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Brooklyn DA and Kings County Criminal Bar Association make a difference with suit drive

December 26, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Brooklyn DA and the Kings County Criminal Bar Association collected more than 50 suits in a recent suit drive. Pictured from left: Kevin Livingston from 100 Suits for 100 Men, DA-elect Eric Gonzalez, Michael Cibella and Michael Farkas. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
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The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and the Kings County Criminal Bar Association (KCCBA) teamed up recently for a coat drive that collected more than 50 coats that will be donated to people who have been recently released from prison.

Brooklyn DA-elect Eric Gonzalez was joined by Michael Cibella, president of the KCCBA, and Michael Farkas, immediate past president of the KCCBA, as well as Kevin Livingston from 100 Suits for 100 Men, a Queens-based nonprofit, in the lobby of the DA’s Office in Downtown Brooklyn last Wednesday to announce their success.

“Our combined efforts today have made this suit collection drive a complete success,” said Gonzalez. “Together we collected over 50 suits in about a week’s time. This is really important because we all know how good we feel when we present ourselves appropriately at the workplace. When we look sharp, we feel better about ourselves and that impacts what people think about us.”

This is the second coat drive the Brooklyn DA’s Office has conducted this year. The first one, back in February, was largely successful thanks to a donation by LuShawn Thompson — all of her late husband’s, former Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson’s, old suits. Gonzalez explained that thanks to that donation, the drive was such a success that they had to hold another one.

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“The suits that were donated from DA Thompson were donated to men coming home from parole,” Livingston said. “One gentleman had been home for three hours and hadn’t worn a suit in 25 years. When he put on Ken Thompson’s jacket, he didn’t want to take it off.”

Cibella said that his association felt compelled to join in because its members saw direct results from beneficiaries of the 100 Suits for 100 Men program.

“Every day myself and our members are in the courthouses, in the department of probation, at various programs and we see men and women in the criminal justice system looking for a way out,” Cibella said. “This helps to provide them with a new opportunity to get a new start and to dress for success. This program is about giving people dignity, self-esteem and the confidence to go out there and start a new life.”

Gonzalez explained that this is a part of an effort from his office to help people who are returning from prison. He explained that helping those immediately after leaving the criminal justice system often can help to further reduce crime by cutting down on recidivism.

“It’s important that people returning home know that they can turn to us and the DA’s Office for help getting acclimated back into the community,” Gonzalez said. “We have a reentry task force and a Kings County ComALERT [Community and Law Enforcement Together], which helps provide services for anyone coming home.”


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