The summer is off to a busy start here at the Center for Court Innovation. Here is a sampling of some of our recent work.
Developed in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Treatment Courts Online is our new library of training videos for treatment court practitioners, offering free lessons on the latest research and evidence-based practices. Each online course includes lessons presented by experts in the field, virtual site visits to model courts, and interviews with frontline practitioners.
Homeless Not Hopeless
Our after-school leadership development program, the Youth Justice Board, helps New York City teenagers study a public policy issue affecting young people. This year, the Board examined the intersection between youth homelessness and the justice system. In their final report, Homeless Not Hopeless, board members offer recommendations for expanding diversion programs and increasing support for LGBTQ youth in foster care.
Harlem Parole Reentry Court
In Harlem, we are working to help parolees transition from incarceration back into their community. A randomized controlled trial documented that the program has reduced reoffending and improved employment outcomes. New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. helped celebrate the latest graduation. (See here for other recent videos.)
In recent months, the Center has been working with the Manhattan D.A's Office to divert young people arrested for non-violent, misdemeanor offenses out of the criminal justice system. The District Attorney recently announced that he is expanding this work. This new initiative will help about 5,000 first-time offenders avoid the risk of a permanent criminal record each year.
Thanks to the Criminal Justice Reform Act passed by the New York City Council and signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio, 100,000 low-level cases each year will be shifted from criminal to civil court, reducing the possibility of a criminal record or jail stay. Through our new program, Civil Alternatives, defendants who can’t, or choose not to, pay a fine will be offered a range of community service alternatives. The project is part of our work to address the disparate impact of justice-system fines and fees on defendants who cannot afford them.