25 Years of Justice Together
For 25 years, the Center for Court Innovation has worked to create a fair, effective, and humane justice system by focusing our energies in three areas–creating programs to test new ideas, performing research to determine what works, and providing expert assistance to justice reformers around the world. With dozens of programs in New York, New Jersey, and California, we are making communities safer and transforming lives. Last year, we served tens of thousands of people, supported reformers in 43 states with advice and training, and released over 70 publications, including research about the impacts of bail reform, case processing delays, tribal justice systems, Family Court responses to infants and their families, and supervised release as an alternative to bail.
To learn more about our recent and historical work, visit our 2021 Annual Report.
Together we can achieve justice and equity; create safe, healthy, and thriving communities; and transform justice systems.
Message from the Executive Director, Courtney Bryan
The Center for Court Innovation’s ability to build bridges between communities and government has helped us launch dozens of initiatives to transform justice for the better–reducing incarceration, increasing safety, helping families avoid eviction, and working with young people to build new pathways to success. With our unique approach combining research and practice, we’ve shown what the justice system can and should do—not merely punish, but invest in prevention, economic development, and local empowerment.
6:00pm - 7:00pm
Experience our Programs | Cocktails and Passed Appetizers
Get a taste of what our programs do in communities. Join our staff and program participants in a series of activations including an interactive healing Headspace, an entrepreneurial heat press demo, and a DJ set by Taela Naomi, who teaches young people to DJ in our youth programming at the Brownsville Community Justice Center.
7:00pm - 7:45pm
Meet the Innovators
7:45pm - 8:30pm
Celebrate with Us! | Cocktails and Heartier Hors D'oeuvres
Share your photos, videos, and experiences from tonight on social media using #TransformingJustice.
Don Lemon, CNN Anchor and Journalist
Don Lemon anchors Don Lemon Tonight, airing weeknights at 10 p.m. He also serves as a correspondent across CNN/U.S. programming. Based out of the network's New York bureau, Lemon joined CNN in September 2006. He is a #1 bestselling New York Times author of This Is The Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism.
A news veteran of Chicago, Lemon reported from Chicago in the days leading up to the 2008 presidential election, including an interview with then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel on the day he accepted the position of Chief of Staff for President-elect Barack Obama.
He also interviewed Anne Cooper, the 106-year old voter President-elect Obama highlighted in his election night acceptance speech after he had seen Lemon's interview with Cooper on CNN.
He has served as moderator for CNN's political town halls, co-moderated the first 2020 Democratic Presidential Debate and co-hosted the Color of Covid special that addressed the pandemic's impact on communities of color.
Lemon served as the network's leading voice guiding viewers through the death of George Floyd and the summer of nationwide protests.
Greg Berman is the co-editor of Vital City and the distinguished fellow of practice at the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. He previously served as the executive director of the Center for Court Innovation from 2002-2020.
Marlon Peterson is a writervist. Since his decade of incarceration, he has written, created programming, lectured, organized, and advocated alongside the formerly incarcerated, victims of gun violence, womxn, immigrants, and young people.
Marlon is the author of Bird Uncaged: An Abolitionist’s Freedom Song, host of the DEcarcerated Podcast, and owner of his own social impact endeavor, The Precedential Group Social Enterprises and its nonprofit arm, Be Precedential, Inc. His TED talk, “Am I not human? A call for criminal justice reform,” has amassed over 1.2 million views.
As a Soros Fellow, Senior Atlantic Fellow, and Aspen Civil Society Fellow, Marlon has used his activism and pen to advocate for safer communities, reduce the footprint of law enforcement, and amplify the work of individuals and grassroots organizations across the globe.
Marlon’s writervism and DEcarcerated Podcast has allowed him to lecture and conduct workshops throughout the US, Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa, and Oxford, London.
Marlon’s bylines have appeared in USA Today, The Nation, Ebony, Essence, Gawker, The Marshall Project, The Root. Cassius.com, and Mic.com. His essays have also been published in the books: How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others Kiese Laymon, How We Fight White Supremacy by Kenrya Rankin & Akiba Solomon, and Colin Kaepernick's, Abolition for the People: The Movement for a Future Without Policing & Prisons.
Marlon is a soca and steelpan lover, and a Brooklyn representer.
Judge Victoria Pratt
Judge Victoria Pratt (chair) served as the chief judge in Newark Municipal Court in Newark, New Jersey. She also served as the founding judge of Newark Community Solutions, an initiative that provides alternatives to jail and fines to low-level offenders in Newark. Prior to joining the bench, she served as counsel to the City Council President in Newark. She also worked in the counsel’s office for New Jersey governors Jim McGreevey and Richard Codey and as a compliance officer for the Camden school district.
Her TED talk, How Judges Can Show Respect, has been translated into 11 languages and received over one million views. Since leaving the bench, she has worked to advance justice reform in jurisdictions across the nation, and as far as Ukraine, England, Trinidad and Tobago, and Mexico. She has also served as a professor at Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and Rutgers Law School.
Taela Naomi is an award-winning DJ, model, and educator based in New York City. Raised in Brooklyn, New York, Taela's early musical influences included everyone from Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky to Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, and Michael Jackson.
After earning her bachelor's degree from Amherst College, Taela started as an Actors Equity Association performer, performing in several shows, including The Producers, Dreamgirls, High School Musical 2, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Josephine, and Bill T. Jones' Broadway adaptation of Superfly.
With her knowledge of diverse musical genres and a natural ability for cutting and blending, Taela has risen to become one of New York City's most sought-after DJs. She has played all over NYC and has earned praise from the legendary DJ Red Alert and played alongside DJ Tony Touch.
Her signature party, the Dance Party, has become a weekly go-to event for music lovers, dancers, and NYC trendsetters. Her latest party series, Rum + Pum Pum Shorts, which features Afrobeat, dancehall, reggae, and soca music, has been selling out since its launch in September 2017. Taela won the prestigious Uptown Battle of the Bars competition, earning her the title of "Best Uptown DJ."
As an educator, Taela created a course called the "Art of DJing," which she teaches in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Taela's mission is to transcend the typical club experience to get people to connect and move, be present, and boldly fall back in love with dance parties.
Honoring Justice Innovators
The Hon. Jonathan Lippman, former New York State Chief Judge and Of Counsel, Latham & Watkins
Throughout his more than four-decade career serving in all levels of the New York State Court system, Judge Lippman championed a wide range of reforms. He made New York a leader in the development of problem-solving courts, such as drug treatment and domestic violence courts, to improve outcomes for victims, litigants, and communities. Judge Lippman played an essential role in helping found the Center in 1996 and supporting it during his tenures as New York State’s chief administrative judge (1996-2007) and chief judge (2009-2015).
Judge Lippman also strengthened access to justice initiatives by, among other things, providing more funding for civil legal services and resources for self-represented litigants.
Under his visionary leadership, New York became the first state to require pro bono work prior to bar admission, strengthened the criminal defense system, transformed the handling of human trafficking cases, and addressed systemic causes of wrongful convictions.
In 2008, he received the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, presented each year by the nation’s chief justice to a state court judge who exemplifies the highest level of judicial excellence, integrity, fairness, and professional ethics.
In his current role as Of Counsel at Latham & Watkins, he has continued to advance reforms as chair of the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, which has led the charge to close the notoriously inhumane jails on Rikers Island.
Artist/Advocate Shaun Leonardo
Shaun Leonardo’s performance practice, anchored by his work in Assembly—a diversion program for court-involved youth at the Brooklyn-based, arts nonprofit Recess— is participatory and invested in a process of embodiment. Leonardo recently joined Recess as Co-Director, helping guide the organization's continuous evolution as an engine of social change. Leonardo is a Brooklyn-based artist from Queens, New York City. He works as an advisor to the Center’s Project Reset, which offers individuals arrested for a low-level offense the chance to avoid both court and a criminal record by completing a brief program, such as an artist-led workshop.
The program explores accountability on an interpersonal, communal, and systems level, while providing a better understanding of the criminal legal system and the resources available within the community. Leonardo helped design and facilitate the curriculum during Project Reset’s pilot stages and facilitated the creation of Project Reset programming at the Brooklyn Museum and the New Museum. His work has been featured at The Guggenheim Museum, the High Line, and New Museum, and recently profiled in the New York Times and CNN. His solo exhibition, The Breath of Empty Space, was recently presented at MICA, MASS MoCA and The Bronx Museum. And his first major public art commission, Between Four Freedoms, recently premiered at Four Freedoms Park Conservancy.
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
JPMorgan Chase has been a leader in fostering employment through its Second Chance Agenda, which seeks to remove the barriers to employment and economic opportunity facing the millions of Americans with an arrest or conviction record. JPMorgan Chase has been reducing barriers to employment and economic opportunity for people with criminal backgrounds through its hiring practices, its philanthropy, and by advocating for federal and state policy changes. They have supported restoring Pell grants for those in prison, reforming state and municipal laws to address debt-based driver’s license suspensions, and expanding entrepreneurship programs to reduce recidivism and support economic growth. JPMorgan Chase has a leadership role in convening other corporations to increase Second Chance opportunities. With funding from JPMorgan Chase, our Brownsville Community Justice Center is helping increase access to capital that will spur equitable economic development.
Parag V. Mehta is Managing Director and President of the JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter. He works with a team of experts who leverage the bank’s assets, insights, and expertise to develop and advance policy solutions that drive inclusive economic growth in the United States and around the world.
Prior to joining JPMC, he served as Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, the philanthropic hub of the company.
Parag previously served as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy. Parag also spent more than four years directing communications for a civil rights agency in the U.S. Department of Labor and served on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential transition team as a liaison to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and to LGBTQ+ Americans.
Parag earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a B.A. in Plan II Honors from The University of Texas at Austin. He and his husband Vaibhav Jain are currently petitioning the Delhi High Court in India for recognition of their marriage in a landmark case which could pave the way for marriage equality in the world’s largest democracy.
Nan Gibson is Executive Director for Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility at the JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter, based in Washington, D.C. In this role, she works to develop and advance evidence-based policy solutions to drive inclusive economic growth by bringing together global expertise, data, research, and philanthropic investments. Nan works with policy, community, and business leaders to drive effective public policy solutions at all levels of government. She provides policy expertise across a broad range of economic issues and conducts outreach to key stakeholders to build unique partnerships for initiatives related to economic security and workforce development. She works closely with criminal justice reform leaders to advance policies that lower barriers to employment and create greater economic opportunity for individuals involved in the justice system.
Nan developed the strategic framework and co-leads the corporate recruitment and programmatic work of the Second Chance Business Coalition, a group of more than 40 large companies committed to implementing second chance employment practices and advancement strategies. She also develops best practices for serving the financial services needs of older consumers and combating elder financial exploitation.
She previously served as Chief of Staff and Executive Director for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama Administration and as Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. Prior to public service, Nan was a senior leader and communications strategist at the the Economic Policy Institute, a leading think tank that conducts research on American living standards. She began her career covering Congress, politics, and presidential elections for The New Yorker magazine’s Washington columnist and for C-SPAN.
The Tow Foundation
The Tow Foundation, established in 1988 by Leonard and Claire Tow, funds projects that promote transformative experiences and collaborative ventures in fields where there are opportunities for breakthroughs, reform, and benefits for underserved populations. Investments focus on support of innovative programs and system reform in the fields of youth and adult criminal justice, medicine and public health, higher education, journalism, and culture.
Emily Tow (she/her/hers) is the president of The Tow Foundation, a family foundation that envisions a society where all people have a voice in their community and the opportunity to enjoy a high quality of life. Emily joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors at its inception in 1988 and has served as the Foundation’s president since 1995.
Under Emily’s leadership, what started simply as a way for her family to give back to the community has grown into a well-established organization of 13 staff and over $20 million in annual giving. In her role as president, Emily upholds the Tow legacy by advancing the strategic direction of the Foundation and engaging the next generation of family members in the work.
Emily’s commitment to the Foundation’s areas of focus extends far beyond her role as president. She is a trustee of New York Public Radio and The Marshall Project and serves on the Advisory Committee of the American Theatre Wing.
She was appointed by New York’s governor to serve on the New York State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group.
Emily advances the Foundation’s justice priorities through her engagement with numerous other local, state and national committees and coalitions. Emily also formerly served as board chair of Philanthropy New York and as a trustee of Barnard College.
Emily speaks nationally and internationally about the Foundation’s work, its commitment to advocacy as a key to achieving social change, and the value of family philanthropy. She has received numerous honors and awards, including Connecticut Council for Philanthropy’s John H. Filer Award for leadership in promoting private action for the public good.
Emily earned her B.A. in history from Barnard College. She received an honorary Doctor of Criminal Justice degree from University of New Haven in 2017.
Marshall L. Miller
Judge Victoria Pratt
Dr. Ashwin Vasan
Judge Victoria Pratt
Cecily M. Carson
The Hon. Jonathan Lippman
Marshall L. Miller
Marshall L. Miller
There is a future where every person works together to prevent anyone from entering the justice system. It is a world where we all live in safe, healthy, and thriving communities free from violence. Your support for the Center limits incarceration and helps communities take the lead in achieving safety.
Your tax-deductible gift creates a fair, effective, and humane justice system. With your support, this future for justice is possible. Together, we can.
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Center for Court Innovation
Attn: Development Dept.
520 Eighth Avenue, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10018-6645
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Center for Court Innovation/Justice Innovation Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 85-2810883. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable under the law.