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Cruelty and Cost: Money Bail in Buffalo

Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, Colleen Kristich — Apr 26, 2018

This policy report was drafted by Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, Deputy Director at PPG, and Colleen Kristich, Master of Social Work Candidate at the University at Buffalo.It presents new data on bail in Buffalo, including frequency of money bail, average amounts by level and type of offense, and racial disparities. This dataset is based on PPG's observation of 240 arraignment hearings from November 2017 to February 2018.The report includes several stories from Buffalo City Court, …

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Restorative Practices in Buffalo: Building and Rebuilding Community

Kathryn Franco — Apr 21, 2018

Restorative practices/restorative justice (RP or RJ)  is an alternative approach to our current punitive system of addressing conflict and crime. It is an age-old practice with origins in many indigenous cultures and has become increasingly popular in schools, communities and court systems in recent years. Here in Buffalo, individuals began advocating for restorative justice nearly two decades ago. Since then, many organizations, community groups, and schools have been using the practice …

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Body Cameras for the Buffalo Police: Best Practices for Policy Creation

Sarah Wooton — Dec 21, 2017

This policy brief was drafted by Sarah Wooton, policy analyst at Partnership for the Public Good. It recommends that the Buffalo Police Department adopt policies governing the use of body cameras with a focus on six areas: activation, pre-report viewing, footage retention, footage protection, public disclosure of footage, and public input. Research suggests that simply adding body cameras may not improve policing without strong policies in each of these six areas.

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The City of Buffalo Police Department

Sarah Wooton — Dec 21, 2017

This fact sheet was drafted by Sarah Wooton, a policy analyst at Partnership for the Public Good. It documents the history and demographics of the City of Buffalo Police Department, its recent activity, its organization and chain of command, the bodies that are tasked with oversight of the department, and how residents can file a complaint. The fact sheet shares the current schedule of district community meetings happening monthly across the City, and concludes by listing contact information …

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Better Policing for the City of Buffalo: Toward Community, Transparency, and Justice

Andrea Ó Súilleabháin — Sep 26, 2017

This policy brief recommends that the Buffalo Police Department expand its community policing efforts through culture change and incentives, a diversified police force, increased training, improved transparency and oversight, more restorative justice and diversion programs, and the use of crime prevention through environmental design.  The brief is based on “Collaboration, Communication, and Community-Building: A New Model of Policing for 21st Century Buffalo,” a 2016 PPG …

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Collaboration, Communication and Community-Building

Open Buffalo Nov 18, 2016

As the nation strives to improve police-community relations, safeguard the lives of officers and residents, and reduce crime while respecting civil liberties, voices around the country – from President Obama to ordinary citizens – are calling for more community policing.  The Buffalo Police Department (BPD) has taken important steps toward embracing community policing, such as hiring community police officers, providing all officers with some community policing training, …

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Access to Justice in Buffalo and Beyond: Making the Justice System More Welcoming for Refugees

Fidèle Menavanza — Jun 23, 2016

As an essential human right, much has been written about access to justice. Still, too many poor people lack this essential access all over the world when they face major life challenges. The issue confronts people experiencing poverty around the globe, as well as close to home. Access to justice for the most vulnerable is as encompassing as our country is diverse, affecting all races, ethnic groups, and ages. Victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities, homeowners facing …

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The Potential Impact of Legalizing, Regulating, and Taxing Marijuana on Erie County and New York State

Sam Magavern — Oct 28, 2015

The costs of continuing the prohibition of marijuana far outweigh the benefits.  Prohibition costs the public a large amount of money in law enforcement expenses and lost tax revenue; it imposes great harms on individuals, families and neighborhoods by criminalizing relatively harmless behavior and spawning a large, violent, underground economy; and it contributes heavily to the large racial disparities in our criminal justice system.

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Lisa Strand Interview

The Public Good Radio — May 26, 2015

The Public Good Radio interview with Lisa Strand of the Legal Aid Bureau on WUFO AM 1080.

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Initiatives for a Stronger Community

Mark Poloncarz — Mar 31, 2015

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Poverty, Race, and Community Policing in Buffalo

Mark Poloncarz Mar 27, 2015

The region’s inequality has dramatic effects in every aspect of life, and the criminal justice system is no exception.  As PPG documented in its 2013 report, Alarming Disparities, African-Americans account for 14% of Erie County’s population but 43% of arrests and 65% of prison sentences, and Hispanics represent 4.7% of the population but 7% of arrests and 9% of prison sentences.  For some charges, the disparities are especially striking; for example, African-Americans …

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Prisons of Poverty

Teresa A. Miller — Mar 1, 2014

The Buffalo Poverty Research Workshop V interview with Teresa A. Miller, Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Professor of Law at the University at Buffalo.

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Alarming Disparities: The Disproportionate Number of African American and Hispanic People in Erie County Criminal Justice System

Open Buffalo — Nov 1, 2013

This study on the disproportionate number of African-American and Hispanic people in the Erie County criminal justice system reveals four findings for further analysis.  Representation of the African-American and Hispanic populations is disproportionately high in each stage of the criminal justice process, from arrest through sentencing.  The disparities grow worse at each stage of the process.  Violent felonies and drug felonies yield the greatest racial disparities.  The …

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Gang Prevention in Buffalo, NY and National Best Practices

Gabriella Agostinelli — Apr 25, 2013

While there is no consensus over a specific definition of “gang,” research has identified a group of characteristics to discern whether a group is a “gang.”  According to the Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention, these characteristics include: formal organizational structure (not a syndicate), identifiable leadership, identified territory, recurrent interaction, and engaging in serious or violent behavior.

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Best Practices in Mental Health at Corrections Facilities

Sahil Jain — Nov 1, 2011

Police, court personnel, and correctional staff interact with, stabilize, and treat more persons with mental illness than any other system in America—making criminal justice agencies the largest mental health provider in the United States.  Yet a wide gap exists between the training of corrections staff and the enormous responsibility they have for day-to-day management of mental health issues.  To narrow this gap in jail and prison settings, the best practices include training …

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The Erie County Holding Center and Correctional Facility

Rachel Jones — May 2, 2009

The Erie County Holding Center is a maximum security detention center.  The Center is used to house inmates before their trials.  The Erie County Holding Center is located at 40 Delaware, Buffalo New York, 14202.  The Erie County Correctional Facility is a medium security facility, which can house 1,070 inmates.  It holds inmates who have committed a variety of different crimes.  The Correction Facility also houses parole violators for the State of New York.  These …

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Alternatives to Incarceration

Regional Institute — Oct 10, 2007

Like criminal justice officials throughout the country, Erie County officials and criminal justice system stakeholders are grappling with jail conditions at the Erie County Holding Center and Erie County Correctional Facility that can be summed up in two words: chronic overcrowding.  With jail construction costs skyrocketing and the nature of the jail population changing, identifying obstacles in the system that contribute to overcrowding and implementing alternatives to incarceration …

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Violent Crime in the City of Good Neighbors

Regional Institute — Feb 1, 2007

A look at violent crime rates over the past twenty years shows that the ebb and flow of crime in Buffalo has reflected trends in many other cities: up in the early ‘90s, down during the mid and late ‘90s and rising gradually since 2000.  Similarly, the city’s shrinking police force is mirrored elsewhere as cities struggle with limited resources— resources that are hard to direct given uncertainty about the causes of crime.

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