CM Rose, Justice Community Plus participants, and the Youth Justice Center staff!
Staten Island Youth Justice Center
In 2009 the Center for Court Innovation officially opened the Staten Island Youth Justice Center. The Justice Center operates an array of programming for local youth, with a particular focus on engaging those with justice involvement. Described below, Justice Center initiatives include a teen-led youth court, an alternative to detention program, and a job readiness program. By offering positive pro-social programming for young people, the Staten Island Youth Justice Center aims to stop the cycle of crime for adolescents while reducing reliance on detention. The comprehensive programming offers all participating young people leadership development and service opportunities designed to promote positive engagement in the Staten Island community.
How It Works
Youth Court: The Staten Island Youth Court is a peer-led court where teens hear cases (for example, shoplifting, graffiti and truancy) committed by other teens. Local teenagers serve as judge, advocates and jurors. Cases are referred by judges, police, and probation officers. For example, in partnership with the New York City criminal court and the Richmond County District Attorney’s office, the Youth Court hears criminal court cases. Young people under 18 who are arrested for low-level, non-violent offenses are offered an opportunity to participate in Youth Court as a condition of their case disposition. Those who successfully complete the Youth Court have their cases dismissed. The Youth Court is not a fact-finding body–rather it hears cases where the respondent has acknowledged responsibility for the offense and has agreed to participate. After deliberation, members assign appropriate sanctions that hold youth accountable and emphasize restorative justice concepts.
Project READY: Project READY provides case management, after-school programming and rigorous compliance monitoring for young people with pending delinquency cases in Family Court. The program stresses individual accountability, law-abiding behavior, and adherence to court-mandated parole conditions. Staff utilizes an assortment of engagement strategies for participants and family members to promote compliance. READY provides family court judges with timely, accurate and comprehensive information regarding compliance with court mandates. Youth who successfully complete READY are much more likely to avoid placement and receive community-based dispositions.
AIM (Advocate, Intervene, Mentor): In conjunction with the New York City Department of Probation, AIM seeks to build stronger and safer communities, reduce crime and recidivism, and promote lifelong gains for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. The program enables participants – justice-involved young people between the ages of 13 and 18 – to address age-specific needs and issues, become knowledgeable about opportunities and resources that can assist them, and develop positive bonds within their communities that will lead to a law-abiding and productive adulthood. Combining strengths-based, positive youth development programming with client accountability, AIM also provides Probation officers with timely, accurate and comprehensive information regarding the progress and compliance of program clients.
Justice Community Plus: In collaboration with the New York City Council and the Department of Probation, the Justice Center operates a job-readiness program: Justice Community Plus. The program engages Staten Island youth ages 16-24 in pro-social activities focused on educational advancement, life skills, and job readiness preparation through individual case management and community benefit projects. In conjunction with the New York City Council’s citywide anti-violence initiative, the new Justice Community Plus program specifically supports youth affected by gun violence. Each six month Justice Community Plus cycle is divided into three distinct phases. The phases are implemented as follows: Phase 1: Development of Individualized Engagement Plan, Educational Advocacy, Life Skills and Gun Violence Awareness Workshops; Phase 2: Implementation of Community Benefits Projects; Career and Educational Exploration and Engagement; and Phase 3: Internship, Job and/or Educational Placement.
Staten Island Futures: Staten Island Futures provides a comprehensive, coordinated response to court-involved young people with mental illness. Staten Island Futures screens, assesses, and links youth and their families with coordinated community-based mental health services to prevent recidivism. Futures works with youth who have a pending juvenile delinquency case, a violation of probation conditions, or are at-risk for a violation and have a mental health concern. To reduce repeat offending by at-risk youth, Staten Island Futures staff are assigned to work with young people with mental health issues at the earliest stages of the delinquency process. Staff remain involved with youth and their families throughout their court cases and beyond.
ADP (Adolescent Diversion Program) Pilot: In partnership with the New York State Court System, the Justice Center operates a pilot program in Staten Island Criminal Court for 16 and 17 year olds known as the Adolescent Diversion Program (ADP). The goal of the program is to improve the judicial response to these defendants by providing judges with the necessary tools to address offending behavior and help the adolescents avoid criminal records. Youth who consent to participate are assigned a combination of community service hours and skill-building workshops; they may also be assigned to meet with a staff social worker for an assessment. Upon successful completion of all assignments, the youth’s court case closes with a conditional discharge or adjournment in contemplation of dismissal.
The project is funded by the City of New York, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, the U.S. Department of Justice, and City Council Member Debi Rose. A variety of government and private funders also provide ongoing support.