As I hope our website makes clear, the Center for Court Innovation is a unique institution. We are a team of researchers, planners, technologists, attorneys, social workers and others who have come together to aid victims, reduce crime, limit the misuse of incarceration, and improve public trust in government.
The Center stands at the crossroads of action and reflection, doing and thinking. Our job is to dream up new ideas and then go out and test them in the real world. (For more on the history of the Center, see this interview with the New York Law Journal.)
We believe in learning by doing. So, we operate a number of programs that are testing new solutions to difficult problems. These range from large-scale reform efforts like the Red Hook Community Justice Center that handle thousands of cases each year to smaller experiments like the Brooklyn Mental Health Court that work intensively with a few dozen participants at a time.
Unlike some other organizations, the Center for Court Innovation aspires to make a difference both on the ground and in policy circles. By supporting the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform with research and strategic advice, we have played an important behind-the-scenes role as New York City has drastically reduced the use of jail and set a goal of closing Rikers Island.
Here are a few recent examples of what policy leaders have to say about our work:
Speaking at the Red Hook Community Justice Center, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that Red Hook "epitomizes what I believe in terms of a progressive approach to public safety."
The late Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson called the Red Hook Community Justice Center an "international model of fairness that should be adopted throughout Brooklyn."
Former New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said: "It's important to have an entity that is working just on research and development and is daring to think out of the box. It's been vital to our success in developing new ways of doing the judiciary's business."
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said: "No group has been more effective at finding ways to reduce recidivism than the Center for Court Innovation." Mayor Bloomberg also named the Center one of the ten most innovative non-profits in New York City.
When he was U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder said, “Over the course of nearly two decades, since the very first community court opened its doors in Manhattan, combining punishment with assistance has proven to be a critical strategy in improving public safety... I’ve seen this first hand...I’m proud of the progress that we are making and of the investments we are directing to support our community courts [and] the Center for Court Innovation.”
New York State Chief Judge DiFiore said, “The Center for Court Innovation has played a crucial role in making the justice system smarter, more effective, and more humane. I salute the Center for its work to define the cutting edge of court reform and look forward to partnering with them in the days ahead.”
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last updated November 7, 2017