15th Anniversary Celebration
Center for Court Innovation Celebrates 15 Years of Justice Reform
Mayor Bloomberg, Chief Judge Lippman Honor Accomplishments of Unique Public-Private Partnership
NEW YORK, Oct. 4, 2011—Hundreds of guests, including New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, celebrated the Center for Court Innovation and its founding director John Feinblatt at a 15th anniversary benefit.
“Throughout his career, John [Feinblatt] has been a force for challenging conventional wisdom and disrupting the status quo. That is the defining spirit of the Center for Court Innovation,” Bloomberg said. (Listen to excerpts of the evening’s speakers here).
Over 250 people packed the Chelsea Art Museum's airy loft overlooking the Hudson River. Among the guests were former New York State Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance Jr., dozens of judges, city commissioners, past and present staff of the Center for Court Innovation, and scores of supporters. The evening’s master of ceremonies was Emmy-award winning reporter Jonathan Dienst of WNBC.
Bloomberg highlighted a number of initiatives that the Center has helped create, including the Harlem Parole Reentry Court, Queens Engagement Strategies for Teens, and Bronx Community Solutions. “By giving judges more options, more carrots and more sticks, the Center gives defendants a better chance to turn their lives around and stay out of trouble,” the three-term mayor said. “Reducing recidivism is one of the toughest things to do in criminal justice, but it is probably the most important and has the greatest impact on crime rates. Everybody wins when it happens, our streets are safer, taxpayers spend less money on jail, and people put their talents to more productive uses. And I think it’s fair to say that no one has been as effective at finding new ways to reduce recidivism than the Center for Court Innovation.” (Click here to see more photos on the mayor’s flickr page. Click here to see New York Law Journal's coverage of the event).
Lippman noted that the Center has helped the New York court system defy conventional wisdom by demonstrating that “it is possible to reduce both crime and incarceration.” He added: “There are many reasons why New York has been able to achieve these remarkable results. Certainly, the Center for Court Innovation, with its support of thoughtful innovation and well-crafted and well-evaluated alternatives to incarceration, has been part of this story.”
Center Director Greg Berman highlighted John Feinblatt’s accomplishments: “The number one lesson that I ever learned from John is that rhetoric is ultimately meaningless and that, at the end of the day, action trumps talk.… It’s John’s commitment to making things happen in the real world that has given us the Midtown Community Court, that has given us the Center for Court Innovation, that has given us a reformed juvenile justice system in New York City, that has given us success in the national fight against illegal guns.”
Feinblatt, who leads many of the Bloomberg administration’s anti-crime initiatives, said that the mayor has encouraged him to bring the creative spirit from the Center for Court Innovation to his work for the city. The mayor “doesn’t just ask 'how can we do it better?' but 'why do we do it that way in the first place?' I think that’s the same spirit that has animated the Center for Court Innovation—its willingness to challenge orthodoxy,” Feinblatt said.
Over the course of 15 years, the Center has created nearly two dozen demonstration projects in New York and New Jersey. The Center has also worked with New York’s court system to develop more than 200 drug treatment courts, domestic violence courts, mental health courts, and community courts throughout the state; authored groundbreaking research demonstrating the efficacy of drug treatment as an alternative to incarceration; and received numerous national awards, including the Peter F. Drucker Award for Non-Profit Innovation and the Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University and the Ford Foundation.
Video: Center for Court Innovation Director Greg Berman
Center for Court Innovation director Greg Berman talks about the growth of the agency.
Video: Former New York State Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye
Excerpts from an interview about public-private partnership and the spread of new ideas throughout the judiciary.
Video: City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden
Excerpts from an interview about John Feinblatt and the origins of the Midtown Community Court.
Video: Center for Court Innovation
This eight-minute video introduces viewers to the Center for Court Innovation.