As prepared for delivery
Education, Fire and Criminal Justice Services, and Juvenile Justice
Educational Services for Detained and Placed Youth
November 30, 2016
Good morning Speaker Mark-Viverito, Chairs Dromm, Crowley, and Cabrera, and members of the City Council committees on Education, Fire and Criminal Justice Services, and Juvenile Justice. I am Francis Torres, Assistant Commissioner of Education and Youth Advocacy Services at the Department of Correction (DOC).
DOC is responsible for the care, custody, and control of all people aged sixteen and older who are issued bail or remanded to custody while awaiting trial in New York City, as well as a small population of individuals who are sentenced to a year or less. In New York, sixteen and seventeen year olds are considered adults in the criminal justice system, so any sixteen and seventeen year old who is arrested in New York City, regardless of the charge, is processed through the adult system and may come to DOC custody.
As the Council is aware, a major focus of the Department in the last few years has been to manage young people according to their unique needs. This includes providing access to age- appropriate education services to adolescents (sixteen and seventeen year olds) and young adults (eighteen through twenty-one year olds). These education services are provided by the New York City Department of Education.
The Department of Education operates the East River Academy (ERA) in eight DOC facilities. Under District 79, ERA provides high school instruction and educational services for students ages sixteen through twenty-one. All adolescents must go to school. School is optional for young adults, but DOC strongly encourages that young adults attend school if they have not graduated from high school already.
In addition to the services provided by DOE, DOC partners with several organizations to provide educational services to youth, including:
monthly with participants. The CCF counselor provides general information on the college application process and provides a workshop on financial literacy. Once released, CCF guides participants through the college application process and provides support throughout their college life. Once accepted to college, students are given an academic stipend upon completion of 12 credits and 2.5 GPA.
I would like to comment on Introduction 1148, which would require DOC to report on the education system for incarcerated adolescents and young adults. DOC echoes DOE’s support of transparency around the adolescents in our custody and will work with the Council to ensure that the report meets this goal.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I am happy to answer any questions that you have.