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July 18, 2008

Rep. Velázquez Seeks Answers for Parents Concerned About Impact of New Federal Probabtion Office Location in Brooklyn Heights

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) today sent a letter to the top federal judge in Brooklyn requesting additional consideration for the new location and layout of the Federal Probation office.  The letter was co-signed by members of the Brooklyn Congressional delegation, Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Representatives Edolphus Towns and Yvette D. Clarke. 

The following letter was delivered this afternoon to Raymond J. Dearie, Chief Judge of the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York: 

July 18, 2008

Dear Judge Dearie,

As we recently learned, the Federal Probation and Federal Defenders offices are in the process of consolidating and relocating in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. As we also now know, the new location is right next door to Saint Ann’s School.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this move has inspired a great deal of neighborhood anxiety. In the last few weeks, our offices have received many calls from angry constituents and concerned parents. Understandably, they are alarmed by the idea of school children being in such close proximity to a facility which services offenders. The facility, in fact, will be situated directly between Saint Ann’s lower and upper school buildings.

This move warrants careful consideration. Already, parents and neighbors are engaged in an effective dialogue with the Department of Probation, which appears committed to the security of our children.  As we are sure your office would agree, the safety of our students and the peace of mind of their parents is – and should continue to be – a top priority. We would very much like to work with your office towards this end.

We understand that those visiting the probation facility are generally non-violent offenders on “supervised release.” Nevertheless, the facility’s new setting has given many parents pause. In light of its proximity to Saint Ann’s, particular consideration should be given to factors such as the facility’s immediate location and layout.

Thank you for your consideration of this issue. We appreciate your time and look forward to working with you on this sensitive matter.