How We Can Help
The Center for Court Innovation provides hands-on, expert assistance to reformers around the world, including judges, attorneys, justice officials, community organizations, and others. Having launched dozens of innovative justice initiatives, we know firsthand the nuts-and-bolts of getting a new project off the ground.
Experts from the Center for Court Innovation are available to help justice reformers plan and implement new policies, practices, and technologies, advising on proven approaches that have been tested elsewhere and encouraging experimentation.
Our assistance takes many forms, including help with analyzing data, facilitating planning sessions, and hosting site visits to our operating programs in the New York City area. Qualifying jurisdictions may be eligible for assistance free of charge. We also provide help on a fee-for-service basis.
The Center for Court Innovation is collaborating with the MacArthur Foundation and other non-profit organizations to support jurisdictions across the country as they attempt to safely reduce over-reliance on local jails, with a particular focus on reducing racial and ethnic disparities in their local criminal justice systems. At the heart of this work is the Safety and Justice Challenge, a national competition through which MacArthur is helping jurisdictions design and implement jail-reduction strategies. The Center for Court Innovation, along with the Vera Institute of Justice, Justice Management Institute, and Justice System Partners, is providing technical assistance to participants in the Safety and Justice Challenge. This includes helping local criminal justice officials analyze data, target resources, develop plans, implement strategies, and document impact.
The Center for Court Innovation's technical assistance draws on the organization's experience implementing programs that have been documented to reduce the use of jail and change the behavior of offenders. The Center's technical assistance also builds on the institution's research capacity, which includes a deep investment in creating evidence-based screening tools for identifying the risks and needs of defendant populations.
The Center for Court Innovation’s work in Chicago has focused on reducing the use of incarceration, improving the justice system response to victims, and evaluating the efficacy of reform efforts. Local partners include the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Cook County court system.
Access to Community Treatment Initiative: The Center is helping Cook County courts link non-violent felony and misdemeanor offenders to drug treatment. (Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance)
Human Trafficking Project: The Center is working with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office to develop a prosecutor-led diversion model for victims of human trafficking. (Funded by the State Justice Institute)
Evaluation of the Misdemeanor Deferred Prosecution Enhancement Program: Center researchers are conducting an evaluation of a pretrial diversion program. (Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance)
Our work in California has ranged from seeking to increase indigent defendants’ access to justice to supporting the efforts of a local anti-violence program to improve the well-being of minority youth.
Defender Checklist Project: The Center is working with the San Francisco and Alameda County Public Defender’s Offices to test the effectiveness of checklists in improving the quality of representation of indigent defendants. (Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance)
National Study of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: The Bay Area is one of six regions participating in a study by Center researchers of youth who exchange sex for money. (Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention)
Minority Youth Violence Prevention Initiative: In California, the Center is working with two anti-violence programs that serve minority youth who are at risk of, involved in, or victims of violence. In Alameda County, the Center is working with YouthALIVE!, a hospital-based anti-violence program; in Sacramento, the Center is working with the Sacramento Minority Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, which includes leadership, youth-engagement, and hospital-based programs. (Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health)
Collaborative Justice Courts: We partnered with the California Administrative Office of the Courts to study the extent to which key principles and practices fostered by collaborative justice courts can be applied throughout the state. Center staff and researchers from the Administrative Office of the Courts conducted focus groups and interviews with judges, justice system stakeholders, and social service providers. (Funded by the California Administrative Office of the Courts)
The Center for Court Innovation has helped Delaware implement procedural justice practices in its courts and improve the justice system response to victims of domestic violence.
Victim Advocacy and Safety Enhancement: We helped the Delaware Court of Common Pleas and Superior Court provide case management and support for defendants in New Castle County who are also victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking. (Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention)
Domestic Violence Family Court Enhancement Project: The Center is helping the State of Delaware improve the family court response to cases involving domestic violence. The goal is to ensure that parenting and co-parenting arrangements protect the emotional and physical well-being of victimized parents and their children. (Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention)
Improving Courtroom Communication: We conducted a training for Delaware justices of the peace on the fundamentals of procedural justice and strategies to improve communication with court users. (Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance)
Our Syracuse office provides assistance to justice reformers in Upstate New York. Our work in the region has focused on reducing the use of jail, implementing problem-solving approaches to addicted offenders, and testing new approaches to conflict resolution.
The Near Westside Peacemaking Project: The Near Westside Peacemaking Project brings the Native American tradition of peacemaking to local problems such as landlord-tenant disputes, school conflicts, and probation violations in a historically high-crime neighborhood in Syracuse. (Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program)
Onondaga Parent Support Program: The Center helped local courts create New York State’s first problem-solving child support program in 2008. The program links non-custodial parents with needed services to increase child support payments and maintain healthy parent-child relationships. (Funded by Onondaga County)
Patient Navigator Program: The Patient Navigator Program helps court-involved women connect with health care providers and community resources to improve their own health and the health of their children. (Funded by the March of Dimes and the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York)
Our work in Connecticut has focused on reducing the use of jail and increasing public trust in justice.
Safety and Justice Challenge: The Center is assisting the efforts of the Connecticut Office of Policy Management as it competes in the MacArthur Foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge, an initiative to reduce the use of jail. (Funded by the MacArthur Foundation)
Hartford Community Court: With support from the Center, the Hartford Community Court serves as a mentor court for jurisdictions across the country seeking to enhance procedural justice and promote the use of alternatives to jail. (Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance)
Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice’s Problem-Solving Initiative: The Center is helping the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice assess opportunities to enhance the use of problem-solving practices by state's attorney's offices around the state. (Funded by the Herbert and Nell Singer Foundation)