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Criminal Justice

 

Criminal Justice Committee Activities

 

Court Watch NOLA

Established in June 2007 in response to the need of greater accountability, transparency and efficiency in the criminal justice system, Court Watch NOLA was conceived by Citizens for 1 Executive Committee Members in coordination with Common Good, Metropolitan Crime Commission, and Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region. Following its creation in June 2007, a professional executive director and board of directors have been established.

 

www.courtwatchnola.org

 

New Orleans Crime Coalition 

Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans is a founding member of New Orleans Crime Coalition -- a coalition of regional businesses and civic organizations urging city leaders to focus the resources of the police, prosecutors, and the judicial system on convicting and incarcerating the most violent criminal defenders. The coalition officially launched in February 2007. Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans serves on the Executive Committee

Efforts to secure federal funding for established priorities have been achieved.

www.crimecoalitionnola.org

 

Orleans Parish Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative/Youth Study Center

Citizens for 1, through its Criminal Justice Reform Committee, has worked with Orleans Parish Juvenile Court in its Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), supported by Annie E. Casey Foundation through their recognized national best practice research and delivery of service model.

 

The Initiative’s advisory committee, on which Criminal Justice Reform Committee members are represented, has worked to assess and respond to the need for services based on the current and future juvenile population. Committee members have advocated a continuum of care/service model and have testified at City Council Meetings.

 

The committee extensively researched best practices and proposed that conditions improve for youth housed at the Orleans Parish Youth Study Center (YSC). A written report was compiled that included observations and research and was widely distributed. Recommendations were discussed with appropriate government officials.

 

Victim Allies Project (VAP)

In partnership with V.O.T.E. Nola and Silence is Violence, Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans created a pilot project to formalized a coordinated victim assistance efforts into the Victim Allies Project. The Victim Allies Project is dedicated to seeking respect for victims of homicide and their families. Volunteer partners help victim-survivors navigate the criminal justice process. Through partnerships with the NOPD, the District Attorney, the Criminal Sheriff, and the Department of Justice, we hope that VAP will help to heal the relationship between victims and the system, and ultimately strengthen the ability of the system to provide justice and comfort to victims. Department of Justice, through HOPE II grant provided initial support and training material.

 

New Orleans Children’s Youth and Planning Board (CYPB)

CYPB was appointed in 2009 by the New Orleans City Council, mandated by state law. By acting for the common good, the New Orleans Children Youth and Planning Board will ensure that all children, youth and families are provided opportunities for success. Strategic planning has been initiated. Plans include efforts to:

 

  • Align services
  • Assess needs
  • Develop a Comprehensive Plan to be submitted to the Children’s Cabinet at the state level (the Children’s Cabinet determines fiscal needs for services and rolls that into budget)
  • Advocate for local needs

 

Domestic Violence

The vicious cycle of Domestic, Family and Relationship Violence/Abuse effects not only those immediately involved, but also the community as a whole. Violence can escalate and impact others outside the home. Children exposed to violence may perpetuate the cycle in life. Preventative measures, supportive programs, safe environments along with educating children in the community as well as developing enabling tools are necessary to disrupt and end the cycle. Additionally, legislative advocacy to strengthen laws to protect victims and their rights is essential.

  

Advocacy 

Advocacy efforts are promoted to support city and state legislation that positively impact the effectiveness of criminal justice reform; including but not limited to juvenile justice areas, victim rights, and fiscal support of an efficient and transparent criminal justice system. These efforts are often in coordination with governmental agencies and nonprofit criminal justice support organizations seeking support or reform.

 

These coordinated activities first require careful assessment of needs and open communication of desired outcome measures. Testimony, written statements, and letters of support are primary advocacy methods utilized.

Advocacy efforts:

 

  • New Orleans City Council Hearings and Committees including Budget and Criminal Justice.
  • Louisiana State Legislative Sessions (link to Legislative charts from 09 and 10)
  • Participation at roundtable discussions and appointments to short term Task Forces. These have included participation with the Department of Justice, Unites States Louisiana Senators and Representatives, US Attorney General, and Mayor’s Office