Program Director; Advocate, Intervene, Mentor (AIM) Program
Heather Abreu is the program director of Advocate, Intervene, Mentor (AIM), which is part of the Staten Island Youth Justice Center. AIM serves as an alternative to placement program that provides intensive mentoring and advocacy support to youth who otherwise would not receive a community-based disposition in Family Court. Heather assisted in the development and roll-out of the program and continues to oversee the implementation of services. Prior to joining the Center in September 2012, Heather worked as a clinician and as a supervisor in the fields of substance abuse treatment/prevention and vocational rehabilitation. Heather has spoken at forums and events throughout Staten Island on these topics and has been recognized for her work. Heather is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. She is trained in Solution- Focused Brief Therapy and earned a Family Development for Supervisors Credential issued by the University of Connecticut. Heather earned her Masters of Education in Rehabilitative Counseling from Hunter College, CUNY.
Director of Research-Practice Strategies
Julian Adler is the director of Research-Practice Strategies at the Center for Court Innovation. He oversees the Center’s work on the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, as well as a broad range of applied research and clinical projects. Mr. Adler previously served as the director of the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn, New York, the nation’s first multi-jurisdictional community court. He led the planning and implementation of Brooklyn Justice Initiatives, which operates out of the centralized criminal court and seeks to forge a new set of responses to misdemeanor offending (including an alternative to incarceration program for adolescents and young adults; a pretrial supervised release program; and a human trafficking intervention program). He also led the planning process for the Kings County Court-based Intervention and Resource Team (Brooklyn CIRT), an alternative to detention and incarceration program for misdemeanor- and felony-level defendants with behavioral health needs. Mr. Adler assisted with planning and start-up operations for Newark Community Solutions, the first community court in New Jersey. He is an admitted attorney and a licensed clinical social worker in the State of New York. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University, Fordham Law School, and Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.
External Affairs Manager, Midtown Community Court
Mohammed Alam is the External Affairs Manager at the Midtown Community Court, where he manages social media and assists with community conditions panel meetings, site visits, and partnership development. Mohammed has extensive political and government experience. He has worked for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Charles Rangel, and former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. During the summer of 2012, he served as a Volunteer Associate at the White House, Executive Office of the President. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Public Policy and Public Affairs from The Colin Powell School at The City College of New York. Mohammed plans to pursue a degree in law.
Director, Domestic Violence & Family Court Programs
Liberty Aldrich oversees the planning and implementation of the Center's Domestic Violence initiatives. This includes providing technical assistance to domestic violence courts, integrated domestic violence courts, family courts, and sex offender programs across the country. As General Counsel, Ms. Aldrich provides legal support to the Center's director, senior management team, and program directors on contract, personnel, real estate, and compliance issues. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Aldrich was the director of legal services at Safe Horizon, where she represented domestic violence victims in family and supreme courts and federal immigration proceedings, in addition to supervising staff attorneys and program development. Ms. Aldrich is the co-founder and a current director of Legal Information for Families Today, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to informing New Yorkers about their legal rights in family court. She has authored numerous articles on domestic violence law and policy, and she received the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s annual Equal Access to Justice award in 2000. Ms. Aldrich graduated from Harvard University and New York University School of Law.
Outreach Worker, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
Project Director, Bronx Community Solutions
Maria Almonte-Weston is currently the project director for Bronx Community Solutions, the largest effort at going to scale with problem-solving by applying that approach to all misdemeanor cases in the Bronx Criminal Court Division. Prior to that position, Ms. Almonte-Weston worked at the Midtown Community Court where she provided direct case management and counseling services to mandated and voluntary clients. Ms. Almonte-Weston also collaborated with the NYPD to offer street outreach services to a homeless population living in the west Midtown area. Ms. Almonte-Weston received her Master's degree from Hunter School of Social Work which has enabled her to integrate those clinical skills within a non-clinical environment like the criminal justice system.
Director of Technology & New Jersey Programs
Jethro Antoine is currently the director of technology and director of New Jersey programs at the Center for Court Innovation. He oversees the organization’s technology programs and program initiatives in New Jersey. Mr. Antoine was the founding project director of Newark Community Solutions, where he oversaw all aspects of the project, including programming, operations, development, and services. From 2007 to 2010, he was the project’s principle planner. Prior to that, Mr. Antoine was the deputy director of the Center for Court Innovation’s technology team where he helped stakeholders and partner agencies integrate process improvements and new technologies into their organizations. Before joining the Center, Mr. Antoine practiced law. He also served as a senior management consultant in the public and private sectors. He is a graduate of New York University, New York Law School, and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Director Drug Court &Tribal Programs
As director of drug court programs, Aaron Arnold oversees the Center's national training and technical assistance for drug courts and assists New York’s Unified Court System in developing and training drug treatment courts across New York State. Mr. Arnold also directs the Center's Tribal Justice Exchange, which seeks to promote the sharing of information between state and tribal courts, assist tribal communities in enhancing their justice systems, and explore ways in which state courts can benefit from traditional tribal justice practices. Before joining the Center, Mr. Arnold was a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office in Phoenix, Arizona, where he gained first-hand experience working in several problem-solving courts. He has also worked as a litigation associate at Fennemore Craig, one of Arizona's oldest law firms. Mr. Arnold is a native of Syracuse and a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Arizona College of Law.
Employment Specialist, Harlem Community Justice Center
Associate Director, Youth Justice Programs
Linda Baird is the associate director of Youth Justice Programs. Ms. Baird manages the Center’s Youth Justice Board program, including curriculum design, lesson planning, outreach to program partners, facilitating Board sessions, and supervising a program associate and interns. Ms. Baird led the development of the Youth Justice Board’s 2009 curriculum and operations tool kit and supports technical assistance initiatives related to youth program development. She also oversees the Center’s Police-Youth Dialogue Project, funded by the federal office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Through this project, the Center will publish a tool kit in 2014 summarizing promising practices associated with positive teen-police communication. Ms. Baird earned a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and a M.Ed. from Lesley University.
Senior Director, Youth and Community Programs and Planning
Raye Barbieri currently leads all juvenile justice, youth justice, and community-based programming and operations at the Center, including two Youth Justice Centers, two Community Justice and Mediation Centers, as well as all Youth Justice Capacity Building and a range of youth diversion, restorative justice, and community-service learning initiatives at multiple community justice locations. Raye also oversees the Center’s gun violence prevention work and concurrently directs the Center’s Planning and Development Department, coordinating, fundraising, grant management, and planning efforts. Since joining the Center in 1995, Ms. Barbieri has served in multiple roles, spearheading wide-scale planning and implementation for drug courts, family treatment courts, community justice centers, and youth and juvenile programming. From 2012 to 2014, Ms. Barbieri served as New York City’s Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Youth and Family Justice at the Administration for Children’s Services where she oversaw all city-run juvenile detention, juvenile placement, and a continuum of community-based alternatives for justice-involved youth. Ms. Barbieri also spearheaded the implementation of “Close to Home”– a full-scale realignment of the juvenile justice system in New York City allowing youth requiting confinement on delinquency proceedings to avoid state-run correctional settings far from home, and instead receive wraparound, rehabilitative, and educational services in small evidence-based group homes located in the city, close to their homes, communities, and with the ongoing participation of their families. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Barbieri served as a social worker with the Legal Aid Society. She holds a BSW from Wheelock College and an MSSW from Columbia University. She is an adjunct associate professor of social work at Columbia and is a member of the North American Council for Juvenile Justice at the International Juvenile Justice Observatory.
Youth Developer, Queens Youth Justice Center
Cathy Barker Anderson is a youth developer with Queens Engagement Strategies for Teens (QUEST), a community-based project offering alternative-to-detention and youth development programs for teens. In this capacity, she works with the after-school and community supervision program with youths arrested on delinquency charges. Mrs. Anderson also serves at the coordinator for the QUEST Youth Court, a program in which local teenagers serve as jurors, judges, and attorneys in actual cases involving peers. As coordinator, she trains members on the various roles of the youth court, facilitates sessions, conducts outreach with community members, and manages the cases referred to the youth court from schools, police precincts, probation, and the law department. She joined the Center in 2004, initially working with the Red Hook Community Justice Center as the Red Hook Youth Court coordinator. She later worked at Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, where she launched a Truancy Intervention Program and Youth Court in a neighborhood junior high school in Crown Heights. Mrs. Anderson has a B.S. in Criminal Justice from John Jay College, with a minor in Psychology.
Help Desk Associate, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Director of Alternatives to Incarceration
Kate Barrow is the director of alternatives to incarceration at the Red Hook Community Justice Center. In this capacity she oversees strategic planning and operations related to clinical, intake, and supportive services. Ms. Barrow is also the educational coordinator for MSW student interns across the agency. She joined the Center in 2008, first as the youth services coordinator at Midtown Community Court, and then as the project director launching Bronx Futures, a juvenile justice project for youth with mental health disorders. Her work has focused on developing clinical programs for marginalized people, including homeless queer youth, trauma-survivors, trans* sex workers, young people with significant mental health issues, and systems-involved youth, families, and adults. Ms. Barrow is an adjunct professor at New York University, where she teaches anti-oppressive social work practice. She completed her undergraduate studies at Naropa University in Contemplative Psychology and received her MSW from the Silver School of Social Work at NYU.
Senior Associate, Drug Court Programs and Tribal Exchange
Precious Benally is a senior associate with the Center’s Department of Drug Court Programs and Tribal Justice Exchange. She provides training and technical assistance for drug treatment courts and tribal justice systems across the country. She also assists with the implementation and administration of the Center’s tribal justice demonstration projects, including the Red Hook Peacemaking Program, where she serves as a trained peacemaker. Precious holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Native American Studies from Dartmouth College. She obtained her law degree from Columbia Law School, where she focused on international indigenous law and policy, peacemaking and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. She was 2012-13 President of the National Native American Law Students Association. Precious is a citizen of the Diné (Navajo) Nation.
Deputy Project Director, Bronx Community Solutions
Robin Berg is the deputy project director of Bronx Community Solutions where she is responsible for the day-to-day management of project operations, assisting with grant writing and reporting, and research projects. Prior to this she was an intern at Jacobi Medical Center and Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, working in a clinical capacity with patients and their families. She has also worked for the Domestic Violence Programs at the Center as a program associate. Ms. Berg received her B.A. from Vassar College and holds a licensed Master's of Science degree in Social Work from Columbia University.
Greg Berman is the director of the Center for Court Innovation. Part of the founding team responsible for creating the Center, he has helped guide the organization from start-up to an annual budget of more than $29 million. He has accepted numerous national and local awards on behalf of the Center, including the Peter F. Drucker Award for Non-profit Innovation. He is the author/co-author of Reducing Crime, Reducing Incarceration: Essays on Criminal Justice Innovation (Quid Pro Books, 2014), Trial & Error in Criminal Justice Reform: Learning from Failure (Urban Institute Press, 2010) and Good Courts: The Case for Problem-Solving Justice (The New Press, 2005). He has contributed to numerous books and periodicals, including The Wall Street Journal, The Judges Journal (guest editor), New Statesman, The Guardian, Huffington Post, National Law Journal, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and Philadelphia Inquirer. Prior to being named director of the Center for Court Innovation in 2002, he served as deputy director of the Center and as the lead planner of the Red Hook Community Justice Center. In the early 1990s, while working for the New York Foundation, he created the New York Common Application, a universal form designed to expedite the foundation grant proposal process for community groups in the New York area. He has also worked in development (New Israel Fund) and as a freelance journalist (Providence Journal). He has served on numerous boards and task forces including: New York City Board of Correction, New York City Criminal Justice Agency, Wesleyan Center for Prison Education, Coro New York, Centre for Justice Innovation, Sloan Public Service Awards, Poets House, Police Foundation, Mayor Bill de Blasio public safety transition team, and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance transition team. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and a former Coro Fellow in Public Affairs.
Intake Specialist, Bronx Community Solutions
Deputy Director of Reentry Initiatives, Harlem Community Justice Center
Debbie Boar oversees the Harlem Community Justice Center's reentry and young adult justice initiatives, including the Harlem Parole Reentry Court, the Reentry Family and Faith Circles of Support, and the Upper Manhattan Reentry Task Force, which use an interdisciplinary approach to address the challenges confronting high-risk individuals returning from incarceration. She also supervises the Harlem Justice Corps, an intensive career development, education, and community service program for justice-involved young men and women, ages 18-24. As deputy director, Ms. Boar designs and implements population specific, evidence-based offender reentry strategies, strengthens partnerships among stakeholders, and provides expert assistance to jurisdictions seeking to develop reentry programs. Prior to this position, Ms. Boar served as a criminal defense attorney at the Legal Aid Society of New York City. She received her B.A. from Haverford College and her J.D. from Rutgers-Newark School of Law.
Fiscal and Human Rsesources Manager
Youth Reentry Coordinator, Brownsville Community Justice Center
Reentry Case Manager, Harlem Community Justice Center
Glen currently works as a reentry case manager at the Harlem Community Justice Center, where he ensures that recently released parolees become connected with needed services. He has years of experience working with the forensic population, both as a case manager with the Parole Transition Program at Palladia, Inc. and as a discharge planner with the Rikers Island Discharge Enhancement Program at Fortune Society. He has also worked as a youth specialist in a non-secure detention facility.
Alternative Sanctions Coordinator, Midtown Community Court
Dida Brassey is currently the coordinator of the Alternative Sanctions Department at the Midtown Community Court, where she is responsible for the day to day management of scheduling, monitoring, and maintaining of the court’s document. Mrs. Brassey holds a BS in Human Services and a Master’s in social work from the Hunter School of Social Work. She is also certified crisis counselor and a SAVI volunteer.
Youth Engagement/Community Service Specialist, Bronx Community Solutions
Justin Briggs is a former AmeriCorps member who is currently a full time staff member at Bronx Community Solutions. Justin wears many hats at Bronx Community Solutions, including intake specialist and community service crew supervisor, as well as the facilitator of the Youth Life Skills class. Justin is also responsible for scheduling clients charged with a DWI offense to be screened and assessed with partnered substance abuse clinics.
Operations Coordinator, Harlem Community Justice Center
Project Director, Staten Island Youth Justice Center
Beth Broderick is the project director of the Staten Island Youth Justice Center, a project of the Center for Court Innovation. In this role, Beth oversees multiple initiatives focused on improving outcomes for court-involved youth and connecting all local youth to positive opportunities within the Staten Island community. Previously, Beth served as the Program Coordinator at the Center's Greenpoint and Brownsville Youth Courts, and supported technical assistance work with the Center's Youth Justice Programs, including school-based trainings focused on youth court and restorative justice. In addition, Beth has worked as an assistant instructor with the Brooklyn Law School Mediation Clinic, focusing on disputes in small claims and civil court. Beth maintains certification as a mediator with the New York Peace Institute; and she holds a BA from Columbia University and a JD from Brooklyn Law School.
Director of Brooklyn Community Justice Centers – Red Hook & Brownsville
James Brodick oversees the operations of the Brooklyn Community Justice Centers, including the Brownsville Community Justice Center and the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Currently in the planning stage, the Brownsville Community Justice Center is the Center for Court Innovation's newest operating program. Mr. Brodick is working with the New York State Office for Court Administration, elected officials, the Kings County District Attorney's Office, the New York Police Department, community organizations, and residents to build support and raise money for the project. Brownsville will be modeled after the award-winning Red Hook Community Justice Center—the nation’s first multi-jurisdictional community court—which Mr. Brodick directed for seven years. Since joining the Center for Court Innovation in 1998, Mr. Brodick has held several positions, including director of NYC Community Clean-up and deputy director and director of community programs in Red Hook. Mr. Brodick holds a B.A. from Saint John's University. He is a New York State certified mediator.
Director of Criminal Justice Operations
Courtney Bryan, as the director of Criminal Justice Operations, helps to plan, support, and oversee a number of criminal justice projects. A member of the Human Trafficking and the State Courts Collaborative team at the Center, she also provides training and technical assistance on court responses to human trafficking and prostitution, and has expertise in issues facing victims of gender-based violence charged with crimes. She has held several positions at the Center both before and after receiving her law degree, most recently as the project director of the Midtown Community Court. She has also provided technical assistance in the areas of community justice and domestic violence. Before returning to the Center in 2008, she was a criminal defense attorney with The Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn, New York. Previously, she was a staff attorney at the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, an organization that provides technical assistance to criminal defense attorneys representing battered women defendants. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia and Temple University School of Law.
Employment Specialist, Midtown Community Court
Sebastian Bullock is an employment specialist for the UpNext Program. Mr. Bullock has always had a passion for helping others in his surrounding communities, whether it is through community service work with his fraternity, or through volunteering on holidays to feed the less fortunate. Mr. Bullock was on the Board of Directors for the New York Public Interest Group from 2009-2011. After this position, he went on to begin working for NYPIRG as a Campus Organizer and Project Coordinator, where he taught how to organize political grass roots campaigns. Mr. Bullock holds a BA in American Studies from the SUNY College at Old Westbury.
Parent Coach, Queens Youth Justice Center
Intake Specialist, Bronx Community Solutions
Program Associate, Midtown Community Court
Cara Camacho is a program associate for the UpNext Fatherhood and Workforce Development program at Midtown Community Court. Cara started at Midtown as an AmeriCorps intern with the fatherhood program. She also spent several months interning at the Red Hook Community Justice Center as a youth court case manager. She has also worked on the Misdemeanor Evidence Based Assessment research project at Midtown and in the Alternative Sanctions Department. Cara holds a BA from Hunter College in Psychology and is working towards a Master’s degree in Forensic Mental Health Counseling at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Coordinator of Youth and Community Programs, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Sabrina Carter is the coordinator of Youth and Community Programs at the Red Hook Community Justice Center, a demonstration project of the Center for Court Innovation and the nation's first multi-jurisdictional community court. Ms. Carter first joined the Center for Court Innovation/Red Hook Community Justice Center 10 years ago as a Red Hook Youth Court member and since then has participated in numerous youth programs at the Red Hook Community Justice Center. She later joined the Americorps program and, following her two years of service as an Americorps member, she then worked as a program associate developing the Staten Island Youth Court in 2008. In 2010 she rejoined the Red Hook Community Justice Center as the coordinator of the Red Hook Youth Court where she now oversees and coordinates all the youth programming at the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Sabrina obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College for Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology in May 2009.
Coordinator of Anti-Violence Programs
Resource Coordinator, Midtown Community Court
Sonia Chowdhury is the resource coordinator at Midtown Community Court. Ms. Chowdhury serves as the intermediary between the on-site clinical department, alternative sanctions team, attorneys and courtroom staff. In this capacity, she conducts brief assessments on defendants to appropriately identify and recommend proportionate, yet, meaningful alternative sanctions to the presiding judge through collaboration with prosecutors and defense attorneys. She also provides information on programs and services as well as detailed case information. Prior to this role, Ms. Chowdhury was the program associate for training and technical assistance at the Center for Court Innovation, providing support to a team of consultants in assisting U.S. jurisdictions plan, implement and strengthen community courts and other innovative justice initiatives. She holds a B.A. in justice studies and a master's degree in public administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Youth Justice Board Program Coordinator
Nicholas Chung is the Youth Justice Board program coordinator at the Center, where he works on the Youth Justice Board and the Adolescent Diversion Program at the Staten Island Youth Justice Center. He is interested in innovative approaches to the design of education and juvenile justice policy. Prior to joining the Center, he was a junior fellow at the Center for an Urban Future. He earned his B.A. from Brown University and his M.A. in Education Policy and Social Analysis from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Principal Research Associate
Amanda B. Cissner is a senior research associate at the Center for Court Innovation. She was the principal investigator on a process evaluation of the Brooklyn Youthful Offender Domestic Violence Court for adolescent perpetrators of relationship violence, and is currently working on an impact evaluation of that program. In addition, she is currently the principal investigator of a research intervention testing the effects of a dating violence prevention curriculum administered to college students at Syracuse University; the project director of a randomized trial testing the impact of intensive judicial monitoring on domestic violence offenders in Rochester, New York; and the lead analyst on a five-site Integrated Domestic Violence Court evaluation. She previously completed a study examining the impact of two different batterer program models on offender outcomes in Brooklyn and co-authored the Center’s statewide evaluation of adult drug courts.
Alison Clark Trenk
Program Manager, Harlem Justice Corps, Harlem Community Justice Center
Alison is the program manager for the Harlem Justice Corps. She previously worked at the Office of the District Attorney of Kings County as a program coordinator for the Special Victims Bureau. She has worked in a clinical role with agencies such as the Vera Institute for Justice, Safe Horizon, and Northside Center for Child Development. Alison is trained in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy and trauma treatment. She also has provided numerous training on vicarious and secondary trauma and workshops on self-care for service providers. She is a licensed social worker who received her BA in psychology and criminal justice at Rutgers University. She went on to pursue her Masters in Psychology at Kean University and Masters in Social Work and Hunter College.
Advocate / Mentor; Advocate, Intervene, Mentor (AIM) Program
Mark Clarke is an advocate/mentor in the AIM (Advocate, Intervene, Mentor) program, which is part of the Staten Island Youth Justice Center. AIM serves as an alternative to placement program that provides intensive mentoring and advocacy support to youth who otherwise would not receive a community-based disposition in Family Court. In this role, Mark provides intensive mentoring and advocacy to adolescents and their families. Previously, Mark was employed with a local non-profit organization working with children in an after-school program. Mark uses his experience to offer the AIM youth and their families the support needed to succeed in their communities. Mark is a strong minded and motivated person who can lead families and adolescents to achieve their goals.
Community Restitution Crew Supervisor, Midtown Community Court
Program Manager, Drug Court Programs
Program Administrator, Midtown Community Court
Rhabia Cowell is the UpNext Program Administrator at Midtown Community Court. In this role, Rhabia provides day to day operations oversight for the UpNext Workforce Development and Fatherhood Engagement program. Prior to that she was a Strategic Operations Coordinator at Employment Works in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. Rhabia earned her BA in journalism and MBA-Finance from Long Island University and her MS in Health Services Policy and Management from the New School University.
Assistant Director, Gender and Justice Initiatives
Katie Crank is the assistant director of gender & justice initiatives at the Center for Court Innovation. She provides technical assistance to courts and community stakeholders wishing to improve their response to domestic violence, sexual assault, and trafficking. Prior to her work with the Center for Court Innovation, Katie worked and volunteered with domestic violence shelters and legal aid organizations in Ghana (West Africa), Indiana, Missouri, and Illinois. She also provides trauma-informed therapy to children who have witnessed or been the victims of violence through the Center for Court Innovation’s Child and Adolescent Witness Support Program, located in the Bronx. Ms. Crank is an admitted attorney in the State of New York, and is a Licensed Master Social Worker. She earned her B.A. from Indiana University-Bloomington, and received her J.D. and M.S.W. from Washington University in St. Louis.
Coordinator of Community Initiatives and Special Projects
Sharese Crouther is the program coordinator of the Brownsville Youth Court at the Brownsville Community Justice Center. Ms. Crouther joined the Center for Court Innovation in 2009 as an AmeriCorps case developer with the Red Hook Youth Court. Following her two years of service as an AmeriCorps member, she then worked as a program associate developing the Brownsville Youth Court, the Center's first program in Brownsville, in 2011. Ms. Crouther obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College for Criminal Justice in June 2011. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Community Engagement Specialist, Brownsville Coummunity Justice Center
Associate Director of Youth and Community Programs, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
Heather Day is the associate director of youth and community programs at the Mediation Center. Heather oversees Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (YO S.O.S.) and supports additional programs and outreach initiatives at the Center. Previously, Heather worked for Citizen Schools New York both as a teaching fellow in the classroom and in volunteer recruitment and curriculum development at the regional office. Heather earned a BA in American Studies from Connecticut College and a Master’s of Social Work with a Human Service Leadership concentration from Fordham University. Heather believes that young people have powerful voices and unique insight to share with the world, and loves seeing youth in the spotlight.
Education Advisor/Consultant, Westchester Court Education Initiative
Sharan DePalma is an education advisor/consultant in the Westchester Court Education Initiative at Westchester County Family Court. The Education Initiative is designed to address the educational needs of children ages 3-21 whose parents are in court due to allegations of neglect or abuse, who have been placed in foster care, who are reuniting with their biological families, or who are in the adoptive process. This population is generally at a higher risk for developmental disabilities, truancy, and tenuous living situations. Many of these children are not receiving an appropriate education or program to meet these needs. Through careful consultation with judges and court attorney referees, Sharan works with attorneys for the child, the Department of Social Services, school districts, and caregivers to secure educational entitlements for these youth. Sharan resides in Westchester county with her husband and three children. She attended Stony Brook University and is certified through the Special Education Advocacy Program through the Counsel of Parent Advocates and Attorneys. Her work in education has spanned more than a decade in the tri-state area with a primary focus in Westchester County.
Associate Director of Community Resilience and Restorative Services, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Alison Diéguez is the associate director of community resilience and restorative services for the Red Hook Responders at the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Red Hook Responders is a program that provides social service support to meet the needs of Red Hook residents, with a particular focus on residents of public housing, and the ongoing needs of those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Ms. Diéguez has extensive experience in working with youth and adult crime victims, individuals with serious mental illness, and immigrant communities. Ms. Diéguez holds an LMSW from Columbia University and a B.A. from SUNY Purchase.
Office Manger, Midtown Community Court
Aissatou Diop joined the Midtown Community Court in 2007 as an Americorps member. Currently she holds a position as intake counselor and foreign group facilitator. Aissatou is certified in French Wolof and is fluent in Fulani, German, and English. In her spare time, Aissatou works as an independent translator.
Education Coordinator, Harlem Community Justice Center
Reentry Case Manager, Harlem Community Justice Center
Kenneth Edwards is a reentry case manager at Harlem Community Justice Center. He began his career at the Center for Court Innovation's Crown Heights Community Mediation Center in 2011. As a Violence Interrupter for Save Our Streets Crown Heights, Kenneth helped reduce acts of violence in the community. Kenneth then became a “Hospital Responder” as part of a hospital-based approach to providing victims and families of victims suffering from blunt trauma with grief counseling and aftercare at the hospital. He also held the position of acting coordinator for the Young Men’s Initiative program “Make It Happen.” In 2013, Kenneth Edwards completed a chaplaincy course becoming Minister Kenneth Edwards. Today Kenneth also volunteers his time speaking to youths at a local high school in Brooklyn on the topic of gun violence.
Intake Specialist, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Director, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
Amy has been the director of the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center since 2002, developing and implementing programs as well as overseeing day-to-day operations. Amy has run community and school-based programming on topics as diverse as violence prevention, adult and youth leadership development, family and community mediation, truancy prevention, intergroup relationship building, pregnancy prevention, and race and identity. Amy planned and directed the first New York State Cure Violence replication site, Save Our Streets Crown Heights, an anti-gun violence program that uses a public health approach. Currently, Amy is part of the planning team developing culturally competent trauma informed programming for young men of color and Save Our Streets Bed-Stuy. Prior to working at the Center, Amy worked in a home for young women who were previously incarcerated and were mentally ill and chemically addicted. Amy is the founder of ROOTED (Respecting Ourselves and Others Through Education), a Columbia University program designed to facilitate student dialogue around issues of identity as they relate to power and privilege. Amy received both her BA in Ethnic Studies and her Masters of Science in Social Work from Columbia University. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker and a mediator.
Senior Research Associate
Erin J. Farley is a senior research associate at the Center for Court Innovation and is currently working on an evaluation of Intelligence Driven Prosecution in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the Manhattan Mental Health Court, and a randomized trial of an evidence-based assessment protocol in New York City drug courts. She has co-authored reports on Adolescent Diversion Program Judicial Diversion, Improving Courtroom Communication, and the Bronx Family Treatment Court. Ms. Farley has been a member of the Center’s institutional review board since 2011. Prior to working at the center, Ms. Farley was an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she taught a variety of criminology courses and published in the areas of college student misuse of illicit prescription drugs, adolescent misuse of over-the-counter drugs, and juror comprehension of scientific evidence. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Tech and her Ph.D. in Criminology from the University of Delaware.
Case Manager, Newark Community Solutions
In her role as case manager, Shahida is responsible for providing a wide range of court-based clinical and social services to a diverse adult population within the Newark Municipal Court. Services include intake screenings, clinical assessments, treatment recommendations, referrals to community-based providers, compliance monitoring, and comprehensive case management. Shahida also facilitates the onsite Substance Abuse Treatment Readiness group which is a two-day psycho-educational group for clients who report alcohol and or drug abuse issues. Shahida obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University with a minor in Education, and is currently attending Rutgers University Graduate School of Social Work.
Youth Justice Coordinator, Brownsville Community Justice Center
Associate Director of Funder Relations
Director, Mental Health Court and Alternative-to-Detention Programs
Carol Fisler is the director of Mental Health Court and Alternative-to-Detention Programs at the Center for Court Innovation. She oversees initiatives that address mental illness and the courts, which have included the planning and implementation of the Brooklyn Mental Health Court, the first specialized court for offenders with mental illness in New York, and training and technical assistance to more than 50 mental health court planning teams in New York State and around the country. She also directed the planning and implementation of a juvenile justice/mental health initiative for young people with mental health disorders charged with delinquency and oversees youth development and alternative-to-detention programs in Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. Ms. Fisler speaks frequently at national and regional conferences and has extensive public and private sector legal and managerial experience, serving as the president of a start-up welfare-to-work staffing company, deputy general counsel of the New York City Housing Authority, assistant commissioner for legal affairs of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and an associate at a major New York City law firm. Ms. Fisler graduated from Harvard University and Stanford Law School.
Reentry Case Manager, Harlem Community Justice Center
Christine Fonseca is a reentry case manager at the Harlem Community Justice Center where she is responsible for the coordination of reentry plans for individuals returning to the community of East and Central Harlem. Prior to this position, Fonseca served as the computer/education coordinator and workforce development assistant for The Doe Fund (Ready, Willing, and Able). Christine obtained her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College.
Adelle Fontanet is a senior associate with the Center for Court Innovation’s Tribal Justice Exchange, which provides technical assistance to tribes seeking to develop or enhance their justice systems. Currently, Adelle is working with several tribes to implement federal grants supporting court improvement projects. She also plays a central role in the Tribal Access to Justice and Innovation initiative, which is designed to promote the sharing of information about innovative tribal justice programs around the country. Additionally, Adelle was one of the lead planners for the Red Hook Peacemaking Program and continues to serve as a peacemaker for disputes referred from the court system and other partner agencies. Adelle previously completed a fellowship with the Center, during which she worked at Bronx Community Solutions providing alternatives to incarceration to low-level misdemeanor and adolescent defendants. Adelle has a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a dual bachelor’s degree in English and Anthropology from the University of Florida. She is a licensed attorney in the state of Florida.
Children and Families Specialist, Tribal Justice Exchange and Domestic Violence Programs
As Children and Families Specialist at the Center for Court Innovation, Kathryn Ford, LCSW provides training and technical assistance to state and tribal justice systems through both the Tribal Justice Exchange and the Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, and Family Court Programs team. This includes assisting with community needs assessment, development and dissemination of best practices, authoring publications, and providing support around justice program development and management. Ms. Ford has published articles in Sexual Assault Report, Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly, and NCADV’s The Voice, authored several Center publications, and conducted training workshops for over 4,000 participants from multiple disciplines. Ms. Ford also provides trauma-focused therapy and court support services to children, teens, and their caregivers through the Center’s Child and Adolescent Witness Support Program, which is located at the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Ford was a social worker in Safe Horizon's Supervised Visitation Program at Bronx Family Court and an intern in the Kings County District Attorney's Office’s Counseling Services Unit. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Tufts University and a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University, and is certified in Rape Crisis Counseling.
Deputy Project Director, Midtown Community Court
Adam Friedl is deputy director at the Midtown Community Court, where he oversees the court’s clinical, research, and planning departments. Prior to this, he was the Program and Special Initiatives Manager at Pro Bono Net, an organization dedicated to using innovative technology to increase Access to Justice. Mr. Friedl has also served as Acting Director of the Public Interest Center at St. John's University School of Law, Coordinating Attorney for New York Appleseed, and as a staff attorney at The Family Center. Before law school, he worked as a case manager with immigrant communities in the South Bronx and his native Oklahoma. Mr. Friedl is a cum laude graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and received his B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Tulsa.
Technical Support Analyst
Case Manager, Bronx Community Solutions
Program Associate, Midtown Community Court
Darwin Garcia is the program associate of UpNext at the Midtown Community Court. Prior to joining the Center, Darwin has been involved in several social justice initiatives. He served as the program coordinator for STATE (Students Taking Action Towards Empowerment), where he facilitated a legal information workshop entitled “Know Your Rights” to high school students. He has also volunteered at the fatherhood program at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. Darwin obtained his Bachelor’s of Science in philosophy, with a concentration in cognitive neuroscience, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Clinical Director, Staten Island Youth Justice Center
Elissa Gelber is the senior social worker at the Staten Island Youth Justice Center, a project aimed at improving outcomes for court-involved youth and connecting all local youth to positive opportunities within the Staten Island community. In this capacity, Ms. Gelber provides clinical support to the Justice Center's initiatives and oversees Staten Island Futures, a program that serves court-involved youth with mental illness through screening, clinical assessment, case management, referral, care coordination, and connection to positive youth development activities. Prior to joining the center, Ms. Gelber represented youth in foster care in institutional reform actions, and worked with teens in community-based programs in the U.S. and abroad. She is trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and numerous trauma-informed interventions, and holds a BA from New York University, a JD from Harvard Law School, and an MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work.
Parent Coordinator, Harlem Community Justice Center
Community Service Supervisor, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Community Relations Assistant, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Coordinator, Trafficking Programs
Miriam Goodman is the coordinator of trafficking programs at the Center for Court Innovation. Miriam is involved in many trafficking projects including: the creation of the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts in NY State; providing training to judges, lawyers and clinicians on trauma and working with trafficking survivors; and working with family court in this issue. Miriam’s focus is in trauma work and she has trained extensively in evidence-based practices for working with trauma survivors. Miriam previously worked as a therapist at Safe Horizon’s Counseling Center, where she provided trauma-focused therapy for crime victims. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Dickinson College and her M.S.W. from the Silver School of Social Work at New York University.
Deputy Director, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Viviana Gordon is the director of operations for the Brownsville Community Justice Center and has been with the Center for Court Innovation since 2008. Currently in the planning stage, the Brownsville Community Justice Center will be modeled after the Red Hook Community Justice Center, where Ms. Gordon previously worked as a criminal court case manager, family court coordinator, and coordinator of the New York Juvenile Justice Corps. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Gordon worked at the Juvenile Rights Project in Portland, Oregon and the Defender Association of Philadelphia. Ms. Gordon received her B.A. from Whitman College in Washington State.
Deputy Director, Youth Justice Programs
Dory Hack is deputy director of Youth Justice Programs at the Center for Court Innovation. In this capacity she develops and supports a range of youth engagement initiatives, including youth courts and staff training. Previously, Dory Hack was deputy director of the Center's Courts and the Community project, in which she focused on creating and promoting resources for civic education in New York state. Ms. Hack began her work in youth programming as project coordinator of the Youth Justice Board. Prior to this, Ms. Hack developed case management systems for problem-solving courts. Ms. Hack received her BA from Wesleyan University.
Senior Research Associate
Josy Hahn is a senior research associate at the Center for Court Innovation. She is currently principal investigator for evaluations of Newark Community Solutions, New Jersey’s first community court, and the Brooklyn Supervised Release Program, a bail reform pilot. She also conducts research for mental health courts throughout New York State, on domestic violence case processing in Washington State, and on a federally funded study examining school safety. Prior to working at the Center, Josy was a researcher at the Vera Institute of Justice. Prior to that, she was a middle school history teacher at the Horace Mann School. Josy has a B.A. from Princeton University, an M.P.H. from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ (now Rutgers School of Public Health), and a doctorate from the Harvard School of Public Health. Her dissertation examined risk factors of domestic violence perpetration and victimization in a national sample.
Office Administrator, Syracuse Office
Kate Halleron is the office administrator for the Syracuse Office. Prior to this position, Kate was the Court Clerk for the Village of Baldwinsville. Kate graduated from Columbia College of Missouri with a B.A. in Criminal Justice Administration
Youth Developer, Newark Community Solutions
Jasmine Harden is the case developer for the Newark Youth Court. In this capacity, Ms. Harden is responsible for coordinating with referral sources and sanction providers to ensure high compliance rates and sanction quality. Jasmine works directly with respondents and their families on their sanction completion, effectively reporting the outcome of each case to referral sources. Before joining the Newark Youth Court, Ms. Harden interned with the Youth and Young Adult program at The Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services in New York where she shadowed court representatives and helped young adults navigate the New York juvenile justice system. In addition, Jasmine served as a behavioral technician for a residential facility in Bridgewater, NJ which served young women ages 12 -18. Jasmine received her BA in Justice Studies from Montclair State University where she is currently pursuing an MA in Child Advocacy and Policy.
Resource Coordinator, Newark Community Solutions
Marie Hargrove is a resource coordinator at Newark Community Solutions. In this capacity, Ms. Hargrove serves as the primary liaison and representative between clinical and alternative sanction staff and court room staff. She assesses defendants to ensure the appropriateness of alternative sanction recommendations and provides information on programs and services, responds to questions or concerns by courtroom staff, visitors, and the public. Before joining Newark Community Solutions, Ms. Hargrove worked as a project manager at Sandji Community Development and interned at the Newark Housing Authority. Ms. Hargrove is an alumnus of Ramapo College of New Jersey and is pursuing a graduate degree in Diplomacy from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy.
Lama Hassoun Ayoub
Senior Research Associate
Lama Hassoun Ayoub is a senior research associate at the Center for Court Innovation and the senior researcher at the Harlem Community Justice Center. She is currently managing several projects including a randomized control trial evaluating a teen dating violence prevention program in schools in the Bronx as well as the evaluation of the Harlem Parole Reentry Court. She is also working on the evaluation of Defending Childhood, the U.S. Attorney General's multi-site initiative to address children's exposure to violence, and a national multi-site evaluation of specialized reentry courts. Lama is involved with several other research projects based at Harlem Community Justice Center and serves on the Institutional Review Board at CCI. She received her Master's of Science from the Harvard University School of Public Health and her B.S. from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Court Liaison, Brooklyn Justice Initiatives
Associate Director, Training and Technical Assistance
Alternative Sanctions Specialist, Newark Community Solutions
Raul Hernandez is an alternative sanctions specialist at Newark Community Solutions. In this role, Mr. Hernandez serves as the primary liaison and representative between clinical staff and courtroom staff. Mr. Hernandez is responsible for assessing the suitability of defendants who are arraigned at the court for various alternative sanctions and making appropriate recommendations to the judge. Before he joined Newark Community Solutions, Mr. Hernandez led youth mentoring and recreational programs at the Bridge Youth in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Deputy Project Director, Midtown Community Court
Jeff Hobbs is the deputy director at the Midtown Community Court, and has been with the Court since its “experimental phase” in August of 1993. Starting out as the community service coordinator, he assisted in pioneering the first community service sites. In his current role, Mr. Hobbs oversees the Dads United Parenting program, Alternative Sanctions Department, as well as Facilities Management. Before coming to Midtown, Mr. Hobbs was director of central operations for the Vera Institute of Justice’s Neighborhood Work Project. Mr. Hobbs is the recipient of the prestigious Samuel and May Rudin Community Service Award for his efforts and commitment to the Midtown community.
Violence Interrupter, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
Social Worker, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Suvi Hynynen Lambson
Senior Research Associate
Suvi Hynynen Lambson is a senior research associate at the Center for Court Innovation. She is the on-site researcher at the Red Hook Community Justice Center, currently focusing on evaluating the Peacemaking pilot program and the Adolescent Diversion Program. In addition to her work in Red Hook, she has led a number of community surveys and is conducting an evaluation of an anti-gun violence initiative in Brownsville, Brooklyn. She is also working on the development of a short risk and needs assessment tool specifically geared towards misdemeanor offenders. Prior to joining the Center, she worked with various non-profit organizations on issues including domestic violence, transparency in foreign aid, and women’s rights. Ms. Hynynen Lambson received her B.A. from Brigham Young University and her Master’s of Public Administration from New York University in 2009.
Resource Coordinator, Newark Community Solutions
Facilities Manager, Midtown Community Court
Assistant Facilities Manager, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Project Director, Brooklyn Mental Health Court
Lucille Jackson, Project/Clinical Director for the Brooklyn Mental Health Court at the Center for Court Innovation, has a master’s degree in clinical social work from the Hunter College School of Social Work. Before joining CCI, she was the program director for New York City’s first Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team, providing on-going in vivo services to court-mandated adults with serious and persistent mental illness, and the program director for an outreach program for adults with serious mental illness living in homeless encampments in New York City. In addition, she has a part-time private practice in Manhattan.
S.O.S. Program Manager, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
Allen James came to the Center for Court Innovation as an experienced trainer, project manager, and organizational leader. Before joining the staff at the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center in 2011, he was executive director of Safe Streets Strong Communities in New Orleans, organizing for police and criminal justice reform. Prior to that, he was a project director at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, overseeing their reentry initiative. He has served as executive director of YouthBASE, Inc., a youth development and health education provider and as a senior manager at the Fortune Society. In 2004 and 2005, he was a Revson Fellow at Columbia University.
Senior Research Associate
Elise Jensen is a senior research associate at the Center for Court Innovation. She is currently working on the Improving Courtroom Communication project and the Defending Childhood Initiative. In addition, she is involved with the evaluation of youth courts in schools. Prior to working at the Center, she has held research positions at several agencies such as the National Gang Center, Florida State University Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research, and the State of Florida Commission on Capital Cases. Her research background is in neighborhood disadvantage, culture, antisocial behaviors, and juvenile delinquency prevention and interventions. Elise received a B.A. in Criminal Justice and B.S. in Psychology from the University of Georgia, and she holds a M.S. and Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Florida State University.
Housing Resource Center Coordinator, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Project Director, Brooklyn Justice Initiatives
Jessica Kay is the director of Brooklyn Justice Initiatives, the newest project of the Center for Court Innovation. Brooklyn Justice Initiatives operates out of the centralized Brooklyn Criminal Court and seeks to forge a new set of responses to misdemeanor and non-violent felony defendants by providing meaningful pre-trial supervised release and post-conviction sentencing options. Ms. Kay joined Brooklyn Justice Initiatives before its launch and played an instrumental role in the planning and implementation of all daily operations. She joined the Center in 2008, first as a social worker at the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn, NY, and then as the clinical director, overseeing all daily clinical operations at the nation’s first multi-jurisdictional community court. While in her role as clinical director, Ms. Kay planned and implemented the Adolescent Diversion Part in Brooklyn, NY, as well as many other special initiatives. Ms. Kay also served on Mayor de Blasio’s 2014 Behavior Health Task Force. Ms. Kay completed her undergraduate studies at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, and received her MSW from the Silver School of Social Work at NYU.
Community Benefit Specialist, Brownsville Community Justice Center
Violence Interrupter, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
Men's Empowerment Coordinator, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
Kenton Kirby is the men’s empowerment coordinator for Make It Happen. Kenton is a native New Yorker who firmly believes in the strength of community and the tremendous benefits that come with interdisciplinary collaboration. Make It Happen is geared towards providing supportive victim services to young men of color, historically an undeserved population due to gender roles and societal expectations of manhood. This program aims to challenge and educate its members, and outside service providers, of the profound long term impacts trauma has on individuals regardless of gender or race. Prior to coming to CHCMC, Kenton worked in child welfare where he witnessed firsthand the role and impact traumatic events in our communities can play on individuals without proper support. In his work though Make It Happen, Kenton hopes to develop a safe space for male victims of violence to support one another following their trauma and develop skills to help members realize their internal strength in pursuing a healthy and productive life. Kenton has a Master’s Degree from New York University and is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in the state of New York. Kenton has experience providing clinical individual and group therapy to children and adults.
Lisa Kociubes Lavitt
Clinical Director, Queens Youth Justice Center
Lisa Kociubes-Lavitt is the clinical director of the Queens Engagement Strategies for Teens (QUEST), a community-based project offering alternative-to-detention and youth development programs for teens. In this capacity, Ms. Kociube-Lavitt oversees clinical operations, including intake screenings, clinical assessments, treatment recommendations, referrals to community-based providers, on-site psycho-educational groups, case management, and crisis intervention. Prior to her work at QUEST, Ms. Kociubes Lavitt served as a social work supervisor and director of the Safe Families Project, a domestic violence initiative at The Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Division. She holds a BA from Bates College and a MSW from Columbia University.
Director, Finance & Administration
Amy Kotler directs the Center’s fiscal and administrative staff and works closely with the Center's Director. She is responsible for fiscal planning, management and oversight, contract compliance, risk management, human resources and employee relations. Her duties include the management of an operating budget in excess of $29 million annually. She developed and is responsible for overseeing Center fiscal and administrative policy and procedures. In addition, she manages the Center’s performance review program and promotes staff welfare and workplace satisfaction for 300 employees. Amy is a 1986 graduate of the School of Business at the State University of New York at Albany. She is a Coro alumna of Leadership New York XV. She has served as the Administrator for the 9/11 Court Families Assistance Fund and the UCS Katrina Courts & Families Recovery Fund. Amy has held financial positions in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors in New York City.
School and Community Specialist, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
Associate Director of Research
Melissa Labriola is a principal research associate at the Center for Court Innovation. She is currently the principal investigator of a randomized trial testing the impact of intensive judicial monitoring on domestic violence offenders in Rochester, New York. She is also project director of a national study of specialized domestic violence courts; and is participating in an evaluation of a New York City-based initiative to address the commercial sexual exploitation of children. She previously served as lead analyst on the Center’s randomized trial testing the impact of batterer programs; served as project director of a national survey of court responses to offender noncompliance with batterer program mandates; and participated in the Center’s statewide evaluation of adult drug courts.
Emily Gold LaGratta
Deputy Director, Training and Technical Assistance
Emily is the deputy director of Training and Technical Assistance. In this role, she provides consulting services to jurisdictions domestically and internationally, including assistance provided under the Problem-Solving Justice Initiative, a project supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the U.S. Department of Justice to promote the wider use of problem-solving practices in an effort to reduce crime and incarceration while strengthening public trust in justice. Emily leads the Center's technical assistance efforts on the topic of procedural justice and has served as the project manager for the Improving Courtroom Communications project. Before joining the technical assistance team, she was on the planning team for several New York-based initiatives, including the Brownsville Community Justice Center, a new community court to be opened in central Brooklyn. She is a graduate of Pomona College and the University of Wisconsin Law School.
Director, Technical Assistance
Julius Lang is the director of Training and Technical Assistance at the Center for Court Innovation. Mr. Lang oversees the Center's consulting services—including workshops, site visits, and in-person consulting—for jurisdictions around the nation and internationally. He currently spearheads national technical assistance efforts for the Problem-Solving Justice Initiative, an effort supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the U.S. Department of Justice to promote the wider use of problem-solving practices to reduce crime and incarceration while strengthening public trust in justice. In addition, he oversees the Center's role as site coordinator and technical assistance provider for the Minority Youth Violence Prevention initiative, a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Heath. Previously, Mr. Lang served as the coordinator of the Midtown Community Court—the Center’s first demonstration project—in Manhattan’s Times Square neighborhood. Prior to joining the Midtown Community Court, Mr. Lang was chief of staff to New York City’s Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Villanova University School of Law. He also spent several years as an associate at the international law firm of Shearman & Sterling, serving in their New York and London offices.
Associate Director of Research
Lenore Lebron is the associate director of Research for the Center’s demonstration projects. Ms. Lebron oversees all research pertaining to the Center’s demonstration projects, including Midtown Community Court, Harlem Community Justice Center, Red Hook Community Justice Center, Bronx Community Solutions, Newark Community Solutions, and Brooklyn Mental Health Court. She is also currently working on a risk-assessment tool to assist police departments engaging in diversion programs. Previously at the Center, Ms. Lebron worked on an evaluation of a gun violence prevention program in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, a nationwide evaluation of adult reentry courts, and an evaluation of the predictors of success at mental health courts. Prior to working at the Center, Ms. Lebron held the position of crime analyst supervisor in the Phoenix Police Department’s Crime Analysis and Research Unit where she was responsible for analyzing crime trends and completing research projects and reports. Ms. Lebron holds a B.S. and a Master’s in Criminal Justice from Arizona State University.
Reentry Coordinator, Harlem Community Justice Center
Stephanie Leverett serves as the reentry coordinator at the Harlem Community Justice Center, where she manages the daily activities of the Reentry Court and Manhattan Reentry Task Force and supervises the work of the reentry case managers. She joined the Center for Court Innovation in March of 2010, as a group work specialist, facilitating cognitive behavioral therapy interventions. Stephanie has worked with underserved populations for over 10 years, while earning a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor certification and Bachelor’s Degree from The College of New Rochelle. In 2012, Stephanie graduated from Lehman College, where she earned a degree in Social Work.
Family Case Manager, Harlem Community Justice Center
Amanda Levering is the family case manager in the Reentry Family and Faith Circles of Support program at the Harlem Community Justice Center. This program focuses on supporting young parolees, between the ages of 18-26 and their families as they transition back into the community. Prior to working at the Justice Center, Amanda worked for the Delaware Department of Justice as a counselor and substance abuse counselor at an outpatient facility. Additionally, Amanda served in the United States Peace Corps as a Health Volunteer in Nicaragua in 2009. Amanda earned her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from University of Delaware and is currently enrolled in the Management Fellows Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Social Work.
Administrative Associate, Harlem Community Justice Center
Edith Lopez is the facilities and administrative associate at the Harlem Community Justice Center. Ms. Lopez handles all clerical and fiscal work, and provides intake support to the Help Center, helping clients access housing assistance and other social services. Ms. Lopez received her Associate’s Degree in Entrepreneurship in 2005, and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Communications in 2007, both from Johnson & Wales University.
Program Associate, Technical Assistance
Michela is the Training and Technical Assistance associate. Prior to joining the Center, Michela taught elementary school in Brooklyn as a corps member with Teach For America. She previously worked to design and implement a reentry curriculum for parolees and their families in Los Angeles with the ACLU of Southern California's Jails Project, and served as the assistant to the Peacekeeping Adviser at the Mission of Rwanda to the United Nations. She graduated from Occidental College and received her Master's in Education from the Relay Graduate School of Education.
AIM Mentor, Staten Island Youth Justice Center
Leticia Lucero is an advocate/mentor in the AIM (Advocate, Intervene, Mentor) program, which is part of the Staten Island Youth Justice Center. AIM serves as an alternative-to-placement program that provides intensive mentoring and advocacy support to youth who otherwise would not receive a community-based disposition in Family Court. In this role Leticia provides one-on-one mentoring and advocacy to youths and supports overall program development with a focus on service opportunities. Previously, Leticia served two years as a case manager with the Staten Island Youth Court as part of the Americorps program. Leticia subsequently served as a program associate with Youth Justice Programs and the Greenpoint Youth Court. Currently, Leticia is pursuing her bachelor’s degree at Baruch College.
Court Liaison, Queens Youth Justice Center
Vanessa Lynch is the court liaison with the of Queens Engagement Strategies for Teens (QUEST), a community-based project offering alternative-to-detention and youth development programs for teens. In this capacity, she serves as the primary liaison and representative between QUEST and court room staff. Mrs. Lynch presents verbal reports to the court regarding client’s program participation and works closely and collaboratively with criminal justice stakeholders. She coordinated and developed an alliance with the Legal Aid Society-Queens Juvenile Rights Division in order to provide workshops and trainings to the young people in the QUEST after-school program. Prior to this position, she served as a compliance nonitor with QUEST. Mrs. Lynch received her Bachelors of Music from Howard University and is currently pursuing her M.A. in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Michele Maestri is the Center Court Innovation's office manager. She comes to the Center with over 25 years of office management, facilities, and human resources experience in both large and small institutions. Additionally, Michele spent 13 years volunteering for Canstruction, a charity of the architectural and engineering industry, whose goal is to fight hunger. She is a graduate of Hunter College with a degree in Psychology and Education.
Associate Director, Technical Assistance
Danielle Malangone is the associate director of technical assistance at the Center for Court Innovation. Prior to joining the technical assistance team, she served as the deputy project director of the Midtown Community Court, where she directed the court’s clinical and workforce development operations, as well as its research and planning projects. Mrs. Malangone also helped develop and implement new community court projects in the Bronx and Newark, and she currently co-chairs the Center’s evidence-based practices initiative. Before joining the Center in 2005, she worked as a clinical supervisor for the Brooklyn TASC program, where her work helped create alternatives to incarceration for offenders with co-occurring substance use and mental illness. Mrs. Malangone is an adjunct professor at the New School University and a graduate of Coro Leadership New York XVIII. She received her B.A. from Oswego State University and M.A. in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
HTML, Graphic and Multimedia Specialist
Adam Mansky is the Center for Court Innovation’s director of operations. Adam supervises Bronx Community Solutions; Midtown Community Court; Newark Community Solutions; and the Red Hook Community Justice Center. He also supervises the Center’s technology department. Adam served as the Red Hook Community Justice Center’s planner, coordinating all aspects of design, construction and program development, and then, its first project director. He also led the planning and implementation of New Jersey’s Newark Community Solutions and provided support to the British government during the initial program design phase of the North Liverpool Community Justice Centre. Before joining the Center for Court Innovation, Adam practiced corporate law at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and securities litigation at Weil, Gotshal & Manges. He received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D., cum laude, from New York University School of Law.
Social Worker, Midtown Community Court
Lauren Marker is a social worker at Midtown Community Court. In this role, she provides clinical assessments, group counseling, and individual counseling. She is also working to develop programming for the Mental Health Initiative. Prior to joining Midtown, Ms. Marker worked at Harlem United, providing harm reduction substance abuse and mental health counseling. Ms. Marker has also provided trauma-informed mental health counseling to individuals living with HIV/AIDS, formerly incarcerated individuals, LGBTQ homeless youth, and sex offenders. Ms. Marker received her B.A. in Psychology and Sexuality Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Master’s in Social Work from New York University.
Clinical Youth Justice Specialist, Staten Island Youth Justice Center
Intake Associate, Midtown Community Court
Program Coordinator, Newark Community Solutions
In her role as Newark Youth Court program coordinator, Awinna oversees the day-to-day operations of the Newark Youth Court, supervising and managing Youth Court participants, staff, interns, and volunteers. Before joining Newark Community Solutions, Awinna served as the Community Law and Policy Fellow at the Center for Collaborative Change in Newark, NJ, where she was the Research Lead for the 2012 Newark Needs and Impact Assessment—a report that identified the greatest areas for community need as indicated by both quantitative data and the opinions and insights of community stakeholders and Newark residents. Awinna has also facilitated teen violence workshops and aided victims of domestic violence in obtaining orders of protection as part of the CAP program at Sanctuary for Families. Awinna holds a BA from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, a JD from Rutgers School of Law-Newark, and is a licensed attorney in New Jersey.
Director of Special Projects, Violence Against Women
Ms. Mazur provides technical assistance and strategic planning advice to courts and communities that are interested in changing their response to violence against women and children by supplying best practice information, written materials, needs assessments, trainings, and consultation. Ms. Mazur also coordinates and provides training to judges and community leaders across the U.S. and internationally on the issues of violence against women. Ms. Mazur is an attorney and has extensive experience in the field of violence against women. She was a staff attorney at the National Network to End Domestic Violence and was the staff director of the Mayor’s Commission on Violence Against Women both in Washington, D.C. She was an attorney at the House of Ruth Shelter, Domestic Violence Legal Clinic in Baltimore, Maryland where she represented battered women clients in civil cases. Ms. Mazur is a graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law and Tulane University.
Deputy Project Director, Harlem Community Justice Center
John Megaw, LCSW, MPA, is the deputy project director at the Harlem Community Justice Center. Mr. Megaw oversees the staff at the Justice Center including the clinical team which provides services to parolees, juveniles, families, and other Justice Center clients. Mr. Megaw was the first clinical director at the Midtown Community Court, the nation’s first community court, which opened in 1993. He was named the coordinator of the Parole Reentry Program in 2001 and became the Justice Center’s deputy project director in 2006. Mr. Megaw is responsible for overall project implementation including operation of one of the nation's first parole reentry court projects designed to help stabilize parolees in the initial phase of their community reintegration. Mr. Megaw has a master’s in Social Work from the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Work and a master’s in Public Administration from New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.
Clinical Coordinator, Alternatives to Incarceration, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Reentry Case Aid, Harlem Community Justice Center
Cramon Milline joined the Center’s staff in October of 2010 in his current role as a reentry case aide with the Harlem Parole Reentry Court. Prior to joining the staff, Mr. Milline served two years in the Center’s AmeriCorps program where he assisted men and women retuning from prison. In his current position, Mr. Milline works with the reentry team to help men and women in the first six months of their return from prison to the community by providing positive support and service referrals.
Case Manager, Bronx Community Solutions
Advocate / Mentor; Advocate, Intervene, Mentor (AIM) Program
John Moody is an advocate/mentor in the AIM (Advocate, Intervene, Mentor) program, which is part of the Staten Island Youth Justice Center. AIM serves as an alternative to placement program that provides intensive mentoring and advocacy support to youth who otherwise would not receive a community-based disposition in Family Court. Through one-on-one mentoring, John develops relationships with youth and their families. John has worked with youth in the Staten Island community for 13 years. He has great experience and abilities to share with young people. John is a graduate of Brooklyn College with a B.S. in Physical Education. He also completed the Department of Youth and Community Development’s (DYCD) Family Development Training and Credentialing course in June 2012. John is also an accomplished athlete and brings significant energy and insight to the youth engaged with the Center’s programs.
Crew Supervisor, Newark Community Solutions
Johnathan Mosley is a crew supervisor at Newark Community Solutions. Mr. Mosley is responsible for supervising offenders assigned to community service projects in Newark. In this role, Mr. Mosley works with one other Newark Community Solutions staff to ensure a highly responsive, well-run community service program and supervises crews participants ordered to perform community service by the Newark Municipal Court.
Project Director, Newark Community Solutions
Kelly Mulligan-Brown is the project director at Newark Community Solutions, New Jersey’s first community court program. Ms. Brown oversees all program operations for Newark Community Solutions, the Newark Youth Court, and the Newark United Against Violence initiative. Ms. Brown has been with Newark Community Solutions since its inception, serving as the project’s first resource coordinator. Before joining Newark Community Solutions, Ms. Brown worked as a state-certified psychiatric screener with The Psychiatric Emergency Screening Program at Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus, NJ. Ms. Brown also worked in case management and jail diversion for the Integrated Case Management Services unit of Care Plus NJ. Ms. Brown graduated from Lafayette College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology.
Program Coordinator, Harlem Youth Court
Salam Mustafa is the program coordinator for the Harlem Youth Court, an early intervention program for youth who have committed violations, minor misdemeanors, and other minor offenses. As coordinator, Ms. Mustafa trains youth court members on the various roles of the youth court, facilitates youth court sessions, conducts outreach with community members, and manages the cases referred to the youth court from schools, police precincts, probation, the law department, and criminal court. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Mustafa served with AmeriCorp as the youth development associate for the Harlem Youth Court. Her year of service included creating community benefit projects for youth such as, Walk MS, intergenerational work between seniors and young people, and volunteering at churches to feed those in need. She received a B.A. from California State University, San Marcos, where she was active on various social justice groups.
Managing Director of Development
Case Manager, Bronx Community Solutions
Melissa Novock currently works with women arrested for prostitution in the Bronx, as a member of the STARS (Services to Access Resources and Safety) team at Bronx Community Solutions. Ms. Novock has extensively worked with survivors of violence within the context of the court system and various not-for-profit organizations in the Detroit area. She is a graduate of Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, and the University of Detroit Law School.
Social Worker, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Employment Services Coordinator, Syracuse Office
Dan Olivadoti is the employment services coordinator for the Syracuse Office. Through the Parent Support Program, Dan provides career services to individuals who need to find employment in order to meet their child support obligations. Services includes career counseling, job search assistance, resume creation, and interviewing skills, as well as coaching to help clients maintain employment once they secure a job. Dan has an extensive experience working with individuals who face barriers to employment, including refugees, ex-offenders, persons with disabilities, and displaced homemakers. He has overseen several programs at a number of not-for-profit agencies and corporations in Central New York.
Administrative Associate, Queens Youth Justice Center
Intake Coordinator, Midtown Community Court
Associate Director of Research
Sarah Fritsche is an associate director of research with the Center for Court Innovation. She is currently the Principal Investigator on several federally funded studies, including a BJA-funded project to develop and validate a pretrial assessment for misdemeanants, a BJA-funded study of risk and needs among defendants with serious mental illness, and a COPS-funded study to develop and validate a risk screening tool to inform police diversion decisions. Additionally, she is currently the project director on the Center’s NIJ-funded randomized trial of an evidence-based assessment tool for drug-involved offenders. Recently, she was the principal investigator on a BJA-funded evaluation of a violence prevention program utilizing the Chicago Ceasefire model in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and she continues to act as co-investigator with ongoing evaluations of the Center’s violence prevention programming in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Ms. Fritsche also provides technical assistance nationally the use of evidence-based assessments in drug and community courts and evidence-based practices in violence prevention. Ms. Fritsche brings particular expertise in mixed-methods research design, data analysis, and project management. In 2011 she was appointed chair of the Center’s institutional review board and continues as co-chair in this capacity. She is currently a doctoral student in criminal justice at CUNY’s graduate center and an adjunct lecturer with John Jay’s school of Public Administration.
Youth Developer, Queens Youth Justice Center
Fatherhood Specialist, Midtown Community Court
Genna Plumitallo is the fatherhood specialist at the Midtown Community Court. Prior to coming to Midtown, Genna held a position as a community service representative for John Jay College of Criminal Justice through AmeriCorps. Genna has worked in different roles within the Workforce Development and Fatherhood Department. Currently, her role as fatherhood specialist involves facilitating fatherhood topic workshops, cognitive behavioral therapy, and individual client work. Genna obtained a BA in International Criminal Justice and a BA in Forensics Psychology at John Jay College. Currently, Genna is pursuing an MSW at Hunter College.
Times Square Express Supervisor, Midtown Community Court
Fernan Polanco is a supervisor for the Time Square Express Mail Room at the Midtown Community Court. As a supervisor, he ensures that the individuals that are mandated to do community service comply with their assignments. Mr. Polanco also acts as the assistant facilities manager, where he works to assure that the building is well kept.
Tia Pooler is a research associate at the Center for Court Innovation. She is currently involved in on-site research at the Midtown Community Court, Harlem Community Justice Center, and Bronx Community Solutions. Before joining the Center, Tia held the position of team leader at the British Judicial Appointments Commission in London, the organization responsible for selecting the judiciary in England and Wales. During her time in the U.K., she also carried out research for the Action for Prisoners' Families organization, looking at the impact of imprisonment on the families of offenders. Her most recent academic research project analyzed public perceptions of police legitimacy across Europe. She holds a B.A. in Economics from Boston University, a Master's of Science in Criminal Justice Policy, and a Master's of Science in Social Research Methods, both from the London School of Economics.
Director, Child & Adolescent Witness Support Program
Amy is the program director for the Child and Adolescent Witness Support Program. Her role is to develop and sustain the program’s ability to address the mental health needs of young survivors of violent crime. She is a member of the Bronx Multidisciplinary Team on Child Physical and Sexual Abuse. Over the last fifteen years, Amy has worked with youth and families in foster care, psychiatric hospitals, and community-based programs. Amy has also worked as a diversity trainer for graduate students and as a consultant for a creative healing arts organization. She has volunteered as a birth assistant; a companion for dying patients; and as an art curator and events planner for a social justice community space. Amy received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Villanova University and her graduate degree in social work from Columbia University.
Director, Drug Court Programs
As the director of drug treatment court projects at the Center for Court Innovation, Valerie Raine assists New York’s Unified Court System in developing and training drug treatment courts across New York State. She also oversees the Statewide Drug Court Training & Technical Assistance initiative which is supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. From 1996 to 2000, she was project director of the Brooklyn Treatment Court, where she helped develop and manage New York City's first drug treatment court. She is the immediate past president of the New York Association of Drug Treatment Court Professionals and is a former member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Ms. Raine created and taught a course on problem-solving justice at Fordham Law School, has served as faculty for the National Drug Court Institute and presented on drug treatment courts at numerous conferences over the past 16 years. Previously, she worked for 14 years at the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Division in Kings County, where she was appointed attorney-in-charge in 1994. Ms. Raine is a graduate of Hunter College (1977) and the University of Virginia School of Law (1982).
Senior Research Associate
Deputy Director of Finance & Administration
Director, Syracuse Office and Tribal Courts Technical Assistance
Sarah Reckess is the director of the Syracuse office and a senior associate of the Tribal Justice Exchange. Sarah provides planning and technical assistance to problem-solving courts and justice initiatives in Upstate New York, as well as planning and technical assistance to tribal communities around the U.S. Sarah has taken the lead on writing a number of tribal publications for the Center. Her areas of interest include drug courts/ healing to wellness courts, reentry courts, and juvenile justice. Before joining the Center, Sarah provided legal assistance to Legal Services of Central New York, the Onondaga Nation, and the Syracuse Medical-Legal Partnership. She also worked as the interim director of the Syracuse University Family Law and Social Policy Center. Currently she provides pro bono legal assistance to the 5th Judicial District Pro Bono-University Hospital Clinic. Sarah holds a B.A. in American Studies from Mount Holyoke College, an M.A. in Literature and Environment from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a J.D. with a concentration in Family Law and Social Policy from Syracuse University College of Law.
Principal Research Associate
Warren Reich is a principal research associate at the Center. He is currently working on a validation study of the Misdemeanor Evidence-Based Assessment; an analysis of the prevalence and comorbidity of mental health indicators among youth enrolled in three of the Center’s alternative to detention programs; the national impact study of District Attorneys’ Pretrial Diversion programs; and the documentation of trends in case outcomes for young shoplifters in Staten Island. Prior to joining the Center, he was a program evaluator for The Family Center and a Visiting Assistant Professor in Psychology at Rutgers University. He currently teaches at Hunter College and maintains an interest in developing methods for the study of identity and well-being. He received a B.S. in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Social-Personality Psychology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Deputy Project Director for Drug Court Programs
As the Deputy Director of Drug Court Programs, Dennis A. Reilly Esq. provides training, technical assistance, and development support for drug treatment courts. He has served as the Director of the Brooklyn Treatment Court and the Problem-Solving Courts Coordinator for the Kings Supreme Court. Previously, he worked for the Connecticut Judicial Branch as a Special Deputy Sheriff, Trial Court Clerk, Pretrial Services Officer, Supervision Officer, Court Planner, and as a founding team member of the first two drug courts in Connecticut. He also worked as a Deputy Director at the National Drug Court Institute, developing and initiating the Drug Court Planning Initiative, and is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, School of Administration and Management, the University of Denver, College of Law, and the University of Amsterdam School for Executive Development in International Relations.
Project Manger, Technology
Norman Reiss works with the Center for Court Innovation's programming staff to support, enhance, and train staff in the Justice Center Application (JCA), used by multiple demonstration projects. Mr. Reiss is also managing an initiative to develop a new Salesforce-based application which will be piloted as a potential replacement for JCA. He has also managed database development projects at the Harlem Community Justice Center and the Midtown Community Court, and is currently coordinating a tribal website design project. Since joining the nonprofit sector in 2000, he has worked for multiple organizations in project management and online technology/communication roles, most recently at Bend the Arc and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Mr. Reiss is a regular presenter at the annual Nonprofit Technology Conference and participated in the selection committee for the 2014 Nonprofit Excellence Awards. He is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a CUNY alumnus with a MBA from Baruch College and a BS from Brooklyn College.
Michael Rempel is research director at the Center for Court Innovation, ultimately overseeing all research conducted at the agency. He is currently directing a statewide evaluation of specialized drug courts in New York; a randomized trial of evidence-based assessment tools; a national study of the commercial sexual exploitation of children; and a multi-site formative study of initiatives to address children’s exposure to violence. He is also co-principal investigator on a multi-site evaluation of specialized reentry courts and a study of the Red Hook (Brooklyn) community court. In the past, he has published extensively on research related to drug courts (including NIJ’s Multi-Site Adult Drug Court Evaluation) and criminal justice interventions in cases of intimate partner violence. Recent publications also concern specialized domestic violence courts; the commercial sexual exploitation of children; research methodology; and the potential to apply problem-solving techniques more broadly in traditional court settings. His work has recently appeared in research journals such as the Journal of Experimental Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Criminology and Public Policy, and Violence Against Women; as well as practitioner-oriented journals such as the Justice System Journal, Judicature, Drug Court Review, and Criminal Justice Magazine. He is co-editor of Documenting Results: Research on Problem-Solving Justice (2007). Previously, he published articles on contemporary social theory and the political sociology of advanced industrial societies and co-edited Citizen Politics in Post-Industrial Societies (1997).
Case Manager, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Jacqueline Renaud-Rivera is a case manger with the Red Hook Responders at the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Her main responsibilities are to respond to the social needs in the community and help residents recover from Hurricane Sandy and any future natural disasters. Before joining the Center, she worked as a department of mental health crisis counselor and counseled those directly affected by Hurricane Sandy in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Prior to this position, she was a parent coordinator with the Board of Education. Mrs. Renaud-Rivera received her B.A. in Criminal Justice from John Jay College, and is a proud, long-time Red Hook resident.
Coordinator Community Service, Bronx Community Solutions
Associate Director, Training and Technical Assistance
Natalie Reyes is associate director of Training and Technical Assistance at the Center for Court Innovation. Prior to joining the Center, Natalie spent four years in Santiago, Chile, where she provided technical assistance for legal and public policy reform of Latin American criminal and civil justice systems at the Organization of American States’ Justice Studies Center of the Americas. One of her specialties was how U.S. pretrial reforms could be applied in the Latin American context. She received a B.S. in Psychology from Fordham University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Intake Associate, Midtown Community Court
Community Service Outreach Coordinator, Midtown Community Court
Senior Case Manager, Midtown Community Court
Clinical Director Midtown Community Court
Amanda Roaf is the clinical coordinator at Midtown Community Court. In this role she oversees programming and operations for the clinic department. Amanda’s focus is on developing trauma-informed and strengths-based services that target the key causes of recidivism. She first joined Midtown in 2012 as the youth justice social worker where she developed programming and provided clinical services for adolescent defendants. Her work focused on bringing a trauma-informed and developmentally appropriate approach to court-based work with youth. Amanda has worked closely with stakeholders to strengthen the Adolescent Diversion Program at Midtown. Amanda has also worked with legal stakeholders to develop a curriculum for individuals arrested for solicitation of prostitution. Prior to joining Midtown, Amanda worked as a family therapist for an alternative-to-incarceration program. She has also worked with the Department of Veterans Affairs as a substance abuse counselor and has provided counseling services to individuals incarcerated for committing sex offenses. She received her BS from James Madison University and her MSW from the Silver School of Social Work at New York University.
Clinical Youth Developer
Megann Rogers is a clinical youth developer at Queens Youth Justice Center. Queens Youth Justice Center is a community-based program that provides an alternative to detention for youth who have open delinquency matters pending in Queens Family Court. Megann joined Center for Court Innovation in 2013 as a social work intern at Bronx Community Solutions working specifically with the Adolescent Diversion Project. In her current role at QYJC, Megann works as part of the Futures program, providing mental health assessments, case management, and referrals to community resources that reflect the needs of the individual youth. Megann has a background in youth development stemming from work at Boys and Girls Club, Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, and other afterschool programs. Megann is a Licensed Master Social Worker. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Germanic Studies with minors in Business and Social Welfare Advocacy from Indiana University-Bloomington. She received her M.S.W. from Columbia University School of Social Work.
Resource Coordinator, Bronx Community Solutions
Orleny Rojas is a resource coordinator and in this capacity she serves as the primary liaison and representative between Bronx Community Solutions (BCS) and court room staff. As such, she must be prepared to provide information on programs and services, respond to questions or concerns by courtroom staff, visitors or the public. In addition, the resource coordinator assists judges in identifying appropriate community service/social service sanctions for defendants and provides detailed case information when individuals are returned to the courts on a warrant. Orleny has a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration, a Master’s in Social Work, and is currently working on her Juris Doctorate. Prior to working at Bronx Community solutions she worked at Inwood Community Services, Inc. and Fordham University.
Coordinator of Restorative Justice Initiatives, Staten Island Youth Court
Jacklyn Romanoff, is the coordinator of Restorative Justice Initiatives at the Staten Island Youth Justice Center where she primarily oversees: Staten Island Youth Court, Adolescent Diversion Program, and service learning projects. Jacklyn was the senior case manager at the Red Hook Community Justice Center’s clinic for seven years. In this capacity, she worked with adults struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues. Before coming to the Center, Jacklyn was a domestic violence coordinator for Safe Horizon, the city’s largest victim’s services organization. There she assisted thousands of families by providing assistance in receiving emergency shelter placement and benefits.
Senior Associate, Syracuse
Leah Russell is a senior associate with the Tribal Justice Exchange and the Syracuse Office. For the Tribal Justice Exchange, Leah works on the Tribal Access to Justice Innovation (TAJI) project. In the Syracuse Office, Leah assists with the Near Westside Peacemaking Project. Leah began her work at the Center in 2011 as the coordinator of the Syracuse English-as-a-Second-Language Program, where she provided English language instruction to Spanish-speaking participants in the Syracuse Drug Treatment Court. She partnered with the Syracuse Office to create a toolkit and ESL curriculum designed to assist other drug courts in New York State in developing effective ESL programs of their own. Leah received her Master's Degree in Latin American and Iberian Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2010.
Project Director, Queens Youth Justice Center
Sally Sanchez is the project director of Queens Engagement Strategies for Teens (QUEST), a community-based project offering alternative-to-detention and youth development programs for teens. QUEST's programs include an after-school and community supervision program for youths arrested on delinquency charges; a youth court, in which local teenagers serve as jurors, judges, and attorneys in actual cases involving peers; and QUEST Futures, which provides assessments, case management, and family support for justice-involved youths with mental health problems. As project director, Ms. Sanchez is responsible for day-to-day operations and program development. Ms. Sanchez previously served as the associate director of youth development at the Harlem Community Justice Center. Prior to joining the Center for Court Innovation in 2005, she worked as a domestic violence advocate with Safe Horizon's Domestic Violence Police Program. Ms. Sanchez received her B.A. in Government from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and her M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Milano, The New School for Management and Urban Policy.
Education Advisor/Consultant, Westchester County Family Court
Laura Sapirstein is an education advisor/consultant in the Westchester Court Education Initiative at Westchester County Family Court. The Education Initiative is designed to address the educational needs of children ages 3-21 whose parents are in court due to allegations of neglect or abuse, children who have been placed in foster care, those reuniting with their biological families, or children in the adoptive process. This population is generally at a higher risk for developmental disabilities, truancy, and tenuous living situations, which severely impact their ability to make even adequate progress in school. Through careful consultation with judges and court attorney referees, Laura works with attorneys for the child, the Department of Social Services, school districts, and caregivers to help protect and insure the children's educationally related legal entitlements and helps to promote safe and effective plans for school programming. Laura has been a resident of Westchester County for close to 30 years, was raised in Riverdale, and attended the New York City Public Schools. She holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Special Education from New York University and was both a teacher and administrator in the Boston Public Schools. Since moving back to New York in 1986 she has advocated for the educational rights of Westchester students, and has trained attorneys, social workers, school district personnel, and caregivers on federal and state education mandates.
Peacemaking Program Director, Tribal Justice Exchange
Erika Sasson is the peacemaking program director for the Center of Court Innovation, responsible for the planning and implementation of the peacemaking program. Ms. Sasson also serves as senior associate on the Tribal Justice Exchange, providing planning and technical assistance to tribal communities across the United States. Originally from Montreal, Ms. Sasson received her Bachelor's degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Toronto and her civil and common law degrees from McGill University. Prior to joining the Center, she worked in Toronto as a federal prosecutor, where she handled drug, gun, and gang cases. Ms. Sasson completed fellowships on monitoring and preventing torture for the National Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, on criminal justice and civil rights for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and on the penal system of the indigenous Awá nation for an NGO in Ecuador. Ms. Sasson moved to New York in 2009 to attend New York University, where she received an L.L.M. degree in criminal justice.
Associate Director/Senior Attorney Advisor, Drug Court Programs
Annie Schachar serves as Associate Director/Senior Attorney Advisor for the drug court program at the Center for Court Innovation. In this role, Ms. Schachar advises attorneys, judges, and other drug court practitioners on legal issues relevant to drug courts. Previously, Ms. Schachar served as director of the Center’s Kings County Court-Based Intervention and Resource Team, an alternative-to-incarceration program in Brooklyn for offenders with mental health disorders. Before joining the Center, Ms. Schachar practiced law as a defense attorney with Legal Aid Ontario in Toronto, where she represented clients in drug treatment court, mental health court, and aboriginal court. Prior to this, she was an Assistant Crown Attorney for the Ministry of the Attorney General, prosecuting defendants in both the appeals office and the trial office. Ms. Schachar is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s criminology department and Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.
Outreach Worker, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
Community Service Supervisor, Bronx Community Solutions
Ramon Semorile came to work for the Center for Court Innovation in 2005 as a community service crew supervisor for Bronx Community Solutions. He assisted with developing the Community Service Department at Bronx Community Solutions, which includes outreach efforts to Bronx Community Solutions clients and building relationships with community worksites. Ramon’s role at Bronx Community Solutions has expanded to include intake specialist, team member with the DWI Initiative, as well as social service group facilitator in both English and Spanish, which led him to develop classes and programming for clients who speak Spanish. In 2013 Ramon completed a fellowship at Hostos Community College called We Are the Bronx Fellowship, uniting service providers in the Bronx and providing them with professional development in their fields. Ramon is the co-chair of the Bronx Re-Entry Working Group and the facilitator of the Re-Entry Anonymous Support Group, having started his advocacy efforts on behalf of returning citizens in 2010.
Director of Planning and Development
Jillian Shagan is the director of planning and development for the Center for Court Innovation. She has worked on a variety of court and community-based initiatives citywide, including most recently a pre-trial supervised release program for misdemeanor offenders in Brooklyn. She also led the planning team for Save Our Streets (SOS) South Bronx and oversees the Center’s gun violence prevention efforts. She supervises several Center projects, including the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center (which she previously directed) and the Harlem Community Justice Center. Ms. Shagan also oversees the Center’s development department and is responsible for coordinating all Center-wide fundraising and grants management efforts. Before joining the Center, Ms. Shagan directed the legal division of Lutheran Family and Community Services, an immigration and refugee resettlement agency, where she managed three church-based community immigration clinics. She received her B.A. from Oberlin College and her law degree from the New York University School of Law.
Director, Midtown Community Court
Dipal Shah is director of the Midtown Community Court, the nation’s first community court. In this capacity Mr. Shah leads a staff dedicated to providing alternatives to incarceration for quality of life offenses and enhancing the community through programs which include adolescent diversion, fatherhood and workforce development, responses to human trafficking, LGBT tailored clinical services, community service and more. An admitted attorney, Mr. Shah was previously Director of Policy Development and Programming at the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy where he worked with legal scholars, policy leaders, and the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government on progressive legal policy issues. Mr. Shah also practiced law at several nationally recognized law firms. Mr. Shah is a cum laude graduate of the American University, Washington College of Law where he was editor of the Administrative Law Review. He is also a graduate, with honors, of Northwestern University where he received his B.A. in Political Science and International Studies. Mr. Shah has spoken on access to justice, diversity, LGBT, labor, and employment issues. He was selected as one of the “Best 40 Lawyers under 40” by the National LGBT Bar Association in 2013, and his writing has appeared in the Advocate online and in various journals.
Associate Director of Development
Coordinator of Youth & Community Programs, SIYJC
Romel Shuler is the Coordinator of Youth & Community Programs at the Staten Island Youth Justice Center where he primarily oversees two programs: Project READY and Justice Community Plus. Through both programs, Mr. Shuler directs pro-social activities focused on educational advancement, life skills, and job readiness. Mr. Shuler has a Certificate in Ministry and Human Service and is an honors student at the College of New Rochelle. Prior to joining the Center, Mr. Shuler served as a mentor and facilitated groups for at-risk youth.
Kristen Slesar is a bilingual trauma-focused psychotherapist at the Child and Adolescent Witness Support Program and in private practice. She is also an adjunct faculty member of the Narrative Medicine Program at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and a consultant and trainer for the Graduate School of Applied Psychology of New York University and the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault. Kristen previously coordinated the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner and Volunteer Advocate Programs at a major private hospital in New York City and managed a small basic center/shelter for homeless LGBTQ teens and young adults in Harlem. Kristen has a Bachelor's degree in Latin American Studies from Stanford University, a Master's of Social Work from New York University and a Master's of Science in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University.
Clinical Coordinator, Newark Community Solutions
Colleen Smith is the clinical coordinator at Newark Community Solutions. In this role, Ms. Smith oversees the clinical components of the program including psycho-educational groups, individual case management, clinical assessment, and referrals for mental health and substance abuse treatment. In addition, Ms. Smith provides clinical supervision to Newark Youth Court and the Newark United against Violence initiative, a collaboration between Newark Community Solutions, the Newark Office of Reentry, and the Newark Police Department. Ms. Smith supervises a team of clinical staff and case managers as well as Bachelor's and Master's level interns. Prior to joining Newark Community Solutions, Ms. Smith served as the Clinical Supervisor for Community Education Centers where she oversaw clinical services to clients on three units of a residential treatment facility for Essex and Union County inmates and state parolees. She graduated from McGill University and received a Master’s in Social Work from New York University.
Employment Specialist, Brownsville Community Justice Center
Senior Program Associate
Manager, System Administration and New Media
Gene Sorkin joined the Center in 1999 and is currently responsible for network administration and technology service management. He maintains the Center’s servers, workstations, audio visual equipment, phone/voicemail systems and Blackberrys. Working with Novell and Microsoft networks, he manages multiple site networking, terminal services, VPN, remote desktop and firewall products. Mr. Sorkin provides on-going research and support for cutting edge technology products and systems, and special projects such as a project-based Linux operating system. Mr. Sorkin also functions as the Center’s photographer for special events. His photos of the Mayor of New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg have appeared in the Benchmark Journal and some of his personal work has been published in the New York Times.
Associate Director of Court Operations, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Ms. Soto has been a part of the Justice Center since October 2001. Ms. Soto is responsible for assisting with the oversite of Criminal Court, including the daily operations of the Alternatives to Incarceration department. Ms. Soto has an implicit working knowledge of the Justice Center’s technical operations, the intricacies of work flow and compliance monitoring. In her time at the Justice Center Ms. Soto has held several roles including AmeriCorps Member, and Coordinator of Alternative to Incarceration. Ms. Soto seamlessly integrates a deep appreciation for court operations with an even deeper appreciation, respect, and care for the community.
Violence Interrupter,Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
Patient Navigator, Syracuse Office
Laura Stabile, LCSW, directs the Patient Navigator Program, which helps court-involved women who are pregnant or parenting a young child establish a "medical home" and access community resources to better their own health and the health of their children. Laura has an extensive background in maternal and infant health care issues, including many years working at Children's Hospital: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Since relocating to Syracuse, Laura has worked at Crouse Hospital in the Emergency Department, Labor and Delivery Unit, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Case Manager, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Shaneeka Stanley is a case manager of the Red Hook Responders at the Red Hook Community Justice Center, where she assists with community issues and outreach. Ms. Stanley first joined the Center for Court Innovation through its AmeriCorps program, serving for two years at the Harlem Community Justice Center. Shaneeka obtained her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the City College of New York with a minor in Jewish Studies. Ms. Stanley was raised in Red Hook, Brooklyn and still calls it home today.
Workforce Development Coordinator, Harlem Community Justice Center
Linda Steele-DeNardo first came to the Midtown Community Court in 2004 when she was referred to their Times Square Ink Job Readiness program. In 2006, Linda was hired as an executive assistant to the project director. In 2009, Linda joined the Workforce Development Department as the employment specialist, facilitating the Times Square Ink Job Readiness Program. Linda researched and wrote a curriculum which centered on life and job skills necessary for re-entering ex-offenders to the work force. In 2012, Linda became the reentry case manager at the Harlem Community Justice Center where she worked with individuals on parole being released to the communities of Harlem and facilitated the cognitive behavioral intervention, "Thinking for a Change." Linda earned certification as an offender workforce development specialist by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and is now the workforce development coordinator for the Harlem Justice Center/Harlem Justice Corps. Linda has recently completed the development and implementation of the Harlem Community Justice Speaker’s Bureau. She has received the prestigious Avon Award for Empowering Women and Changing Society and the Making a Difference Award issued by the commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.
Violence Interrupter, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
Coordinator of Court Operations, Bronx Community Solutions
Associate Director of Research
Rachel Swaner is an associate director of research focusing on justice issues related to children and youth. She is currently the project director of the multi-site evaluation of the Defending Childhood Initiative, the U.S. Attorney General's multi-site initiative to address children's exposure to violence. She is also the research coordinator for a national portrait study of the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Prior to joining the Center, she was a researcher at the Harlem Children’s Zone, where she evaluated social, educational, and health programs for children and youth. Ms. Swaner received her Bachelor of Science and Masters of Public Administration from New York University, and her Ph.D. in Sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center. She teaches at NYU's Wagner School of Public Service.
Operations Manager and Neighbor Services Coordinator, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
Marlies Talay joined the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center in September 2013, where she manages the Center’s fiscal and administrative needs, coordinates community events and outreach, and oversees neighborhood services. Previously, she spent two years working in youth development with City Year New York, and is a former Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. Marlies graduated from Pomona College in 2010, where she studied politics and racial justice.
Senior Research Associate
Tech Support Analyst, Department of Technology
Director of Operations, Tribal Justice Exchange
Brett Taylor is director of operations for the Center’s Tribal Justice Exchange program. He formerly was the Center’s deputy director of national technical assistance. Before joining the Center in 2007, Mr. Taylor served as the senior defense attorney for six years at the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn, New York. Prior to that, he was a trial attorney for the Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn for over 10 years. Mr. Taylor has worked with numerous tribes on creating justice system strategic plans and needs assessments. He has presented at numerous national conferences on tribal courts, community courts, community prosecution, and other community justice topics. He was the attendance court hearing officer in P.S. 27, a Brooklyn elementary school from 2007-2010. He has also been a trainer for the Red Hook Youth Court since 1998 and has been organizing and coaching in the Red Hook Youth Baseball League since 2000. Mr. Taylor holds a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
Andree Tenemás-Chavez is the resource coordinator for Kings County Parent Support Program. This innovative program provides a new tool for courts to address issues of underemployment, education, and social issues that impact a non-custodial parent’s ability to pay child support. In this role, Ms. Tenemás-Chavez meets with non-custodial parents to conduct assessments, recommend service plans, and connect non-custodial parents to community based resources. She provides case supervision to facilitate child support compliance and provides the court with progress reports so that the court may take the appropriate action. Prior to joining the Center for Court Innovation Ms. Tenemás-Chavez worked as an educational specialist for The Children’s Aid Society/Brooklyn PINS Diversion Program where she conducted comprehensive psychosocial/educational assessments and adolescent counseling using principles of human development. She designed and facilitated bilingual educational workshops informing parents of promotion criteria, educational policies, regulations, and entitlements. Ms. Tenemás-Chavez received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Brooklyn College, City University of New York.
Rebecca Thomforde Hauser
Associate Director, Domestic Violence Programs
As the Associate Director of Domestic Violence Programs, Rebecca Thomforde Hauser assists jurisdictions nationally and in New York State to plan and implement Domestic Violence, Integrated Domestic Violence, Sex Offense and Youthful Offender Domestic Violence Courts. Before coming to the Center, she was a Victim Witness Advocate at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Boston, providing crisis intervention, case management, and court advocacy to domestic violence victims as well as other victims of violent crimes. While in Boston, she also worked at Safe Havens: The Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence, creating curricula and coordinating a year-long training domestic violence education program for clergy and laity from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations throughout the greater Boston area. She graduated from Earlham College, where she received a Fulbright Scholarship, and Boston University School of Theology.
Catherine “Anisah” Thompson
Reentry Aide, Harlem Community Justice Center
Catherine “Anisah” Thompson is a reentry aide with the Harlem Community Justice Center. She provides assistance to formerly incarcerated persons and their families who are engaged in programming at the Justice Center. Prior to assuming her current role in 2011, Anisah was an AmeriCorps national service member assigned to the Justice Center. Anisah previously worked as a peer advocate with the Correctional Association of New York, Fortune Society, and Goodwill Industries’ Project Caring Communities. In 2007, Anisah received the Coalition for Women Prisoners Advocate for Justice Award. She attended LaGuardia Community College and has a certificate in Office Technology.
Office, Facilities, and Community Relations Manager, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Melissa has worked at the Justice Center for over ten years and started as an administrative assistant after obtaining her Associate of Occupational Studies. With past experience in office management; she had a smooth transition into the role as Facilities Manager and quickly grew a passion for maintaining a community building that provides so many services to her neighborhood. Melissa, recently took on the role as Community Relations Manager; where she keeps the Red Hook community fully aware of all the services offered at the Justice Center, local schools, organizations, and community centers.
Case Manager, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Clinical Specialist, Newark Community Solutions
Tonya Tucker is a clinical specialist at Newark Community Solutions. In this capacity Ms. Tucker is responsible for providing a range of court-based clinical and social services to adult defendants coming through the Newark Municipal Court, including intake screening, clinical assessments, treatment recommendations, referrals to community-based providers, compliance monitoring, on-site psycho-educational groups, case management, crisis intervention, and counseling services. Before she joined Newark Community Solutions, Ms. Tucker had served in various capacities with several New Jersey agencies that serve incarcerated and reentering populations including The New Jersey Association on Correction’s FORGE Project and Essex County College’s W.I.S.E. Women’s Center. Ms. Tucker graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Social Work.
Social Worker, Brooklyn Justice Initiatives
Program Director (UpNext), Midtown Community Court
Bo Twiggs is the program director for UPNEXT. He joined the Midtown Community Court staff in 2009 as the Job Developer and Retention Specialist for the organization's Workforce Development department after completing his Master's of Social Work degree at Fordham's Graduate School of Social Service. Bo is committed to helping individuals overcome the barriers preventing them from meaningfully engaging with their families, the world of work, and society.
Crew Supervisor, Bronx Community Solutions
Case Manager, Queens Youth Justice Center
Deputy Director and Peacemaking Coordinator, Syracuse Office
Lisa Vavonese is the peacemaking coordinator of the Syracuse Office. Ms. Vavonese oversees the Near Westside Peacemaking Project. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Vavonese was the director of the Reentry Clinic at the Center for Community Alternatives in Syracuse, and an Assistant Public Defender in Monroe County, New York. Ms. Vavonese also assisted refugees in Tanzania, and domestic violence survivors in Malaysia, and clerked in trial chambers at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands. Ms. Vavonese received her B.A. from Hartwick College, and her J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School.
Intake Specialist, Red Hook Community Justice Center
Senior Web Technology Associate
Alina Vogel is a senior web technology associate, she is in charge of the administration and development of the Center's websites; her responsibilities include project management, programming, design, and ongoing development. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Vogel worked for a number of not-for-profit organizations, including the Ms. Foundation and the White House Project. She has also worked for the Environmental Protection Agency. In her native Romania, Ms. Vogel worked for 4 years as a reporter for a major Romanian newspaper and various magazines. She received her Master's in Journalism from Bucharest University.
Youth Justice Social Worker, Midtown Community Court
Haddijatou Waggeh is the youth justice social worker at the Midtown Community Court. In her current capacity, she provides in-depth clinical assessments, group counseling, and individual counseling to court-involved youth; and works collaboratively with court and community stakeholders to assist defendants in the Manhattan Adolescent Diversion Part. She comes to Midtown with experience in youth and program development. Ms. Waggeh holds a Bachelor’s in Political Science and a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University.
Hospital Coordinator, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
Allyson Walker Franklin
Allyson is a program/research associate at the Center for Court Innovation. Prior to joining the Center for Court Innovation she worked on internal evaluation as a research associate at Inwood House and interned in the Prison Visiting Project at the Correctional Association of New York, looking at conditions and the treatment of inmates in New York State prisons. She holds an MSW from Columbia University, where she has been involved in research looking at arrest data in New York City as well as nationwide studies of the effects of paternal incarceration on parents’ housing stability. She also holds a BSW from Cedar Crest College.
Project Director, Harlem Community Justice Center
Christopher Watler is project director of the Harlem Community Justice Center, the community court in Harlem focusing on housing, youth crime, and offender reentry. As director, he oversees day-to-day operations and program development. Mr. Watler previously served as the Deputy Director of National Technical Assistance where he provided information & assistance on community justice initiatives to a broad audience, by leading site-visits to the Center’s demonstration projects, conducting training, providing hands-on assistance to jurisdictions developing community court and prosecution programs, assisting in the development of community justice curricula, and coordinating partnerships with model community justice programs. Mr. Walter has also served as part of the original planning teams for the Red Hook Community Justice Center and the Crown Height Community Mediation Center. Before coming to the Center, Mr. Walter worked as the Operations and Training Manager at the City Volunteer Corps and as a Community Center Director for the Union Settlement Association where he supervised programs involving youth and seniors. He holds a Masters of Public Administration from John Jay College of the City University of New York.
Principal Research Associate
Elise White is a principal research associate focusing on justice issues related to youth, human trafficking, and alternatives to incarceration. She is currently the principal investigator on the second phase of the Misdemeanor Assessment Project, a federally-funded, multi-site, multi-phase study of risks, needs, and targeted interventions across misdemeanor populations. She is also co-principal investigator on a federally-funded study of the characteristics, needs, and trafficking rates of people who exchange sex for money in New York City, and a senior researcher on a comprehensive study examining the impacts of school safety and positive climate and culture in New York City public schools on a range of school safety outcomes. Prior to this position, she served as deputy director at the Midtown Community Court, where she directed the court’s clinical operations, as well as its research and strategic planning projects; and as the director of youth and community justice at the Red Hook Community Justice Center, where she oversaw court, clinical, and program operations for youth 21 and under, planning projects and new initiatives for young people and the community at large. She holds a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. She teaches at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.
Program Associate, Youth Justice Board and Youth Justice Programs
Lisa-Marie Williams is the program associate for both the Youth Justice Board and Youth Justice Programs at the Center. Before joining the Youth Justice Board, Lisa-Marie worked with the Attendance Achievement Program, a truancy-prevention program that worked with middle and high school students in the South Bronx and Harlem. Prior to joining the Center for Court Innovation, she served two years with the national service organization AmeriCorps State and National, by leading Mayor Bloomberg’s Service in Schools initiative with the New York City Department of Education that assisted teachers all around the city in implementing service-learning into their classroom curriculum. As program coordinator, Lisa-Marie was able to help expand the number of New York City students involved in community service reaching 600,000 students between 2011 and 2012. She is an active member of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and is the president-elect of the New York Metropolitan Chapter. Former student representative for the Section for Women in Public Administration, Lisa-Marie earned her Bachelor’s in Forensic Psychology with a minor in Criminology. She also holds a Master’s in Public Administration, through John Jay College’s National Online Inspector General Program with a concentration in Inspection and Oversight.
Robert V. Wolf
As director of communications, Robert V. Wolf's responsibilities include writing and editing monographs, articles, grant proposals, web content, and speeches as well as directing and producing videos and podcasts. Rob's work has appeared in anthologies and numerous publications, including the New York Times, The Justice System Journal, National Black Law Journal, Crime & Justice International, Judicature, The Judges' Journal, International Review of Law Computers & Technology, New York State Bar Association Journal, and Texas Journal of Corrections. Before joining the Center in 1999, he worked as a reporter, columnist, and editor for the Staten Island Advance and, prior to that, as a reporter for the East Hampton Star. His book "The Jury System" was honored by the New York Public Library as one of its recommended "Books for the Teen Age," and his work for the Center has received awards from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Wolf is also author of The Alternate Universe and The Escape and hosts the New Books in Science Fiction and Fantasy podcast. Born and raised in Illinois, he is a graduate of Columbia University.
Planner, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center