CM Rose, Justice Community Plus participants, and the Youth Justice Center staff!
Staten Island Youth Justice Center
The Center for Court Innovation’s Staten Island Youth Justice Center, a unique organization dedicated to testing new approaches to criminal and juvenile justice problems, addresses youth crime by working intensively with young people who have engaged in delinquent and low level criminal behavior, providing them with the tools they need to avoid further offending. Youth Justice Centers form an important component of the Center’s juvenile and criminal justice strategy by providing justice system stakeholders with important and effective options to address the difficult challenges posed by low-level offending and at-risk behaviors.
The Staten Island Youth Justice Center offers the borough’s underserved young people – particularly those with justice involvement – comprehensive programming designed to provide them with leadership development, expanded opportunities, new skills, access to supportive services, and positive engagement with the broader Staten Island community. Youth Justice Center initiatives include a teen-led youth court, behavioral discussion groups, integrated recreational and educational after-school activities, individual and group mentoring, mental health case management services, service learning projects, and a job readiness program specifically designed for youth impacted by community violence.
How It Works
Service Learning Projects: The Youth Justice Center staff collaborate with multiple partners in the community to develop appropriate service learning projects for young people which emphasize community building and restorative principles. Youth have volunteered at beautification projects on nearby police precinct grounds, helped restore a local museum after damage from Hurricane Sandy, served food and prepared groceries at food pantries, compiled care packages for active military service members, and more.
Behavioral Discussion Groups: Weekly open enrollment discussion groups offer young people opportunities to discuss themes such as decision making, individual goal setting, conflict resolution, substance use, and more. Youth can be mandated to groups by referral sources or are required to attend as a part of their participation in other on-site programming.
Mental Health/Clinical Services: The Youth Justice Center’s clinical team provides on-site case management services to all court-mandated youth and any youth interested in receiving additional services on a voluntary basis. Case managers also make referrals to outside providers for drug treatment, mental health services, and other appropriate resources. Occasionally, the Youth Justice Center hosts an outside provider on-site for clinical groups, individual assessments, and/or individual counseling sessions when youth and families are unable to travel off-site.
Positive Youth Development after-school programming: The Youth Justice Center offers a menu of positive youth development after-school programming for young people who are directly referred to specific initiatives and to walk-in youth ages 12 to 24 years old. Spanning educational themes such as a journaling group and a debate club, to recreational themes such as yoga and a community arts group, the programming is designed to entice youth participation while promoting positive youth development principles.
Specialized Interventions: In addition to the above, the Youth Justice Center offers referring partners several tailored interventions. The Youth Justice Center offers monitoring of curfews and other court mandates for Family Court partners. For Probation, it offers youth intensive mentoring services and access to internships. Through the teen-led youth court, the Youth Justice Center offers a variety of partners – Probation, the Law Department, Family and Criminal Courts – a diversion option to address low-level offending outside of formal case processing.
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.