Osborne Launches Center for Justice and Policy and Practice

18 April 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

New York, NY, April 18, 2016 A decade after launching a groundbreaking initiative to promote the wellbeing of children affected by arrest and incarceration, the Osborne Association now takes a big step forward in our mission to reduce reliance on incarceration and its human and economic costs, with the launch of the Osborne Center for Justice Policy and Practice (OCJPP).

The OCJPP will generate and advance practice-informed solutions derived from the experience and evidence accumulated through decades of programs and services operating at the bleeding edge of every stage of the criminal justice process. Osborne will contribute uniquely to the growing call to shift away from retributive extreme sentencing that does little to promote public safety and towards more restorative practices for all individuals in the criminal justice system without the false distinctions between individuals convicted of so called non-violent and violent crimes.

The Osborne Association launched the New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents in 2006, drawing on 25 years serving incarcerated parents and their children. Since that time, it has grown into a collaboration of more than 60 city, state, community-based, faith-based, academic and policy organizations committed to raising awareness and reforming policies and practices across the criminal justice continuum and among diverse fields including child welfare, health and mental health, and education.

“While in many ways New York City and State are ahead of other locales in their efforts to reduce rates of incarceration and programs aimed to reduce recidivism, in too many respects policies and practices are retributive and unnecessarily punish incarcerated people and their families and children. We know there is a better way because we’ve walked it with our participants, We are building on decades of practitioner-based expertise within the criminal justice system and our communities to elevate the voices of the people most directly affected by criminal justice policy.”

 

 - Elizabeth Gaynes, president and CEO of the Osborne Association

The Center builds on Osborne’s existing efforts to highlight the largely invisible crises of children with justice-involved parents and those aging in prison. In 2011, we released A Call to Action: Safeguarding New York’s Children of Incarcerated Parents that included 87 recommendations across multiple systems; 5 years since publication, significant progress has been made on many of them, with several being fully achieved. In 2014, we released The High Cost of Low Risk: The Crisis of America’s Aging Prison Population that led to the creation of our Elder Reentry Initiative. The Center will initially work to shift policy and administrative practice around:

  1. Meeting the needs and respecting the rights of children to be considered when decisions are made about them and their parents (including child-sensitive arrest, sentencing decisions, and proximity of prison assignments) to build and maintain meaningful, lifelong relationships with their parents, and to reduce the damaging effects of over-policing and mass incarceration on children and families, and 
  2. Reducing the human and economic costs of extreme sentencing resulting in unprecedented numbers of people aging in prison, expanding the use of compassionate release and medical parole, significantly improving the parole decision and release process, including restorative practices that respect the needs of all those affected by violent crimes.

The Center will be led by Tanya Krupat, who has led the NY Initiative for nearly a decade, and is grounded in the vision of our founder Thomas Mott Osborne who created our earliest predecessor organization—The Mutual Welfare League—in 1913 to shift prisons from society’s “scrap heaps to human repair shops” designed to “restore to society the largest number of intelligent, forceful, honest citizens.”

For more information about the Osborne Association or the Osborne Center for Justice Policy and Practice, contact Jonathan Stenger, Director of Communications at (718) 707-2721 or jstenger@osborneny.org   


 
About the Osborne Association 
Osborne Association has an 83-year history of leadership in working with currently and formerly incarcerated men and women, justice involved adolescents, and families affected by the incarceration of a loved one. The Osborne Association is the oldest organization in New York State providing direct services to justice-involved men and women, at sites in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Newburgh, 9 New York City jails and 22 state correctional facilities. To learn more, visit http://www.osborneny.org.