Another Story from New Haven: Project Restart

May 13, 2009 by Guest Blogger · 1 Comment
Filed under: American Identity, Politics 

By Andrew Grant-Thomas

Some readers will know about Ricci v. DeStefano, a case filed by white firefighters in New Haven, CT, my home town, after the City invalidated the results of a test that would have promoted 15 whites, one Latino and no African Americans. The US Supreme Court recently heard the case.

Last week I read a less-ballyhooed story out of New Haven about a program called Project Restart. The idea is that, rather than perpetuate the sweep-lockup-release cycle that ensnares so many petty drug offenders, the police instead would spend more time targeting high-level dealers while offering lower-level ones sentencing alternatives like school or job training.

The story focuses on Raheem Vaughn, a 19 year-old African American whose criminal record consists of a charge for possession of a mini-ziplock bag of marijuana and a bust for selling $50 worth of the stuff. That record, according to Assistant Police Chief Pete Reichard, leaves him too “hardened” to qualify for the sentencing alternatives.

Seriously? Read more