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 18 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 by engaging the community in prevention prog
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.
The Youth Justice Board, teenagers from across New York City who investigate a current justice system or public safety issue, looked into social media and how police and schools use it for surveillance. Researching the actions and policies of the justice and school systems in New York City, the Board outline the serious consequences surveillance has on young people, identify opportunities to protect, educate, and support youth, and provide specific policy recommendations to address these concerns.
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.
Our year-long study of young New Yorkers in areas with high rates of gun violence found the fear of police and widespread experiences of violence are primary motivations for carrying a gun. The findings suggest public safety efforts centered on law enforcement are failing to make these young people feel safer. The report concludes with concrete recommendations that account for the violence—both interpersonal and systemic—that shapes their daily lives.