Brooklyn Young Adult Court
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.