Brooklyn Justice Initiatives seeks to improve how the centralized criminal court in Brooklyn handles misdemeanor and non-violent felony cases.
Brooklyn Justice Initiatives is comprised of several distinct components, each of which seeks to provide judges with more options to achieve better outcomes:
Pretrial Supervised Release
In 2013, New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman called for the creation of a supervised release program that would reduce pretrial detention for misdemeanor defendants, minimizing the negative impact of detention on individual lives while enhancing the justice system’s fairness. Brooklyn Justice Initiatives fulfills this mandate, ensuring defendants return to court through rigorous monitoring and links to voluntary services. Participants are non-felony defendants who are unable to post bail. The program offers supervision and case management for eligible defendants, as well as referrals to voluntary community-based programming such as job training, drug treatment, and mental health counseling.
Adolescent and Young Adult Diversion
BJI’s alternative-to-incarceration program serves misdemeanor defendants ages 16 to 24 across Brooklyn, with the aim of reducing the use of jail and preventing future justice system involvement. It offers a broad range of on-site services and referrals to community-based programs including mental health counseling, drug treatment, education, employment assistance, and job training.
Brooklyn Justice Initiatives provides alternatives to pretrial detention and incarceration for defendants with mental health needs, a population comprising over one-third of all incarcerated individuals in New York City. The Court-Based Intervention and Resource Team, or CIRT, offers mental health and substance use assessment, treatment planning, individual case management, psychiatric services, linkages to community-based treatment service providers, and compliance monitoring and reporting.
Human Trafficking Intervention
Brooklyn Justice Initiatives handles cases of prostitution using a trauma-informed and strengths-based approach and provides services to help victims escape the cycle of exploitation and arrest. Beginning with an assessment of the client’s needs, the program offers individual counseling sessions and referrals to community based services, including culturally competent services for trans-women and foreign-born individuals, civil legal services, shelter, educational and vocational programs, outpatient counseling services, drug treatment and mental health services.