LAWFUEL – Legal News, Legal Jobs Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, announces the opening of the Liberty Square Computer Center as part of the Public Housing Safety Initiative (“PHSI”), an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Justice to improve safety in public housing throughout the nation. PHSI’s focus in Miami is the Liberty Square Housing Development, the largest federally funded public housing development in the Southeast.
Project Liberty, as the Miami initiative is called, is the result of federal and local law enforcement cooperation with community-based organizations to deter and prevent criminal activity in public housing through community activities that provide an alternative to gang and other criminal involvement. Project Liberty’s community-based activities are aimed not only at lowering drug involvement and violent crime among community residents, but also at developing a long-lasting and positive relationship between law enforcement and the community. Project Liberty will focus on youth education and deterrence through the revitalization of a state-of-the-art computer technology center and a sports and recreation project offering incentives for academic achievement, participation in life skills training, and delinquency prevention classes.
The computer lab component of Project Liberty will include sixteen computer workstations, network-connected printers, and high-speed Internet access. The computer lab center will be updated and rededicated as Project Liberty’s Wealth and Education Technology Center (WETC). The WETC will focus on computer training for young people and will serve as a hub for community activities. In addition, the WETC is expected to result in increased participation in after-school academic enrichment activities, tutoring, and academic improvement.
The sports and recreation component of Project Liberty is called “Building Minds, Building Muscles.” The goal of this component of the project is to equip young people with the tools they need to resist criminal influences and gang involvement by stressing participation in organized sports, continued academic diligence, and scholastic improvement.
PHSI is funded and administered through a partnership between the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program was first funded in 2004 in ten cities: Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York, Oakland, Rosebud South Dakota, San Juan Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. Last year, the program was expanded to include nine additional cities across the United States, including Miami.
Among the law enforcement partners in Project Liberty are the United States Attorney’s Office, the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives , the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the United States Marshals Service, and the City of Miami Police Department. In addition, the community-based activities rely on the participation of several key partners, including the Miami–Miami Dade Weed and Seed, the Liberty Square Tenants Council, Helping Hands Inc., and the Miami Dade Housing Authority. Miami-Miami-Dade Weed and Seed will manage the Computer Center and will oversee the “Building Minds Buildings Muscles” sports initiative with Helping Hands Inc. Miami-Miami-Dade Weed and Seed will also work directly with Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center in initiating a GED program at the Development.
United States Attorney Acosta stated, “Programs like Project Liberty are a critical part of our law enforcement efforts because they allow us to provide crime-free alternatives to inner city at-risk youth. Prevention, through education and positive reinforcement, yield far better results than punishment and rehabilitation after the fact. We are part of this community, and we are committed to making it better through participation in programs like this.”
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/ or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov/.