The new accelerated Immigration Court process for unaccompanied immigrant children that began this week is working, said Jojo Annobil, Attorney-in-Charge of The Legal Aid Society's Immigration Law Unit. The next challenge, he told the New York Times, is to figure out how to provide a lawyer for every child who needs it.
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The New York Times, in a number of articles, has been reporting about the increased violence at Rikers Island and has pointed to the guards at the heart of the problem. In yesterday's Times, the article cited the lawsuits brought by the Prisoners' Rights Project of The Legal Aid Society and quoted Jonathan Chasan, a Supervising Attorney in the project, and Mary Lynne Werlwas, a Staff Attorney. Chasan told the Times that one of the more successful suits led to the stationing of federal monitors to oversee the solitary-confinement cellblocks in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including the supervision of staffing decisions. “If someone had a history of violence, they were turned away,” Chasan said. “The result was a dramatic decrease of abuse.”
NPR produced a segment last week on community reaction to policing on Staten Island's North Shore, Christopher Pisciotta, Attorney-in-Charge of the Society's Criminal Practice Office in Staten Island, said that the broken windows approach focusing on low-level offenses to prevent bigger ones has created resentment.
During The Legal Aid Society's 75th anniversary celebration (1951), the Honorable Learned Hand, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, declared: "If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: Thou shalt not ration justice."
Members of The Legal Aid Staff provided Know Your Rights assistance during Council Member Mark Levine's Summer Fair on August 7. Staff from the Harlem Community Law Office were in the Society's Mobile Justice Unit offering assistance.