We provide young people with meaningful alternatives to the formal justice system and engage youth voices to improve justice for all.
We operate a range of programs to improve outcomes for justice-involved young people. Our youth courts adopt a restorative approach to low-level offenses while training young people to handle real-life cases involving their peers. Founded in partnership with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, our Brooklyn Young Adult Court incorporates the latest findings on adolescent brain development to forge a new response to low-level offending by 16- to 24-year-olds. We’re also implementing restorative justice programs in five New York City schools and evaluating their effectiveness versus traditional forms of discipline. And our community justice centers offer alternative-to-incarceration and diversion programs for young people along with initiatives designed around mentoring and expanding educational and employment opportunities.
In tandem with these efforts, we focus on fostering youth leadership with initiatives such as police-teen dialogues and programs such as the Youth Justice Board and Neighborhood Youth Justice Councils that help young people research and propose solutions to the policy issues most affecting them.
Brooklyn Young Adult Court
The Brooklyn Young Adult Court seeks to provide meaningful alternatives to conventional prosecution for young people, ages 16 to 24, charged with misdemeanors.
The Center for Court Innovation uses police-youth dialogues as a means of building trust and understanding between young people and police officers in their communities.
Queens Youth Justice Center
The Queens Youth Justice Center is a community-based program that offers a range of services to local youth.
Staten Island Justice Center
The Staten Island Justice Center seeks to reduce crime and incarceration by providing court-involved participants with supportive services and engaging the community in prevention program
Westchester Court Education Initiative
The Westchester Court Education Initiative promotes educational stability and academic success for students involved in the Westchester Family Court.
Youth courts train teenagers to handle real-life cases involving their peers, offering a restorative response to misbehavior.
Youth Justice Board
The Youth Justice Board is an after-school leadership development program that helps New York City teenagers study a public policy issue affecting young people.
With funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Center for Court Innovation conducted a multi-site study designed to increase scientific knowledge concerning youth involvement in the sex trade. Nearly 1,000 youth, ages 13-24, were interviewed across six sites on subjects including entry into the sex trade, earning a living, finding customers, involvement of pimps and market facilitators, health issues and service needs, interactions with law enforcement, and outlook for the future.
Project Reset seeks to provide a more proportionate and meaningful response to low-level offending by offering individuals with no prior arrests the opportunity to avoid prosecution and the collateral consequences of justice-involvement. This report evaluates the program pilot for 16- and 17-year-olds in Manhattan. Results point to positive impacts overall: participants had fewer new arrests and convictions and spent longer periods without experiencing a new arrest. Nearly all of the participants reported they would recommend the program to others.
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.
A feature on helping young people avoid involvement with the justice system highlights our work operating restorative justice programs in five New York City high schools with elevated suspension rates.