Written by Kathleen Rice, Nassau County District Attorney Thursday, 26 September 2013 00:00I don’t think anyone would disagree with me that there is nothing more important than the futures of our community’s children. Yet, in New York, too many of those futures are being limited and postponed by a state criminal justice system that treats kids – 16- and 17-year-olds – accused of nonviolent crimes like hardened adult criminals.
Forty-eight other states have found these kids worthy of redirection, rehabilitation and age-appropriate intervention. New York’s justice system should follow suit and change the way it handles kids accused of minor, nonviolent offenses.
To treat kids who end up in the criminal justice system as the adults they have yet to become – regardless of the crime committed – is out of line with what we know about adolescent brain development, maturation and decision making. How New York treats these nonviolent offenders is immoral. It’s wrong. And it makes us less safe.
Arresting and jailing nonviolent kids only increases the likelihood that they will miss a job shift or a school class, or that they will be assaulted while in custody – all significant precursors to future criminality. Adult facilities offer fewer of the redirection and rehabilitation opportunities that we know get kids back on paths to success.
The fact is, introducing nonviolent kids to the adult justice system more often opens the door to lives of crime than it does scare kids away from them.
Redirecting nonviolent children away from adult jails, court appearances and sentences doesn’t only make moral and crime-fighting sense, it’s also a smarter use of our tax dollars and our law-enforcement resources. Less crime means less cost to you, me, and our neighbors, and more time for our police to go after violent and repeat offenders.
We can do better. We can provide kids who have committed nonviolent offenses with programs, courtroom settings and punishments that fit their age, their crime and their need for redirection.
This issue shouldn’t be that complicated or controversial. Kids who murder, rob, carry guns, assault or rape should continue to be dealt with by an adult justice system that mirrors the severity of their crimes and protects the public from their threat. But that same system shouldn’t also be leveled against teens accused of minor, nonviolent offenses – those teens we know we have a good chance of redirecting if dealt with thoughtfully.
Reforming the way our state’s justice system handles these nonviolent kids to better reflect what we know about adolescent brain development and curbing recidivism will lead to safer streets and cost savings, and it will prove that our justice system is capable of being both tough and smart when it comes to protecting the public and the future of our community’s most valuable resource.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
For the first time in its history, the Massapequa High School Mock Trial Team was invited to hone its skills at Harvard University’s High School Training Seminar. The seminar offers a range of basic and advanced classes that better position teams to win state and national competitions.
Participants — seniors Rebecca Girardin, Jenna Petrungaro, Christie Flanders, Cameron Wunderlin, Justin Jakubowski and juniors Selin Solen, Jeremy Wiss, Griffin Konen, Emily O’Leary, Nicole Feeley, Nicolle Dananberg, Taylor DelValle, Jillian Prystupa and Katie McMahon — called the experience, “amazing.”
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 10:58
These days, raising kids is rougher and tougher than ever — sometimes parents just need a break. And when that break is beaconing, both new parents and old pros look to the ever-reliable babysitter to provide a few hours respite from the many duties of caring for children.
However, parents often have a difficult time locating an honest, trustworthy and reliable babysitter in a pinch. But the Massapequa Public Library’s Babysitter Job Fair aimed to remedy this problem.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
With the Nassau County title on the line, junior kicker Zach Kolodny was the most composed player on the field. With time expiring, he booted the game-winning kick to send the Farmingdale Dalers into the Long Island Championship with a 29-26 victory over the Massapequa Chiefs.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Kolodny. “I was confident from the beginning that I would make the kick,” he added. “We practice this every day.”
The game featured a bevy of twists and took on a completely different feel in the fourth quarter than it did for the first three quarters.
Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:00
It was a historic day for the Chiefs as both the boys and girls varsity soccer teams capped the season with state championship titles. The win was the first state championship for the boys, who defeated Fairport, 1-0 at SUNY Cortland and the fifth for the girls, who beat North Rockland, 2-1 in Middletown, New York.
The winning goal for the boys team was scored by sophomore Dylan Nealis, who just the day before scored the winning goal in the AA state semifinal.