Event | Justice

Rikers Island: Reform It — or Shut it Down?

November 18, 2015, 2:00-5:00

The Rikers Island jail complex has become a symbol of criminal justice dysfunction. Last year, The New YorkTimes uncovered 129 serious injuries to inmates. The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York documented widespread abuse and neglect of teenagers in the jail's adolescent unit. And Mayor de Blasio described an environment so toxic that inmates are released “more broken than when they came in.”

The City administration has initiated reforms. But a growing number of community groups, advocates and elected representatives say that piecemeal changes are not enough. Their cry is getting louder: Shut Rikers Down.

Join us for a discussion about what jail reform can and should look like: How can the city move toward a better, smaller jail? What are the right alternatives for adolescents and mentally ill inmates? What community-based supports must be in place to reduce incarceration and recidivism? What are the barriers to real reform and how can they be overcome? This event is co-sponsored by JustLeadershipUSA and the Humanities Action Lab at The New School. 

Neil Barsky, founder and chairman, The Marshall Project
Martin Horn, distinguished lecturer, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, former commissioner of correction, City of New York
Khary Lazarre-White, executive director & co-founder, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol
Ann-Marie Louison, co-director of adult behavioral health programs, CASES
Glenn E. Martin, founder and president, JustLeadershipUSA
Charles Nuñez, community advocate, Youth Represent
Carmen Perez, executive director, The Gathering for Justice and co-founder of Justice League NYC
Jeff Smith, assistant professor of politics and advocacy, Milano School for International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy
Scott M. Stringer, comptroller, City of New York

Moderated by Errol Louis, political anchor, NY1 News and host, "Inside City Hall" 

Article | Juvenile Justice, Criminal Justice Reform

Closing in on 'Close to Home': 
NYC to Open New Juvenile Justice Homes

After more than two years of delays and postponements, New York City officials say they will move forward this month with a long-promised reform of the biggest municipal juvenile justice system in the nation.


Questions abound as the presidential race heats up and both parties strain to forge their identities in a post-Obama world. Why has the Democratic Party been so much more competitive than expected, and what twists and turns can we expect in the coming months? The 2016 Republican primary field is unprecedented in its size and scope; what do Jeb Bush’s challenges – relative his brother's 2000 near-coronation – say about the evolution of his party?

We’ll analyze this and much more with some of the people who will shape the outcomes on both sides, including Lis Smith, deputy campaign manager for Martin O’Malley; leading Republican strategist and CNN contributor Kevin Madden, and top aides from several other 2016 campaigns. Panel will be moderated by Robert George, deputy editorial page editor for the New York Post, and Jeff Smith, assistant professor at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy. 

Recent Event | Income & Poverty 


The rationale for this higher minimum wage is clear:  Since the end of the Great Recession, the majority of job growth in New York, a notoriously high cost-of-living environment, has been in low-wage employment.  While organized labor and its allies have pushed the "Fight for $15" in response, others have voiced concerns that such raises may result in job losses or stymie entrepreneurship.  Is a dramatic raise in the minimum wage the best way to help low-income workers in New York?  Is the situation here comparable to that in other cities, such as Los Angeles, that have been enacting $15 minimum wage laws? Join us a panel of economists, labor leaders, activists, and policymakers to address these questions and more.  

Jennifer Jones Austin, chief executive officer, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies. 
Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU.
Edmund J. McMahon, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and president of the Empire Center for Public Policy
Paul Sonn, program director, National Employment Law Project.
Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the nonprofit Partnership for New York City
Moderated by Darrick Hamilton, associate professor of economics and urban policy, and director of Milano Doctoral Program at The New School. 

Recent Event | Sustainability & Communities


Today, as the third anniversary of Sandy’s deadly landfall nears, the Center for New York City Affairs asks: What’s the post-storm state of social infrastructure in the areas where the storm hit hardest? Have government agencies and philanthropies seized – or missed – chances to strengthen grassroots groups in the storm’s aftermath? And how can the on-going post-Sandy recovery do more to help local residents increase the sum of opportunity, dignity, and hope in their neighborhoods? Join us for a panel discussion with experts in the field of neighborhood recovery and climate change, and organizers from the most affected communities, as we address these questions and more. 

Klaus Jacob, special research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
Onleilove Alston, executive director of Faith in New York.
Hugh Hogan, executive director of the North Star Fund.
Daniel Zarrilli, director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency.
Moderated by John Rudolph, executive producer of Feet in 2 Worlds, an award-winning multi-media platform bringing the voices of immigrant journalists to public programming. 

Fi2W | Immigrants & Global Cities, Politics & Elections  

VOTO 2016

Feet in 2 Worlds and L+R are teaming up to created a new app to help young Latino voters get registered for and engaged in the 2016 election. We need your support to help make this app a reality.

Insideschools | Education, Children 

Don't be late for kindergarten! Apply between Dec. 7-Jan. 15

The Department of Education is certainly keeping parents—and schools—on their toes this year: Families of children born in 2011 will apply to kindergarten between Dec. 7 and Jan. 15, with notifications set to come out in mid-March, a month earlier than last year.

The takeaway for parents is simple: Start your research now, and if you happen to be in the midst of middle school or high school applications season too … well, we don’t envy you. Earlier kindergarten applications means parents will have less time to read up on schools and visit them before ranking and submitting their options. (Note that this year’s week-and-a-half-long public school winter break comes in the midst of this.) Read More. 

Report | Education 


Nearly half of New York City students fail the Algebra 1 Regents exam on the first try. Thousands retake the exam multiple times, caught up in what teachers call the “Algebra whirlpool.” Although both colleges and employers demand advanced math, only 40 percent of students in the Class of 2014 passed more than one math Regents exam—and only one in five advanced high enough to take and pass the state’s Algebra 2 and Trigonometry exam. Read the full brief.

Report | Education, Children


In a sea change in social welfare policy, there’s a sudden surge of policies and programs aimed at addressing behavioral and emotional problems among the city’s youngest children.

The budget for Fiscal Year 2016, which was adopted in June, earmarks at least $15 million for new efforts that are intended to support the social and emotional health of children ages 0-3. This report describes, for the first time, the scope and depth of this fast-growing trend. Read the report.


IN NEED OF SHELTER: Protecting the city's youngest children from the traumas of homelessness

Of the over 20,000 children in homeless shelters, nearly half are under 6 years old. We know from research how crucial the early years are to lifelong development. Yet families now stay an average of over 400 days in city shelters—an eternity for a small child.