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Suffolk County Sheriff Chosen to Lead Countywide Criminal Justice Initiative

Categories: | Author: sheriff sheriff | Posted: 7/11/2014 | Views: 5357

The Suffolk County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) has a new Chairman.  Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco was notified of his appointment to the post by County Executive Steve Bellone on June 18, 2014.  As its new Chair, the Sheriff will play a primary role in improving criminal justice policy and enhancing collaboration among government, law enforcement and non-profit agency partners for the purpose of reducing crime and inmate recidivism in Suffolk County. Although the CJCC will not meet again until September, the Sheriff has already begun the process of reaching out to individual members to solicit comments and suggestions. 

“I want to thank County Executive Steve Bellone for his trust and confidence in me to lead the County’s CJCC.  As the county wrestles with fiscal challenges, I strongly believe we can realize savings for the County’s taxpayers through coordinated crime reduction strategies, enhancements to community corrections and by pursuing more federal and state grant opportunities. I look forward to working closely with the members of the CJCC to realize these goals,” stated Sheriff DeMarco.

The appointment comes at a time of heightened focus on issues related to crime reduction strategies and prisoner reentry.  On July 8, 2014, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the formation of the New York State Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration, with similar goals. 

“Today I sent a letter to Governor Cuomo and the new Executive Director of the Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration pledging our cooperation and collaboration on issues of mutual interest.  I also invited them to Suffolk County to see some of our reentry programs,” stated DeMarco. 

The County Sheriff has been at the forefront of a national trend towards developing effective inmate rehabilitation programs and coordinating community-based services for individuals reentering our communities after spending time in jail.  Due in part to these efforts, there has been a significant decrease in the county jail population since he first took office.  In 2005, the daily jail population averaged close to 2000 inmates, and now that figure is less than 1500.

In 2011, Sheriff DeMarco launched the Youth Tier and Youth Reentry Task Force Initiative to improve outcomes for incarcerated youth in the county jails, and the award-winning program has become a national model in the field of corrections.  The Sheriff’s Youth Reentry Task Force, which has grown to more than 40 members from the fields of mental health, education, government and corrections, has played an integral role in the program’s success.  As of 2014, the recidivism rate among the 150 young people who have participated in the Youth Tier and Reentry Initiative is less than 12% over a 2.5 year period, which is far below the average rate of re-incarceration.  According to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, upwards of 80% of young people who serve time in prison will return within a five year time span. Similar studies conducted on local jail populations indicate that 60% or more will return within a three-year period.   

While the Sheriff’s Youth Reentry Task Force concentrates its efforts on the county jail population, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council has a mandate to improve outcomes for individuals returning to Suffolk from the state prison system.  It also serves as the local ‘Alternative to Incarceration’ (ATI) Advisory Board and as the administrative body for the Suffolk County Reentry Task Force. 

“I know firsthand how crime affects people, and residents are often fearful when someone returns to their community after serving time in state prison.  It’s imperative that we ensure that community-based services are in sync with law enforcement strategies so that we can prevent future criminal behavior, and that’s what I intend to do as Chair of the CJCC,” added Sheriff DeMarco. 

About the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council

The Suffolk County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) was established in 1974.

The primary purpose of the CJCC is to reduce crime and recidivism by promoting communication, collaboration, education, system-wide coordination, and decision-making among local juvenile and adult criminal justice agencies and local government, resulting in increased public safety for all of Suffolk County.

CJCC Webpage:  www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/CriminalJusticeCoordinatingCouncil.aspx

 


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