At the Center for Court Innovation, we are committed to bridging the worlds of research and practice and spreading programs that have been determined to be effective.
This includes spreading evidence-based practices that have been documented by rigorous evaluation to have a positive impact.
When implemented with care, evidence-based practices are likely to make a difference, reducing crime and incarceration. No matter how strong the research supporting a particular intervention, success is dependent on the quality and consistency of implementation. The use of evidence-based practices should be guided by modesty, an appreciation of local factors, and a healthy dose of skepticism. There are no magic solutions to complicated problems. This balance of rigorous study and a strong connection to on-the-ground practice is at the core of the Center’s research-practice approach.
Rethinking Rikers Island
By providing support to the Independent Commission on Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, we're aiding in the effort to reduce New York City’s jail population and close Rikers Island.
This study examines 16 programs seeking to divert cases out of the criminal justice system finding significant reductions in the probability of a conviction, jail sentence, and future re-arrest, along with sizable savings in costs and resources.
Rachael Rollins says she has seen the criminal justice system from "almost every angle." Now, as Boston's first female African-American district attorney, she's setting the agenda. On New Thinking, she explains her approach of "services not sentences" as a response to low-level "crimes of poverty" and the urgency of changing the traditional role of the prosecutor.
How effective is therapy or treatment when it's used instead of incarceration, and what are the challenges to conducting it inside the coercive context of the criminal justice system? New Thinking host Matt Watkins is joined by clinical psychologist Jacob Ham who works with justice-involved young people affected by trauma, and John Jay College's Deborah Koetzle who evaluates programs aiming to help participants rebuild lives outside of the justice system.
We have long been committed to using data to tell us what works (and what doesn't) when it comes to our reform work. As our director, Greg Berman, explains in this profile of nonprofits' use of data from Crain's New York Business: "I reject the kind of pass-fail analysis where something is a massive success or total failure... If you dig into the data, there's always something you can learn."
Citing our research, former New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman makes a case for the increased use of pretrial risk assessments while also emphasizing the importance of transparency and responding to criticisms of the tools.