With our museum partners, A Guide to Arts and Diversion can help communities respond to low-level offenses in new, less harmful ways.
To create a fair, effective, and humane justice system we must respond to offending in new, less harmful ways. One way to do this is by diverting people out of the justice system as early as possible into programs that promote community safety, while also producing better outcomes for participants.
The Center for Court Innovation has worked with a number of partners to develop Project Reset, which offers meaningful diversion opportunities for New Yorkers before they even get to court. Our partners include two world-renowned institutions, the Brooklyn Museum and New Museum, which have helped Project Reset harness art as a tool for self-reflection and personal growth. With our museum partners, we have just released A Guide to Arts and Diversion to help other communities deploy similar strategies.
One of the persistent injustices of the criminal legal system is its harsh treatment of people accused of low-level offenses. The collateral consequences of traditional punishment can range from losing employment and housing to changes in immigration status or losing access to educational opportunities. Project Reset offers a new approach, providing a way to resolve a case quickly without a conviction or suffering disproportionate consequences.
Project Reset offers a range of voluntary programming. Those who choose to participate in a two-hour session with one of our museum partners will find exhibitions integrated into discussions of the arrest experience, accountability, and identity. Participants who complete the session typically never set foot in a courtroom, and the district attorney declines to prosecute the case.
Through our work with community-based partners, such as the museums, we hope to continue to challenge ourselves to imagine what’s needed to achieve a transformed justice system.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be taking a look at other strategies for reducing the harms of the justice system and the use of incarceration.