Maria Almonte, the director of our Bronx Community Solutions, speaks at a news conference introducing the new opioid treatment court in the Bronx. A first in New York City, the initiative offers treatment and services in lieu of a guilty plea and incarceration for defendants judged to be at risk of an overdose. In 2016, 308 people died from drug overdoses in the Bronx, the most of any New York City borough. Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, to the right of the podium, Executive Assistant D.A. Odalys Alonso, and Criminal Court Supervising Judge George A. Grasso are helping to lead the effort. After two months of operation, 52 defendants have been placed in treatment overseen by Bronx Community Solutions. (Photo: Bronx D.A.'s Office)
Youth Court Now in Session!
A new cohort is inducted into Staten Island's youth court at a recent ceremony at the Staten Island Justice Center. As with all of our youth programs, youth court engages the voices of young people to improve justice for all. We operate five youth courts in the New York City-area, with a sixth slated for the Bronx. The courts take a restorative approach to misbehavior, and train young people to adjudicate real-life cases involving their peers.
Our Restorative Justice in Schools team gives the audience a taste of one of its ice-breaker exercises at a recent meeting at the Center. We've implemented school-wide restorative justice programs in five high schools in Brooklyn, N.Y. Our researchers are evaluating the programs' effectiveness at reducing disparities in punishment by race and disability. One of the staff explained, "For some of these kids, our discussion circles are the only chance they get to really talk."
Media Lab: Brownsville
John Bryant, with the tech lab at our Brownsville Community Justice Center, speaks at a recent NYC Media Lab panel on how virtual reality technology is changing our experience of urban environments. John was explaining the Justice Center’s work developing innovative technology to solve community problems and create new opportunities for youth-led community development.
A graduate of our Parent Support Program in Brooklyn addresses the crowd after receiving his diploma. In partnership with Brooklyn Family Court and the Office of Child Support Enforcement, the program helps non-custodial parents find work, increase their support payments, and engage with their children. The graduate was praised for his determination to support his child and for keeping the court informed of his progress.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams gets an introduction to a new augmented reality app created by a team of young coders at our Brownsville Community Justice Center. The app offers users a chance to reimagine under-utilized spaces in the community.
To mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month, staff of our Red Hook Community Justice Center were joined by police officers, community members, and youth program participants in a peace walk. The event was organized by Red Hook CARES, the Justice Center’s victim services program providing counseling and restorative services to individuals who have witnessed or been the victim of violence.
UPNEXT for Dads
Rahmel Warren, a participant in UPNEXT, our fatherhood engagement program, works keeping New York’s Times Square clean. A project of our Midtown Community Court, UPNEXT provides training and resources to non-custodial, often justice-involved fathers, helping them find employment and reconnect with their families. The program also offers short-term employment through a partnership with the Times Square Alliance. See here for a brief video introduction to the program. Enrollment is open for the next cycle beginning November 6: apply or make a referral online or call 646-264-1354.
Justice of a Different Feather
Ironbound Community Corporation’s LaQuan Thomas introduces one of the inhabitants of the Ironbound garden to Newark Community Solutions’ Lamar Mitchell. Our program seeks to reimagine justice in Newark, New Jersey.