The Center for Court Innovation's Research-Practice Strategies team spent three days in Guam working with justice-system stakeholders to enhance constitutional protections found in the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In this picture, local practitioners are brainstorming system improvements that can be made to ensure right to counsel, speedy trial, and other portions of the amendment.
25 Years of Problem-Solving Justice
Midtown Community Court is celebrating its 25th anniversary this fall. As highlighted in U.S. News & World Report, the court’s problem-solving model of responding to low-level crime with social services and community restitution projects has inspired more than 70 similar initiatives across the U.S.
Neighbors in Action
After 20 years serving residents of Brooklyn, N.Y., our Crown Heights Community Mediation Center is getting a new name: Neighbors in Action. The new name reflects the change in the program’s focus—from its original emphasis on mediating conflict to its current work preventing gun violence, providing trauma support services, running youth leadership development programs, and offering free legal information. Lavon Walker Jr., whose father worked for the program as an anti-violence advocate and was killed last year while vacationing in Miami, cut the ribbon at a ceremony outside the program’s Crown Heights storefront.
Bringing Health Home
A group of Brownsville, Brooklyn, residents of all ages launched a “pop-up” fitness program called B-FIT to promote health and wellness. Developed in collaboration with our Brownsville Community Justice Center, the program includes healthful food and fitness equipment that can be brought to neighborhood events. Organizers were inspired by the neighborhood’s alarming health indicators, including high rates of infant mortality, pre-term births, psychiatric hospitalizations, and avoidable diabetes hospitalizations.
Michael K. Williams in Red Hook
The Red Hook Community Justice Center hosted Emmy-nominated actor and Brooklyn-native Michael K. Williams ('The Wire,' 'The Night Of,' and many more) for a screening of his documentary 'Raised in the System' at the Red Hook Labs. The film explores the roots of mass incarceration through the lens of the juvenile justice system. The audience of more than 100 people included 25 youth currently serving sentences in non-secure detention facilities. Williams (far left) was joined by Dominic Dupont, who was granted clemency by Governor Cuomo after serving 20 years in prison, and Derrick Hamilton, who was exonerated for murder after serving 21 years.
Hear ye, hear ye!
With the opening of the Bronx Youth Court, we now run youth courts in all five boroughs of New York City and in Newark, New Jersey. Youth courts train teens to handle real-life cases involving their peers, taking a restorative approach to misbehavior. Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and Supervising Bronx County Judge George Grasso congratulate youth court members at their induction ceremony.
Parkland Students Visit the South Bronx
Survivors of February's fatal school shooting in Parkland, Fla., including David Hogg (foreground in backwards cap), join members of our Save Our Streets gun violence-prevention program for an outreach walk through the South Bronx. Hogg is a leading voice of 'March For Our Lives,' currently on a national tour to rally support for gun control and encourage more young people to vote. (Photo: Joe Martin/Keyz 2 Life Media)
A Cut Above
New York State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore (with scissors) helps celebrate the launch of Legal Hand in the Bronx. After extensive training, community volunteers at Legal Hand’s storefront offices in the neighborhoods of Highbridge and Tremont provide free legal information and referrals to their neighbors. With DiFiore, from left, are Bronx Deputy Borough President Marricka Scott-McFadden, Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner, and Volunteer Coordinator Erica Maldonado.
Welcome to Red Hook!
The Red Hook Community Justice Center teamed up with Groundswell to create a mural to welcome people to the Red Hook community. It was designed and painted by youth with input and assistance from Justice Center staff, community partners and residents. Neighborhood police officers also helped with the painting. Located at the corner of Hamilton and West 9th Street and completed in June, the mural draws on themes of unity, diversity, and intergenerational bonds that tie the neighborhood together.
Take the A(thens) Train
A team of interns from the Tech Lab at our Brownsville Community Justice Center attended a conference in Athens organized by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation where they demonstrated their virtual reality game Fireflies: A Brownsville Story, which allows users to explore life in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville through first-hand accounts of actual residents. After the presentation, the group, which included, from left, Adrian Richardson, Rayquan Graham, and Candace Oliver, explored ancient sites, including the Parthenon.
Restorative Justice on PBS NewsHour
Erica Wright, a coordinator of our Restorative Justice in Schools program, facilitates a "harm circle" between two students in conflict at Canarsie Educational Complex in Brooklyn, N.Y. The image is from a feature report on the program by PBS NewsHour. In an effort to strengthen relationships school-wide and address discrepancies in New York City school suspension rates based on race, gender, and disability, we've implemented restorative justice programs in five Brooklyn high schools. Our researchers are evaluating the programs' impact on school climate and inequities in punishment.
Project Reset: Building on Success
Derek Fordjour, a teaching artist with our diversion program for low-level offenses, speaks at an event in Harlem highlighting Project Reset's use of art programming as an alternative to criminal court. Derek is flanked by successful Reset alumni who were able to ask questions of Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance, left, one of our partners on the program. Project Reset has so far diverted more than a thousand cases from criminal court into a range of community-based programs. Begun as a pilot project for teenagers in 2015, it has since expanded Manhattan-wide to cover all ages.