men right in that community can begin to unify and begin to do something. We cannot leave the men out.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Jackson follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF PETER JACKSON, DIRECTOR, ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED MEN OF WASHINGTON, DC.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, your point is well-made, Mr. Jackson, and we really thank you for sharing that experience with us.
I'm going to ask a few questions. I'm going to follow up, first of all, with you on one question. At what age does a young person in the innercity, in your judgment, lose hope, become bitter? I mean, are we talking about the 4-and 5-year-olds? Are we talking about 12-year-old kids? When do they get to that point. We know they come from single-parent homes and they see a lot of this, but the littlest ones haven't quite gotten there yet, I don't figure. And I know we see a lot of them that are 16, 17 years old, and they're the ones, largely, you're describing, but at what age does a youth lose this hope that's so important and lose the element of a moral and value compass?
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Mr. JACKSON. Well, the breakdownas we know, it's the family's responsibility to raise that child.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I know.
Mr. JACKSON. The community can't raise it. The breakdown is from the very beginning. So I've heard the judge say, one of the members, the former members, say that from the years two to five is the most time where they can take in a lot, but where we begin to actually lose the child is once he goessee, when I was going to school and the way it is now, they're killing people for sneakers. You know what I'm saying?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Yes, oh, yes.
Mr. JACKSON. They're killing people for sneakers. And these youngthe younger person is learning how to be an advantage-taker at a very early age. What we have is a situation where they see all the good things on TV. I'm just saying, the young ones, they see the BMWs; they seethey might not see it in their community, but they see it, all the rap stuff and all that. And this messes with their mind. And so when they go into a school, just saying going into the school, and somebody's got on a $100 pair of sneakers, and another one's got on a $20they're having to have a $20 pair of sneakers, then you begin to get the aggressive ones to take the $100 pair of sneakers from him.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Yes.
Page 135 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. JACKSON. So it beginsit's a breeding groundI, for one, I didn't mention this, but I think that the Catholic school has something great with everybody in the same uniforms.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Yes, there's no jealousy there. It's the same.
Mr. JACKSON. There's no jealousy. Your whole merit is on what you know up here and not what you're wearing. See, our world is moving at such a fast pace, and our children see it; that does not stop our young children from wanting. Even though their mother can only put oatmeal where others is eating bacon and eggs, and they've got powdered milk, that does not stop them from wanting.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Yes.
Mr. JACKSON. And so what happens is it gets sort of twisted, and a lot of jealousy starts happening, and then there's no fatherin many cases, there's no father to kind of direct that.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Right.
Mr. JACKSON. So mentorship at a very young age, we need to address those issues very early.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Green, at what age is a child lost, in your judgment, in the city, and when does he get into this lack of hope? I know you talked about the youth needing the jobs, and that's at an age a little bit older. A lot of what we're looking at in this bill right now is to try to figure if we can't intervene. Everything's complicated, you know. We need all of these things, but we're trying to see if we can't find a better way to intervene earlier, before that youngster gets to the point where they're in need of the situation you've described, and we're trying to figure out what that age is. We know it would be ideal if you could intervene at 3 and 4 and 5 years old, but the juvenile justice system won't probably see that child until they're 7 or 8 or 9. But is hope lost then? When is the problem really beginning?
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Mr. GREEN. I see the light in their eyes. I see it right up to about the fourth grade, and right after that fourth grade, fourth grade gate, that they will start to lose that. And I think in terms of bringing in the kinds of information to them and getting that building-up of that self-esteem and the building-up of the kinds of support mechanisms around them in the community, to keep that light in their eyes after the fourth grade, because once that gets to fifth and sixth graders, they're sort of just more or lessyou're just playing what I call damage control. You're just sort of holding them, holding power, to get them to the next step, and, hopefully, to not get them into the system, but you're just sort of keeping that going, and that's the age right there.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Do you see that, Mr. Redd, too? Is that about right?
Mr. REDD. Yes, but I feel that it's between 11 and 12. I think that mothers and fathers that are in the homeor parentsif they didn't see all this violence in the home, I think that would help subside to the point where they would start so young. Between the age of 11 and 12, that's where I really see them. In my course that I have in this program, I've had, the last couple of classes, I've had the parents to attend the class, as I felt that some children are saying something as well as adults, but we, as adults, are not listening to them. So that parent needs to understand by the various suggestions, the various comments or ideas that they project, that they need to understand what they're saying. So I had the parents to come to the class and listen, some of the classes on how you apply for a job, why you don't have that job.
Page 137 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I've also got individuals where they're graduated, where there's four of them that got together and they get lawnmowers. They didn't have a job. I said, ''Well, take your lawnmower up the street and go up and cut this grass, but you don't bother people. You cut their grass and you leave, and you say, 'Thank you very much, Ma'am or sir.'' We tell that if you don't have the education tomorrow to get that job, continue to go get that GED, but apply yourself in something until you can get something better.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, now, is truancy a big problem?
Mr. REDD. At that point in time in our county it was, but I don't think it is.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. What about in New York?
Mr. GREEN. Definitely truancyNew York City took on a new initiative; the police commissioner, the former police commissioner started a truancy project, and we gaveany time we have worked hand-in-hand with the police department, any time they come up with a project, we come up with a community version, or vice versa. And one of the things we do with truancy is the Truancy and Prevention, the Street Outreach Program, which I am very much in favor of. We are out there and we attempt to make the police in the neighborhood, like the Maytag repairman, we don't want to give them any work to do. The Street Outreach Program gets to themfrom something I learned in Vietnam, we call the Chieu Hoi Program. We have the safe passage program where anyone came into our group with their Chieu Hoi pads, they got automatic entry, and we use the same system in the schools down, where I've got the principals to buy into this same idea of Chieu Hoi, safe passage. I bring them off the street, no questions; they get back in the building. If they need counseling, they get it in the building. No one calls, no questions asked; just off that street during that magic hour 9 to 11 and get them inside a school building. And over the course of the last 6 years, we have dropped our rate in one of our major high schools from 12.5 percent down to about 5 percent.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Now dropouts is one thing and truancy is another. I realize both are a big problem.
Mr. GREEN. Oh, yes, we've cut our truancy down
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Is a truancy at 4 years and older primarily? Is that when they start not going to class, when they'renot 4 years, but fourth grade and older?
Mr. GREEN. Right. Well, you have the truant; then you have the long-term absenteeism, where parents have de-stabilized. They're moving, and the parents are contributing by not letting the child into school for some reason or the other. That LTA population is one.
The truancy population is the population of the young people who just came on their way to school, got sidetracked, are not in the building. We pick them up. The van comes out in the morning. We pick them up. We take them into the building. If we don't pick them up, the police van is coming right behind us, and that was a mandatory pickup then.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I'm glad to hear it's working there, but there's a lot of communities in this country where you don't have that happening. Mr. Jackson, do you see that here in D.C.?
Mr. JACKSON. Yes, and I would like just to make a comment. When we were coming up, we had vocational programs, high school vocational programs. Everybody is not going to college, and the vocational programs, they had various things that can do, brick masonry, and the whole thing, some things that we do in institutions.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Yes, the same when I was coming up.
Mr. JACKSON. Yes, and then we had roving leaders. I know the budget constraint has been so rough, but a lot of the concepts that we had at one time, where you would have roving leaders working on the site of a playground, when you had swimming pools open, and you had structure at the playgroundsa lot of that is just gone because there's really nothing for them to do. And what happens is, instead oflike with me, I would be involved in my school rather than hook school, if I had something to do, but if there's nothing that is interesting, then I'm going to hook school, hang out, play craps, and do those things. So the alternatives for our children have been cut so drastically because of the budgetary situation. As I said, the young menand I know this might sound silly, but the young men said, when they didn't have any place to play, they turned on each other.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, now we looked at stuff this morning in the first panel, and I think most of you were probably sitting in here for that. One of the big things the panel was saying to us this morning, I think, is that we do have a problem with accountability among young people, in addition to these other problems. And, Mr. Jackson, I know you said prisons aren't the answer, and I'm not arguing with you about that. They're not the answer to the juvenile. They may be an answer to protection and society, but not to the juvenile problem.
But it sounds like in your case, accountability was the point at which you had your dramatic turnaround, once you decided and understood that you personally had to be held accountable. Is that right? Is that kind ofam I looking at that right?
Page 140 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. JACKSON. Yes, you're looking at it very much so. Yes, there's no question about it. It wasn't until that timeI had counselors; I had other things, but sometimes peopleI don't know, I guess a Vietnam vet can relate to a Vietnam vet; I don't know. But I just hadcertain people can reach you, and it just happened that the inmate made me look at myself. I had a big grudge against society, just like a lot of our youth. You know what I'm saying? I had a big grudge, and they're carrying that grudge and they're using that; the grudge is here, but the pain is here, you know. And so until you can cut through the grudge and get to the pain, the ex-offender, the person that was doing all that time who was respected on the compound, he just sought me out and just said, ''Look, you know''and I had to respect him because he had done so much time down there, and he said, ''Man, you've got to take a look at yourself,'' and then gave me the piece, 15 of the guys that I'm running with, and all of them was in denial.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, not everybody is going to have somebody come up to them like you did, and that's why Mr. Redd's got his program and your effort, and why some of these other programs that Mr. Green describes are going on, and a lot of other things. Everybody's got their own angle on this
Mr. JACKSON. Right.
Mr. MCCOLLUM [continuing]. But I think I'm right about this, and I don't think any of you would disagree that we've got to find a way to get Stateswe can't do this in the Federal Government. We can just yell about it, argue about it, raise the profile, provide a little bit of money, but we've got to get the communities to come around to the idea of intervening with these kids earlier, and find a way to get them to see that accountability you did. That's why some of us think it's so important that the youngsters who are in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth grade, Mr. Green, not only see hope brought to them, but have somebody touching them by that time or before that time, when they've got a problem with the family. And it seems to me that if they get in that early delinquent act, they steal the shoes you talked about, Mr. Jackson. I don't want to take that kid and put him into the detention center for stealing the shoes, but the kid ought to know that there's going to be some consequences for doing that. Am I not right?
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Mr. JACKSON. That's right. And one of thea lot of the public housing, you know, I believe that that's the place to start, other than the programs that each and every one of us do, and going down there. We're working from the inside out. We believe that the father is going to be able to do something also.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, if he can, that's all the better.
Mr. JACKSON. So we're workingbut the public housing, they needsee, if you have children without fathers, and mothers, they're disturbed by various things and trying to hold upyou need parenting. You need stations right in those areas where they can come and have people relate to them, relate to the children, and cut through the hard-core rap, and cut through the hard-coreness that they're learning right in their neighborhoods.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Right.
Mr. JACKSON. And so if you have something for them, the local churches where we meet, the churches turned over some space for us to meet there, and we invite them in, and we work with them, and so it's having this change-about. They put down their weapons; now we're working with them on smoking herbs. Do you understand what I'm saying?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Right.
Mr. JACKSON. There's a process. Because as long as we've got weapons and drugs in the communities, you've got to make them override that, but you've got to teach them how to respect themselves and make them understand that this no excuse.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. And that's basically what you're doing, right, Mr.
Mr. JACKSON. That's basically whatyes.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. That's what you're doing, but it's also what Mr. Redd is doing?
Mr. REDD. Yes, absolutely, but I think also that the courts need to take a real good look at when an individual's going to get a divorce, I think it's very easy, when they come to the court to get their divorce, and then suddenly there's a child, a child at play, that the judge says, ''Okay, you'll have the responsibility of raising the child'' or the custody will go to the mother or the father. I feel that the courts should probably say, ''Well, yes, I understand you're apart, but you still both have that obligation to take care of this child.'' It's too easy for one or the other to just disappear out of that child's life and then, suddenly, that child's with maybe, say, a mother, and he gets 12 or 13 years old. Suddenly, mom says, ''Take the trash out.'' ''I'm not doing that'' because it's hard for someone to deal with those bigger children. And we do need to make sure we hold parents responsible for their actions in stealing because a lot of them are just not doing their job.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. We need to hold parents responsible. We need to have kids be accountable early, and all of that as well, but we need to do some of this other stuff.
Page 143 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Unfortunately, we've got to wrap this hearing up, and I don't have other panelists here. It's that time of day when everybody's spread across the panelacross, I should say, the Capitol.
But let me make one last comment, and it's not to elicit a response, but it's a comment, Mr. Jackson, because you reminded me of something. We're not hearing this today on the subject that I'm about to describe, but the prison industry is a very important thing to me, and you described a situation about people going to prison and coming out and getting a GED and not having a place to go get a job.
We sat in this roomI think it was this roomabout two or 3 weeks ago and heard a terrific success story of one particular State's prison industry program that you'd probably agree with, and I may want to have you someday come back as a witness on this. We had a story given to us where they have in this particular State a program where they train prisoners in certain skills, and it's done by private organizations the State contracted with to run all their prison industries. They then place, job place, that person when they get out, and they make certain, which I thought was interesting, that the person who goes out does not ever go back to their community or home town which they came from; that is, when they place them. And they take them away from that home town, put in a job somewhere else, get them started again, and then they have a follow-up program with them. Not only that, but they constantly are out there counseling them for two or 3 years afterwards. Their recidivism rate is 12.5 percent, and as you may know in the prison system, that is darn low; right?
Mr. JACKSON. Yes, sir.
Page 144 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCCOLLUM. So we wanted to look into that. We wanted to see what we can do, separate from this juvenile justice bill, to try to help the prison system and help stop all of this stuff where people do go through the revolving door when they get out of prison.
So I want to be working with you on a different set, if you'll work with us
Mr. JACKSON. Right, yes.
Mr. MCCOLLUM [continuing]. On that subject, too.
Mr. JACKSON. Yes.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Because you've got an experience in that area.
Mr. JACKSON. Yes.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, I want to thank all three of you for coming today. You've given us a lot of valuable information and good insight into what's going on in the innercity particularly, and it's real helpful to what we're trying to do. And thank you. Some of you come from some distance. We appreciate it.
This hearing is adjourned.
Page 145 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Whereupon, at 1:30 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
(Footnote 1 return)
Howard N. Snyder and Melissa Sickmund, Juvenile Offenders and Victims: A National Report 100 (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention August, 1995) (''National Report'').
(Footnote 2 return)
Howard N. Snyder, Melissa Sickmund, and Eileen Poe-Yamagata, Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1996 Update on Violence 10 (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention February, 1996)(''1996 Update'').
(Footnote 3 return)
Michael A. Jones and Barry Krisberg, Images and Reality: Juvenile Crime, Youth Violence and Public Policy 37 (National Council on Crime and Delinquency 1994)(''Images and Reality'') and 1996 Update at 23.
(Footnote 4 return)
1996 Update at 10.
(Footnote 5 return)
Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports for the United States 1995 216 (1995).
(Footnote 6 return)
Studies in New York and New Jersey, as well as in Florida, confirm this fact. See Donna M. Bishop, et. al., ''The Transfer of Juveniles to Criminal Court: Does It Make a Difference?'' 42 Crime and Delinquency 171 (1996) and Jeffrey Fagan, ''The Comparative Advantage of Juvenile Versus Criminal Court Sanctions on Recidivism Among Adolescent Felony Offenders'' (1996). Using samples matched for age, present offense, prior offenses, and other characteristics, both studies found juveniles sent to the adult system were significantly more likely to be re-arrested than those kept in juvenile courtby almost 30%. Sending juveniles to adult court does not deter crimerather, it increases both the number of future offenses and their seriousness.
(Footnote 7 return)
Although AfricanAmerican juveniles age 1017 constitute 15% of the total United States population, they constitute 26% of juvenile arrests, 32% of delinquency referrals to juvenile court, 41% of juveniles detained in delinquency cases, 46 % of juveniles in corrections institutions, and 52% of juveniles transferred to adult criminal court after judicial hearings. National Report at 91. A study of the juvenile justice system in California found that minority youth, particularly African-American, consistently receive more severe dispositions than white youth and are more likely to be committed to state institutions than white youth for the same offenses. Images and Reality at 6. See also Barry Krisberg, et. al., The Incarceration of Minority Youth, 33 Crime and Delinquency 173; Edmund F. McGarrell, Trends in Racial Disproportionality in Juvenile Court Processing: 19851989, 39 Crime and Delinquency 29 (1993); and OJJDP, Minorities in the Juvenile Justice System 1 (1990) for further discussion.
(Footnote 8 return)
Ira Schwartz, ''Juvenile CrimeFighting Policies: What the Public Really Wants,'' in Ira M. Schwartz, ed., Juvenile Justice and Public Policy: Toward a National Agenda (1992).