Brooklyn Young Adult Court

Overview

The Brooklyn Young Adult Court, a project of the Kings County District Attorney's Office and Brooklyn Justice Initiatives, seeks to expand the use of alternatives to incarceration and diversion for young people, ages 16 to 24, charged with misdemeanors in Brooklyn. Bringing the principles of community courts to the Brooklyn Criminal Court, it provides young adult defendants with mandated and voluntary social services, allowing them to avoid the negative effects of criminal convictions and incarceration and connecting them to the resources needed to avoid future justice-system involvement.

How It Works

Reach: In Brooklyn, all misdemeanor cases (excluding domestic violence, sex crimes, and DWIs) involving young adults that are not resolved at arraignment are sent to the Brooklyn Young Adult Court. The court places special emphasis on young people at higher risk of re-offending and those facing more serious criminal consequences. 

Specialized Court Staff: Housed at the Brooklyn Criminal Court, the Brooklyn Young Adult Court operates five days each week. The court is presided over by a dedicated judge and is staffed by dedicated prosecutors, defense advocates, and social workers. All participating court staff have received specialized training on the unique needs of young adults. 

Risk and Needs Assessments: A specialized social worker performs an evidence-based risk-need assessment for all defendants in order to determine the unique challenges facing each young person, as well as appropriate interventions. 

Evidence-based Interventions: The court mandates young adult defendants to a range of evidence-based social service interventions in lieu of incarceration. Interventions are determined by the risk level and particular needs of each defendant. Lower- and moderate-risk defendants attend sessions that connect them to community resources and address the issues underlying their actions. Higher-risk defendants facing more serious criminal consequences are mandated to long-term services, including individualized case management, substance use treatment, mental health services, educational support, and vocational training. All participants are given access to voluntary referrals and ongoing case management.

For more information on young adult initiatives at the Center for Court Innovation, contact Adam Mansky, director of operations, at amansky@courtinnovation.org.

In the News

Brooklyn's New Approach to Youth CrimesThe Wall Street Journal reports on the inauguration of the Brooklyn Young Adult Court. (Subscription required)

New Court for Young Adults Opens in Brooklyn: Politico covers the launch of the Brooklyn Young Adult Court. (Subscription required)

Partners

The Brooklyn Young Adult Court is a collaboration between the Kings County District Attorney's Office and the Center for Court Innovation's Brooklyn Justice Initiatives. It is funded, in part, by a Smart Prosecution grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance. Further support is provided by the New York City Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

For more information, visit the Young Adult Justice page operated by Vincent Schiraldi, senior research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Program in Criminal Justice.

Featured Research

Video

Those In-Between: What We're Learning About Young Adult Justice (Part II) at Community Justice 2016

Those In-Between: What We're Learning About Young Adult Justice (Part II) at Community Justice 2016

This panel, held at the 2016 Community Justice International Summit, explores new approaches to young adult justice that emphasize diversion and alternatives to incarceration. Moderated by Adam Mansky, director of operations at the Center for Court Innovation, the panelists include Vincent Schiraldi, senior research fellow for the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management at Harvard University, and Brent Cohen, senior advisor at the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs.

Video

Those In-Between: What We're Learning About Young Adult Justice (Part I) at Community Justice 2016

Those In-Between: What We're Learning About Young Adult Justice (Part I) at Community Justice 2016

This panel, held at the 2016 Community Justice International Summit, explores new approaches to young adult justice that emphasize diversion and alternatives to incarceration. Moderated by Adam Mansky, director of operations at the Center for Court Innovation, the panelists include Vincent Schiraldi, senior research fellow for the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management at Harvard University, and Brent Cohen, senior advisor at the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs.

Publications

Fact Sheet: Brooklyn Justice Initiatives

Fact Sheet: Brooklyn Justice Initiatives

An overview of Brooklyn Justice Initiatives, a program that seeks to forge a new response to misdemeanor and non-violent felony defendants in Kings County, New York.

Contact
  • New York
  • 520 8th Avenue
  • 18th Floor
  • New York, NY 10018
  • phone: 646.386.3100
  • Syracuse
  • 601 Tully Street
  • Syracuse, NY 13204
  • phone: 315.266.4330
  • London
  • Canterbury Court
    1-3 Brixton Road
  • London, SW9 6DE
  • phone: +44 2076.329.060