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Le Nouvel Observateur: Dans L’enfer de Rikers Island

“Several were younger than me, I can’t imagine myself in their places. These youths are completely dehumanized, they are called ‘bing monsters.’ It’s terrible to see that it is considered normal to brutalize youths this young.” – Skylar Albertson, Assistant to the Director, The Bronx Defenders “We have paid bail for 140 people, who were…

Dave Casellas testifies about solitary confinement at NYC Council Hearing

Written Comments of The Bronx Defenders New York City Council Joint Meeting of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services and the Committee on Juvenile Justice Good afternoon. My name is Dave Casellas, and I work as a client coordinator at The Bronx Defenders. In this role, I help Bronx Defenders clients and their families…

Vice: How can we stop cops from beating and killing?

The multitude of black men killed by police led Maryam Monalisa Gharavi to call these last months “the Summer of Death” in her New Inquiry essay “The Killing Class.” In New York, police strangled grandfather Eric Garner. In Ohio, police gunned down John Crawford III in a Walmart while he was checking out an air…

BxD announces the release of its Holistic Defense Symposium report

It has been a very exciting year for the The Bronx Defenders’ Center for Holistic Defense! In May, we hosted the first annual Holistic Defense Symposium, which brought together representatives from 24 different organizations that are working to adopt holistic practices. In the coming weeks, we will begin meeting with our latest group of technical assistance sites. Since 2010,…

New bill passed makes New York City a safer, more just place for immigrants and their families

“Thanks to the City Council’s groundbreaking leadership on this issue, dozens of the Bronx residents we have represented are home with their families, supporting their children, and contributing to their communities” said Robin Steinberg, Executive Director of The Bronx Defenders. “The proposed expansion will mean fairness and justice for more immigrant families in the Bronx.”…

The New Yorker: Getting Teen-agers out of Solitary at Rikers

In this week’s New Yorker, I wrote about a sixteen-year-old boy from the Bronx named Kalief Browder, who was accused of robbery and confined on Rikers Island. He stayed there for three years, waiting for a trial that never happened. For the majority of that time, he was in solitary confinement, locked in a cell…

Los Angeles Times: Op-Ed: Cruel and usual punishment in jails and prisons

The 8th Amendment bans cruel and unusual punishment. Yet it happens every day in prisons across the country. Putting aside capital punishment, which I would argue is cruel and unusual on its face, Americans are ignoring a host of horrific conditions that inmates are subjected to. This is not only morally and constitutionally dangerous; it…

Keston Jones to present at New York State Social Work Education Association 2014 Conference

Keston Jones, Bronx Defenders Parent Advocate, will present at the New York State Social Work Education Association’s Conference on October 9, 2014.  His talk is entitled “Focus on Fathers: Myths and Misconceptions about Low Income African American and Minority Fathers.” The presentation flows from Keston’s work with The Bronx Defenders Focus on Fathers project, which was developed to…

Solitary Watch: Seven Days in Solitary

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. The American Civil Liberties Union released 26 reports alleging extensive abuses in Arizona’s prisons, including claims that individuals are being placed in solitary confinement because prison beds elsewhere are…

Village Voice: Solitary Confinement at Rikers Island is Torture and “Inexcusably Extreme,” Bronx Defenders Say

Inmates are placed in solitary confinement at Rikers Island for “inexcusably extreme” amounts of time, a new report charges, “egregiously disproportionate” to the infractions they are alleged to have committed. While in solitary, it can be difficult for inmates to get access to the most basic of services, including food, showers, and phone time. That’s…

WNYC: In Solitary, Inmates Languish, Despair and Attempt Suicide: Report

The Otis Bantum Correctional Center has the largest solitary confinement unit on Rikers Island. It holds roughly 400 inmates, according to the Board of Correction. The Otis Bantum Correctional Center has the largest solitary confinement unit on Rikers Island. It holds roughly 400 inmates, according to the Board of Correction. (Brigid Bergin/WNYC) A new report…

The Bronx Defenders releases its report “Voices From the Box: Solitary Confinement at Rikers Island”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 12, 2014 Contact: Skylar Albertson, The Bronx Defenders, (347) 842-1215, SkylarA@bronxdefenders.org Voices From the Box: Solitary Confinement at Rikers Island New York – The Bronx Defenders released a report summarizing the experiences of 59 current and former clients who were subjected to extreme isolation in solitary confinement at Rikers Island. The…

Associated Press: NYC immigrant public defender system breaks ground

NEW YORK (AP) — When Curtis Edmund first heard that a government official had come by his Bronx home looking for him, he couldn’t figure out why. But he agreed to a meeting early this year, and when he arrived, he was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. Edmund, a longtime U.S….

The Intercept: America Without the Makeup: Artez Hurston’s Ferguson

A highlight of the challenging and important work that the Arch City Defenders, one of The Bronx Defenders Center for Holistic Defense Training and Technical Assistance Sites, is doing in Missouri: Artez Hurston is curled up on a concrete bench in a Missouri jail cell, fast asleep. He snoozes peacefully, despite the fact that just…

Times-Ledger: Wills’ bill seeks to protect jailed voters’ ballots

The Bronx Defenders Policy Organizer Kamau Butcher quoted in local news article about newly introduced legislation regarding voting while incarcerated. Although jail detainees are kept behind bars, City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) says their votes should not be. Wills introduced a bill at last week’s Council meeting outlining a process for the city Department of Correction…

El Diario: Exigen que se termine el maltrato de reos en las cárceles de NY

Activistas y concejales municipales exigieron a viva voz reformas en las prisiones de la ciudad. El grupo se congregó el lunes en las escalinatas de la alcaldía en donde, de paso, se entregaron más detalles de un proyecto de ley que quiere que los Departamentos de Correccionales y de Salud publiquen información detallada sobre los…

Bronx Defenders Social Workers Represent Holistic Defense at This Year’s National Organization of Forensic Social Work Conference

Last month, The National Organization of Forensic Social Work (NOFSW) held its annual conference, which took place this year in New York at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus. Several social workers and one attorney from The Bronx Defenders attended the conference, including four staff members who presented. Participation in the conference not only presented an exciting learning and…

The Bronx Defenders releases updated Consequences of Criminal Proceedings in New York State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 11, 2014 Contact: Molly Kovel, The Bronx Defenders, 718-508-3421 or MollyK@bronxdefenders.org THE CONSEQUENCES OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS IN NEW YORK STATE, A Comprehensively Updated Guide for Criminal Defense Attorneys, Civil Legal Services Attorneys, and Other Reentry Advocates New York – Today, The Bronx Defenders released an expansive update to our landmark manual detailing…

The New York Times: Ill and in Solitary at Rikers

Read The Bronx Defenders’ Skylar Albertson’s “Letter to Editor” published in The New York Times in response to their recent article on mental illness among inmates at Rikers Island: To the Editor: “Where Mental Illness Meets Brutality in Jail” (front page, July 14) paints a horrifying but accurate picture of the abuse that mentally ill…