Over the last couple years, statistics seem to show a decreasing trend in the amount of youth crime going on in our city, though major issues still remain. A recent 2013 study by the NYS DCJS (Division of Criminal Justice Services) shows a 39 percent decrease in juvenile crimes dating back to 2011, mostly caused by lowering rates of juvenile misdeameanor crimes. Yet despite these positive numbers, the statistics also show out 7,604 juvenile arrests in New York City in 2013, 62 percent of those arrested were blacks who only make up a quarter percent of all juveniles in the city. The numbers also show in New York City, 78 percent of juvenile arrests were males compared to 22 percent females, as opposed to the rest of the state which showed a 71 percent arrest rate for juvenile males compared to 29 percent for juvenile females.
In addition, rates of recidivism where prisoners become repeat offenders is still high, so last year Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new plan. The governor wants legislation passed which would give free inmates the chance at a free college education, and thus get bachelor’s degrees which would help them find employment once leaving jails, and prevent them from becoming repeat offenders or remain outside society. Studies show recidivism rates when inmates get their bachelor degrees drops 43 percent and their chances of being unemployed also drop by half. Also since the city spends $168,000 on every inmate per year, less prisoners being reincarcerated will also the city to spend money in other areas that need improvement like education, infrastructure, etc… . In addition, there have been several recent stories including that of a young Bronx teenager Kalief Browder a black teen who spent three years on Rikers Island awaiting trial until 2013 for supposedly taking a backpack due to the poor criminal justice system in the Bronx.
This highlights not only the major issues in our city’s criminal justice system, with the Bronx’s court system being so backlogged and chaotic that cases have been awaiting trial for nearly five years, but also the dispraportionate level of black juveniles in the prison system. Groups like Children’s Aid Society try to reach troubled kids and offer help to try and stimulate their interests, so they won’t wind up dropping out of school and into gangs. More needs to be done aid troubled familes and issues in the court systems, since a recent article in the Washington Post shows that black juveniles who commit few crimes are arrested almost as much as while juveniles who commit several crimes, and since 2008 nearly 1/3 of juvenile arrests in the nation have been blacks, despite the overall arrest rate seemingly plummeting.