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The Bronx Defenders Policy & Community

Thurston Talk: Thurston County Wins Grant from Center for Holistic Defense

The county’s Director of the Office of Assigned Counsel and a handful of staff members traveled to New York City last week thanks to a technical assistance grant from the Center for Holistic Defense. Thurston County’s Office of Assigned Counsel is one of only four teams in the nation to win a 2014-2015 technical assistance…

The Epoch Times: Help, Not Incarceration

NEW YORK—Anthony Cruz is a different man now that he has been locked up several times. Before serving his 10-year sentence in New York state prisons for manslaughter in the first degree he was diagnosed with adjustment disorder and depression, among other mental health conditions. Cruz spent a total of three years in solitary confinement,…

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…

Emma Ketteringham and Elizabeth Keeney to present at 10th National Harm Reduction Conference this Thursday

This Thursday, October 23rd, Emma Ketteringam, Managing Director of the Family Defense Practice, and Elizabeth Keeney, Managing Director of Social Work will be presenting at the 10th National Harm Reduction Conference in Baltimore, MD. The biannual conference, sponsored and organized by the Harm Reduction Coalition, is the only multidisciplinary gathering dedicated to improving the health and well-being of…

Genia Blaser Testifies at New York City Council’s Committee on Immigration Hearing

“Every day, advocates at our office witness firsthand how the promise of due process held out by the 5th Amendment is unrealized by our non-citizen clients solely because of immigration status.  Whenever ICE has lodged a detainer against a non-citizen client and the client’s criminal case carries potential immigration consequences, that client is unable to…

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…

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…

BxD’s Mary Anne Mendenhall on Hot 97 ‘Street Soldiers’ discussing the Adrian Peterson child abuse case

Yesterday, September 21, 2014, Bronx Defenders Family Defense Practice Supervising Attorney Mary Anne Mendenhall joined in a compelling discussion on NFL player Adrian Peterson’s ongoing child abuse case, offering keen insights into the experiences and challenges faced by Bronx Defenders clients in Bronx Family Court. The episode of Hot 97’s “Street Soldiers” with host Lisa Evers brought…

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…

Huffington Post: At Hearing On NYPD Force, The ‘5,000-Pound Elephant In The Room’ Is ‘Broken Windows’

NEW YORK — It took two hours during Monday’s packed City Council hearing with NYPD Commissioner William Bratton for someone to mention “broken windows.” It was council member Robert Cornegy (D-Brooklyn) who finally broached the subject, calling the controversial policing strategy the “5,000-pound elephant in the room.” Cornegy made the remark while questioning Bratton about…

The Christian Science Monitor: Retraining the NYPD after chokehold death

NEW YORK — The New York City Police Department outlined a new tactical training program on Monday as the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio continues its efforts to mend the fractured relationship between the nation’s largest police force and the city’s minority communities. Speaking before the New York City Council Monday morning, police Commissioner…

The Bronx Defenders Welcomes Its 2014 Training Teams and New Hires!

The Bronx Defenders is proud to announce the start of its 2014 Training Teams as well as many new hires throughout the office. For the first time ever, The Bronx Defenders will welcome two training teams to the office. Throughout the next twelve months, our new attorneys will receive intensive training in holistic defense, working…

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…