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.
Harlem on the Sound
Members of the Harlem Youth Court pause for a photo during their recent spring retreat on the Long Island Sound. Over the course of the weekend, members reflected on their work hearing real-life cases involving their peers. They also braved challenges such as rock-climbing and a high-ropes course. We operate five youth courts in and around New York City, with a sixth in the Bronx launching this summer (Bronx teens can apply here). In other youth program news, our Youth Justice Board is also accepting applications for its 2018-2019 program.
We host an international conference dedicated to innovations in community justice every two years. The 2018 conference, 'Community Courts & Public Safety,' took place last week in Birmingham, Ala. Over the course of three days, the more than 300 attendees from jurisdictions around the world discussed everything from expanding the use of restorative justice to tackling racial disparities in the justice system. Visit the conference page for the full agenda, photos, videos, and more.
Interrupting Violence at Home
New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray, right, launches the “Interrupting Violence At Home” initiative to address domestic violence through services, training, and intervention for abusive partners who are not involved in the criminal justice system. The Center for Court Innovation contributed to the initiative, which was unveiled at a press conference at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with a research report by Purvi Shah, left. The report was funded by Chapman Perelman Foundation. (Photo: Ed Reed/Mayor’s Office)
Beats Against Gun Violence
Migel Haynes performs his verse from 'Level Up,' an original song and music video produced by our Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (YO S.O.S.) anti-violence program and Urban Arts Beat. The occasion was the launch of YO S.O.S.'s 2018 media arts campaign against gun violence. The team also produced a short documentary on the work of YO S.O.S. You can read more about that work in this Chalkbeatprofile, and learn about the group's artistic partnership with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC.
A Fresh Coat for Earth Day
Red Hook Community Justice Center and Center for Court Innovation staff, along with partner organizations, the New York City Police Department, and community service participants tackle a long graffiti-covered stretch of metal fencing near the waterfront in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The fresh paint job was in honor of Earth Day. Red Hook's Neighborhood Restitution Crew takes on frequent clean-up and beautifying projects and each year defendants sentenced to community service at the Justice Center contribute about 6,000 hours of labor.
A Picture is Worth…
The Center for Court Innovation recently created three leadership councils to support staff and encourage inter-agency collaboration. At the first meeting of one council, illustrator Chrissie Bonner visually represents the Center’s dynamic structure.
Help for Trafficking Victims
Judge Toko Serita of the Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Court explains how the court works to reduce the use of criminal convictions, instead connecting trafficking victims to trauma-informed services. The International Association of Women Judges recently convened a meeting of more than 20 judges from around the world at the Center for Court Innovation. Much of the discussion focused on mitigating the collateral consequences of justice-involvement for trafficking victims. The Center provides national consulting on anti-trafficking reforms along with statewide training in support of New York's Human Trafficking Intervention Courts.
Marching to End Gun Violence
Members of Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (YO S.O.S.) rally at the March for our Lives, taking their message of "Stop Shooting, Start Living" to the nation's capital. The youth branch of our Save Our Streets anti-violence program, YO S.O.S. works in central Brooklyn empowering young people affected by violence, offering them career and leadership training and educational support, as well as helping them organize for positive change in their community.
More than 250 guests joined the Center for Court Innovation last week at a benefit celebrating justice reform and the accomplishments of four New York City innovators from a variety of fields. The honorees were New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, Made in Brownsville’s Quardean Lewis-Allen, Propel Capital’s Sarah Williams, and L&L MAG’s MaryAnne Gilmartin. The evening was hosted by actor and activist Jeffrey Wright.
Start Here: A Roadmap to Reducing Incarceration
What can be done to reduce the number of people sent to jail and prison? Start Here: A Road Map to Reducing Mass Incarceration, released this month from The New Press, offers a concrete road map for anyone who wants to move from analysis to action. Written by Greg Berman and Julian Adler from the Center for Court Innovation, proceeds from sales will support our reform efforts. To order Start Here from Amazon, click here. To order from an independent bookseller, click here.