Studies show that many defendants, victims, and witnesses have histories of trauma; striving to reduce that trauma is central to our work.
Trauma-informed care—practices designed to identify and treat the symptoms of trauma—is critical to meeting the needs of those involved in the justice system. Recognizing this, the Center’s operating programs and national training and technical assistance are rooted in trauma-informed approaches. Specifically, we train staff working in courts on trauma and its impacts, design courtroom practices to create a sense of safety, and help communities to better understand the impacts of trauma and prevent future crime.
A number of our initiatives also focus on specific populations affected by trauma, including Make it Happen, which works with young men who have experienced violence; the Child Witness Support Program, which offers trauma-informed services to children and adolescents; and the Strong Starts Court Initiative, which supports Family-Court-involved infants and their families.
Bronx Child Trauma Support
Bronx Child Trauma Support provides services to young people who have been exposed to violent crime.
Make It Happen
Make It Happen helps young men between the ages of 16 and 24 who have experienced violence acquire the tools necessary to overcome traumatic experiences.
Save Our Streets (S.O.S.)
Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) seeks to end gun violence at the neighborhood level by changing local norms.
Strong Starts Court Initiative
The Strong Starts Court Initiative enhances the capacity of Family Court to bring positive changes to court-involved babies and their families.
On the occasion of its twentieth anniversary, an introduction to the origins, programming, and community impact of Neighbors in Action, formerly known as the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center. Neighbors in Action works to make the central Brooklyn neighborhoods of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant safer and healthier for all.
On our New Thinking podcast, an audio portrait of Make It Happen, our program working with young men of color in Crown Heights, Brooklyn affected by violence. Through interviews with participants and practitioners, the episode explores the intersections of trauma, involvement with the justice system, and the lived experience of race.
In 1996, 16-year-old Reginald Dwayne Betts was sentenced to nine years in prison for a carjacking. He spent much of that time reading, and eventually writing. After prison, he went to Yale Law School and published a memoir and three books of poems. But he’s still wrestling with what “after prison” means. This is a conversation about incarceration and the weight of history, both political and personal. Betts's most recent collection of poems is Felon.
We all know what's wrong with the criminal justice system (fairness and humanity are often in short supply). Drawing from our work, our director, Greg Berman, describes some community-based solutions—like violence interruption, trauma-informed care for the justice-involved, and social workers rather than bail or detention pretrial—that are already making a difference.