Bronx Community Solutions

Overview

Bronx Community Solutions is an initiative that seeks to apply a problem-solving approach to non-violent cases in the Bronx. Its goal is to provide judges with increased sentencing options for non-violent offenses such as drug possession, prostitution and shoplifting. By combining punishment with help, Bronx Community Solutions seeks to reduce the Bronx’s reliance on expensive and ineffective short-term jail sentences, and build public confidence that the system is holding offenders accountable and offering them the assistance they need to avoid further criminal conduct. The project builds on the successful community courts in Red Hook, Midtown and Harlem, which have reduced local crime, improved compliance with alternative sanctions and strengthened the connections between courts and communities. The project, the largest of its kind, is the nation’s most ambitious experiment in going to scale with problem-solving justice. Recognizing this, the U.S. Department of Justice named Bronx Community Solutions one of 10 winners in a national competition for innovative criminal justice projects.

To read more, visit Changing the Court, a blog that documents the implementation process in the Bronx.

How It Works

Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson welcomes guests at the opening of Bronx Community SolutionsBronx District Attorney Robert Johnson welcomes guests at the opening of Bronx Community SolutionsEnhanced Sentencing Options: All judges in the Bronx are provided with a broad set of sentencing options, including drug treatment, job training, family services and mental health counseling. To view a screening tool used to assess offenders' social service needs, click here.

Community Service: Offenders are assigned to community service work in neighborhoods throughout the Bronx. Project staff will work with residents and community groups to create community service options that respond to local problems (for example, trash in a local park or walls marred by graffiti).

Increased Accountability: By quickly assigning offenders to social service and community service sentences, and rigorously monitoring their compliance, Bronx Community Solutions sends the message that community-based sanctions are taken seriously. 

Community Engagement: Bronx Community Solutions invites community groups and local residents to play a number of concrete roles in ongoing operations, including identifying hot spots and eye sores for community service projects, and participating in a neighborhood advisory board.

Each year, Bronx Community Solutions handles more than 11,000 cases.

Results

Bronx Community Solutions seeks to combine punishment and help for convicted misdemeanor offenders in the Bronx. To date, Bronx Community Solutions has cut the use of incarceration by a third and doubled the use of community-based sanctions, which include community restitution and links to social services. Each year, supervised work crews contribute thousands of dollars' worth of labor to the Bronx by shoveling snow, cleaning urban streets and local parks, and painting over graffiti.

Partners

Partners include the New York State Unified Court System, Bronx District Attorney’s Office, Criminal Justice Coordinator’s Office of the City of New York, the local defense bar, and dozens of local service providers and community groups.

Featured Research

Publications

The Adolescent Diversion Program

The Adolescent Diversion Program

By Michael Rempel, Suvi Hynynen Lambson, Carolyn R. Cadoret and Allyson Walker Franklin

This report examines the first six months of the pilot Adolescent Diversion Program for court involved 16 and 17 year-olds at nine sites in New York State. The study found that diverting these youth to services does not increase recidivism rates and, in fact, reduces recidivism for those who would otherwise pose the greatest risk to public safety.

Read a summary of the study

Listen to an interview with the researchers

Publications

Prostitution Diversion Programs

Prostitution Diversion Programs

By Sarah Schweig, Danielle Malangone and Miriam Goodman

Many communities across the country grapple with how best to respond to prostitution.

Read More

Interviews

A Community Court Takes Washington D.C.: Expanding the Model in the Nation's Capital

A Community Court Takes Washington D.C.: Expanding the Model in the Nation's Capital

Dan Cipullo, director of the Criminal Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, discusses why and how the court expanded its community court approach from one neighborhood to cover the entire city.

Read More

Bronx Community Solutions Blog
  • April 23, 2014
    Success Story - Court Collaboration

    Bronx Community Solutions is often able to provide special attention to cases that would otherwise be at risk of falling through the cracks of the...

    Read More
  • April 22, 2014
    BCS Completes ADP Mural Project

    I am very excited to share that on Saturday, April 12 and Saturday April 19th, Adolescent Diversion Program community service participants, along...

    Read More
Contact
  • New York
  • 520 8th Avenue
  • 18th Floor
  • New York, NY 10018
  • phone: 646.386.3100
  • Syracuse
  • One Park Place
  • 300 South State Street
  • Syracuse, NY 13202
  • phone: 315.266.4330
  • London
  • Kean House, 6 Kean Street
  • London, WC2B 4AS
  • phone: +44 2076.329.060