New York

Mayor Adams changes ‘violent saboteur’ watchdog

The group that city hall relies on to prevent street violence at the local level will soon have a new boss, THE CITY has learned.

Mayor Eric Adams’ administration is moving contract oversight for neighborhood safety initiative offices, including so-called violent obstructers and anti-shooting organizations, from the mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) to the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). . According to multiple sources aware of the decision.

The move, which is set to begin in January, is a shift from the much-expanded institution under the de Blasio administration, which has evolved from primarily a data analysis shop to one that also specializes in overseeing programs that replace incarceration. increase.

“Contracts are policies. vital city.

This agency, along with the NYPD, was shut out of Adams’ plans. Expand your use of involuntary commitments For people with mental health crises, according to multiple sources.

Moreover, under Adams, the MOCJ has recently gotten behind in trying to keep the prison population down. This is a major initiative of the office under the last two mayors.

Corrections Department Director Luis Molina told city council Tuesday that he expects that number to rise from 5,887 to 7,000 next year.

A representative for the MOCJ declined to comment.

“Two Wings of the Same Bird”

The agency has awarded neighborhood safety contracts worth about $150 million to about 100 nonprofits, according to several former staff members.

they are all within range First Deputy Mayor sheena lightaccording to multiple sources.

of program It was designed to introduce an alternative to traditional law enforcement practices that rely on arresting, prosecuting, and imprisoning people.

They include initiatives such as atlasit says, “Working to reduce the cycle of violence and justice system involvement in New York City through community-based treatment and healing services.”

MOCJ is currently Mayor’s Plan of Action Neighborhood Safety (MAP) and Office for the Prevention of Gun Violence (OPGV).

In its current setting, anti-violence groups are contracted by the MOCJ to help prevent or mitigate potentially deadly conflicts within communities and generally maintain peace. A monthly report should be submitted to the office detailing the number of encounters along with some other statistics.

One anti-violence leader welcomed the bureaucratic shuffle, but wasn’t convinced it would make much of a difference.

“I think we are moving from quantity to quality. murdered daughter told THE CITY last week. Murphy noted his hope that DYCD would bring a more direct human touch compared to MOCJ’s focus on data and analytics.

Mayor Eric Adams joins members of the Violence Interdiction and Prevention Group at City Hall on June 2, 2022.

He pointed out that DYCD deals specifically with young people. Young people are involved in many of the shootings around town. Still, he was skeptical that the change would be material.

“We’re dealing with the same system,” said Murphy, who has dealt with MOCJ through its crime prevention program. “So it’s still riding the same bird. It’s his two wings on the same bird.”

Former NYPD captain Adams touts the so-called Cure Violence program as his primary component. wider plan to reduce of his first move The mayor was to meet with the leaders of several sabotage groups in the city.

He also talked about the model that first started in Chicago. during his meeting With President Joe Biden in February.

Promotion of reform

Over the past decade, the MOCJ’s authority has expanded steadily.

Under de Blasio, the previously one-man office called the Criminal Justice Coordinator was renamed and staffed by dozens.

The budget increased from $275 million in fiscal 2011 to $813 million in fiscal 2023, according to the city’s Independent Budget Office. The number of vendors that signed criminal justice contracts in the same period increased from 58 in fiscal 2011 to 194 in fiscal 2021, he said, the IBO.

Some criminal justice experts said time would tell if it was a good idea to move oversight of the violence cessation program from the MOCJ to the DYCD.

Daniela Gilbert, director of the Redefining Public Safety Initiative at the Vera Institute, said, “The opportunity to pave the way for sustainability in community violence intervention work is significant, and as long as we can incorporate it into our institutions, it Promising.

The key is for DYCD officials to work well with street-level groups already engaged in violent intervention to identify “clear expectations” so they can operate with “consistency,” Gilbert said. rice field.

“The opportunity to do this well-coordinated or data-driven work doesn’t depend on any particular office or agency,” she said. and principles.”

During the de Blasio administration, the MOCJ also had influence over other city agencies, such as the Department of Corrections and the Probation Service, said former agency officials.

The agency also issued a report supporting bail reform and the “Less Is More Bill Albany gives parolees more leeway to avoid prison for low-level crimes or technical violations.

But after Adams took office on January 1, the MOCJ went two months without a new leader is named. Her Secretary Deanna Logan, who was appointed Feb. 28, said she has not issued a single public report.

During the pandemic, authorities also played a key role in significantly reducing the number of people locked up in city jails.

Authorities lobbied the NYPD and prosecutors to approve early release, and worked with the remotely controlled court system to make it happen. pressured to release parole violation Such as missing a curfew or failing a drug test.

Rikers Island shutdown planwill reduce the prison population to about 3,544At the peak of the pandemic, the population fell below 3,900 in April 2020 for the first time in decades.

Molina testified Tuesday that the MOCJ is still pressuring the city’s five district attorneys to move forward with a case that has dragged on for months, sometimes years.

But there were 5,887 people behind bars in New York City on Tuesday, slightly more than before the pandemic, according to Department of Corrections data. Post onlineAdvocates of incarcerated people are pressuring the city to depopulate again. outburst of violence When medical delay.

At a board hearing on Tuesday, the DOC Commissioner said “internal projections” indicated the population would rise to 7,000 next year.

“If Rikers has to close, I think we have to think about where the balance of people will go if we don’t reach 3,300 in 2027,” Molina added. Mayor Adams changes ‘violent saboteur’ watchdog

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