The Center for Court Innovation held a book-launch for To Be Fair: Conversations About Procedural Justice. The book is a compilation of interviews with more than 20 practitioners working on the ground to improve perceptions of fairness in the justice system. A first for the Center, the event was live-streamed, a recording of which can be seen here. Pictured left to right, are Emily Gold LaGratta, our director of procedural justice initiatives, along with three of the people interviewed in the book: Barbara Marcille, the trial court administrator for Oregon’s Multnomah County; Melba Pearson, the deputy director of the ACLU of Florida; and Steve Leben, a judge on the Kansas Court of Appeals. Visit our procedural justice page to see all of our resources, including a handy three-minute animated video introducing the topic, and an online training on implicit bias.
Dancing for Dad
At a recent Save Our Streets, 'Stop Shooting, Start Living' talent show in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Lavon Walker Jr. performs a dance tribute to his father to the music of Michael Jackson. Lavon Walker was a founding member of S.O.S. in Crown Heights who was fatally shot in Miami last year. More than 300 people attended the show, with a number of performances addressing the effects of gun violence and the importance of S.O.S.'s work to engage its community. (Photo courtesy of Sina Basila.)
Art vs. Prison
Participants and supporters of an arts program for court-involved youth in Brooklyn workshop a performance exploring the most important moment surrounding a young man’s arrest. A collaboration between Brooklyn Justice Initiatives and Recess, the program gives young people charged with misdemeanors the option of participating in a curriculum of art and performance education, after which prosecutors can choose to dismiss and seal their cases. Several participants from the first cohort to complete the program elected to do additional, optional work, including the public workshop pictured here. A second cohort gets underway at the end of this week. (Photo courtesy of Alloy/Kaz Sakuma.)
Help for Child Witnesses
Participants at a recent meeting convened by the Center for Court Innovation brainstorm different strategies for preparing children to testify in court. The meeting was part of the Child Witness Materials Development Project, funded by the Office for Victims of Crime, a component of the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice. Experts came from all over the country to discuss how to develop materials to support child witnesses and victims who testify in court, as well as provide guidance for caregivers and justice personnel who help to prepare them.
Your Serve, Senator!
New York State Senator Michael Gianaris recently dropped by our Queens Youth Justice Center. Along with several rounds of ping-pong, Senator Gianaris also spoke with some of the young people enrolled in the Alternative-to-Detention program and was an enthusiastic participant in a session of the Neighborhood Youth Justice Council. The Council is a forum for young people to address neighborhood challenges in collaboration with partners from justice and law enforcement.
At a recent meeting at the Center, Jamaal Anderson, a client of our supervised release program at Bronx Community Solutions, explained the difference the program has made in his life. Many people are detained awaiting trial simply because they cannot afford bail. As an alternative to detention, the program provides supervision and voluntary social services to eligible participants charged with misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenses. The Center operates programs in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Speaking of his social worker, John Megaw, right, Jamaal noted, "having someone there to steer you in the right direction really was a big help for me. I had to not let him down, as well as myself."
Stop Shooting, Start Living
Eric Cumberbatch of the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence speaks at a recent event celebrating 400 days and counting without a shooting incident or homicide in or near the Albany Houses in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The area is covered by S.O.S. Brooklyn whose outreach teams mediate conflicts that may end in gun violence and act as peer counselors for community members at risk of committing, or being the victims of, violence. #StopShootingStartLiving
Bridging the Gap
As part of our focus on enhancing trust in justice, the Red Hook Community Justice Center recently hosted its third 'Bridging the Gap' event. The series brings together local police, young people, and community members to facilitate conversation and break down stereotypes. The theme of this event was 'Game Night,' and was attended by more than 100 people, including about 25 officers. Seen here is Officer Fuentes of the 72nd Precinct in conversation with one of the evening's participants. Click here for more information on the evening. (Photo credit by Lauren Henschel.)
Community Advisory Board
Bronx Community Solutions recently hosted its bi-annual Community Advisory Board meeting. The gathering provided an opportunity for community partners, service providers, supporters, and staff to network, address areas of need in the Bronx, and hear about the work Bronx Community Solutions is doing in the courts and the community.