Newark Community Solutions

Overview

Launched in Spring 2011, Newark Community Solutions is a community justice initiative that applies a problem-solving approach to low-level cases in Newark, New Jersey’s municipal courthouse. Newark Community Solutions’s goals are twofold: to provide judges with increased sentencing options for non-violent offenses such as drug possession, prostitution, and shoplifting and to improve public perceptions of justice. By combining punishment with help, Newark Community Solutions seeks to promote the use of community service and social service mandates, reduce the court’s reliance on ineffective fines and expensive short-term jail sentences, and build public confidence in justice. Newark Community Solutions builds on lessons learned from successful community courts throughout the country, which have reduced local crime, improved compliance with sanctions, and strengthened the connections between courts and communities.

How It Works

Newark Community Solutions offers the judges of the Newark Municipal Court a broad range of sentencing options—community service, short-term group counseling and treatment readiness classes, educational assessments, and monitored placement in community-based treatment.

Before arraignment, Newark Community Solutions staff, in consultation with the prosecution and defense, identify appropriate sanction options for each defendant. A typical Newark Community Solutions sentence might be two days of community service combined with a three-day counseling program targeting problems such as prostitution or drug abuse. For defendants facing longer sentences, a social worker or case manager administers a psycho-social assessment and works with the court to determine meaningful alternatives to jail, including closely-supervised drug treatment.

Partners

Newark Community Solutions is an initiative of the City of Newark and the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts, in collaboration with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.  Newark Community Solutions is supported by the City of Newark and its Municipal Council, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, and the Nicholson Foundation.

In The News

  • Victoria Pratt, chief judge of Newark Municipal Court, talks procedural justice on MSNBC's "The Docket."
  • Judge Pratt describes her work on procedural justice during an appearance on "The Melissa Harris-Perry Show" on MSNBC.
  • The Guardian profiles Newark Community Solutions, examining the origins and evolution of the program and the growing national interest in procedural justice.
  • Judge Pratt sits down with Allan Wolper of WBGO to discuss her legal career and the innovative work of Newark Community Solutions.
  • Featured Research

    Publications

    Fact Sheet: Newark Community Solutions

    Fact Sheet: Newark Community Solutions

    This fact sheet summarizes the mission of Newark Community Solutions, an initiative of the Center for Court Innovation that seeks to re-engineer how low-level cases are handled at the Newark Municipal Court in Newark, New Jersey.

    Video

    The Short Answer: What Alternative Sentencing Options are Available Through Newark Community Solutions?

    The Short Answer: What Alternative Sentencing Options are Available Through Newark Community Solutions?

    Victoria Pratt, chief judge of the Newark Municipal Court, provides a short answer to the question: What kinds of alternative sentencing options are available to you through Newark Community Solutions?

    Video

    Meet the Judge Who Assigns Essays in Court

    Meet the Judge Who Assigns Essays in Court

    Newark Municipal Court Chief Judge Victoria Pratt discusses procedural justice and her work with Newark Community Solutions

    Newark Community Solutions Blog
    • July 15, 2015

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    • July 9, 2015
      Newark Community Solutions in the News

      Check out these two recent articles about how Newark Community Solutions is helping other communities and justice practitioners think about community...

      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