NCCJD Activities

The Arc CEO gives address to Civil Rights Act anniversary event
The Department of Justice Community Relations Service (CRS) contacted NCCJD to request a panelist for an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. On July 14, 2014, The Arc’s CEO, Peter Berns, provided remarks at the White House CRS Session entitled: Civil Rights and Hate Crimes Prevention Act: Impact and Best Practices. Mr. Berns addressed the difficulties of prosecuting hate crimes based on disability, including both the statute’s requirement that the crime be in or affecting interstate commerce, and the lack of criteria for law enforcement officers trying to identify a hate crime because a person has a disability. Because of these difficulties, crimes are often prosecuted as hate crimes based on another protected class—for instance race—and the disability issues are underplayed, reinforcing an environment where attackers feel they can victimize people with disabilities with impunity. CRS has worked with chapters of The Arc in the past regarding hate crime situations. CRS helps local communities address community conflicts and tensions arising from differences and helps communities develop strategies to prevent and respond to violent hate crimes.

NCCJD provides consultation for Vera Institute of Justice’s Blueprint to End Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities
NCCJD will be participating in a Vera Institute of Justice Roundtable August 5-6, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. Vera’s Center on Victimization and Safety is working in partnership with the Ms. Foundation to create a blueprint for a national strategy to end sexual abuse of children with disabilities and Deaf children. The three-prong approach to the blueprint includes:

  1. Addressing barriers children with disabilities and Deaf children experience when accessing services;
  2. Articulating effective approaches to holding those who sexually abuse children with disabilities accountable; and
  3. Identifying/developing disability-informed primary prevention tactics that account for the unique dynamics in the lives of children with disabilities.

This is part of NCCJD’s continued partnership with Vera to effectively address this issue, especially as it relates to children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. NCCJD previously provided consultation for Vera’s issue brief on this important topic.

The Arc Applauds Stay of Execution of Robert Campbell, Vows to Continue Legal Advocacy Efforts
NCCJD is grateful that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Supreme Court’s ruling, saving Robert Campbell’s life. While we can appreciate justice being served, we were far too close to witnessing a grave miscarriage of justice. There are still many questions surrounding this trial, and we hope to hear answers as to why evidence regarding Mr. Campbell’s IQ was withheld until very recently. In a life or death situation, it is disturbing that all the facts were not being presented.

NCCJD provides written testimony for Senate hearing
On April 29, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Senate’s Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, chaired a hearing entitled “Law Enforcement Responses to Disabled Americans: Promising Approaches for Protecting Public Safety.” Because of inadequate social and mental health services, law enforcement officers have increasingly become the first responders for individuals with mental illness or intellectual/developmental disabilities who are in crisis. Recent high-profile tragedies demonstrate the need for law enforcement officers to receive additional training to safely address these situations. NCCJD provided written testimony, as did a number of NCCJD’s National Advisory Committee members.


NCCJD's Reading List - Readability
NY killer off death row as definition of disabled gets tweak
NEW YORK — Prosecutors say Ronell Wilson is a calculating murderer. Since his imprisonment for killing two New York City police detectives, he has been able to dash off emails, memorize…
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 8:25:49 PM

Pa. district judges take course on how to identify, work with autistic defendants in court
Autism in Pa.
Monday, March 07, 2016 10:22:50 PM

Children with mental disability and access to justice
IMAGE: Children with mental disability and access to justice. view more Credit: UC3M The research project, called Access to Justice for Children with Mental Disabilities, was designed to address…
Wednesday, March 02, 2016 1:11:59 PM

Family Outraged With Court’s Decision in Autistic Son’s Felony Assault Case
Paul Gordo, 18, appeared in court on Wednesday to face a felony assault charge stemming from an incident in which he injured a woman in Monterey, California. Gordo’s family confirmed…
Saturday, February 27, 2016 5:08:36 PM

How The Flint Water Crisis Could Send An Entire Generation To Prison
Justice by Carimah Townes Jan 22, 2016 10:58 am As Flint residents deal with the consequences of poisoned water, lawmakers, activists, and locals are already predicting what the crisis mean
Friday, January 22, 2016 11:28:45 AM

What 'Making a Murderer' Reveals About the Justice System and Intellectual Disability
I can't stop thinking about Brendan Dassey. Like everyone with a Netflix account, I've spent the past few weeks riveted by the true-crime documentary Making a Murderer and its depiction of an…
Monday, January 11, 2016 3:11:05 PM

What Happened to Adam
One winter day nearly eight years ago, Lori Kennedy-Shields dashed off an email to her son’s private boarding school before starting the 90-minute drive through Florida’s rural…
Saturday, December 12, 2015 10:26:17 AM

These police recruits are being trained to be guardians, not warriors
Rahr, the former sheriff of King County, is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on this type of training. In April, the Harvard Kennedy School published a report she co-wrote,…
Thursday, December 10, 2015 2:32:08 PM

Franklin Township police officer helps non-verbal boy with autism get communication device
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP (WABC) -- A New Jersey police officer's act of kindness is going viral after he went above and beyond the call of duty to help a missing boy with autism.The 16-year-old, named Zion,…
Friday, December 04, 2015 8:27:00 PM

How Memphis has changed the way police respond to mental health crises
MEGAN THOMPSON: Police officer Christopher Ross patrols a precinct on the south side of Memphis …an area with a very high rate of crime.  Ross sees a lot of violence, drug use and…
Saturday, November 07, 2015 6:41:28 PM