Wesleyan alumni and community leaders, including our director of policy and research Julian Adler, discussed the the intersection of criminal justice and the 2020 election. The panelists discussed a wide range of issues, including harnessing the decarceral moment driven by coronavirus and the power of students and young people to affect change.
Krystal Rodriguez, co-author of our study, Bail Reform Revisited, presented in a webinar series with the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice to explore the impact of the 2019 bail reform bill and its 2020 amendments on the culture of pretrial incarceration during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in New York.
Darcel Clark, Eric Gonzalez, Melinda Katz, Michael Mcmahon And Cy Vance—the district attorneys representing all five boroughs in New York City—came together to write their support of Project Reset, a criminal diversion effort, which is at-risk of losing funding if the city does not renew the program by September 30.
High school student Rainer Harris, who is also a second-year member of our Youth Justice Board, writes in the New York Times about his experience with casual racism at his high school, and how the school chose to respond with restorative justice. "Restorative justice doesn’t allow an institution to simply remove the bad apples," he writes. "It inspires solutions that achieve value and respect for everyone. It’s the only way real change can be made."
New York's bail reform "probably increases public safety, by avoiding the harmful effects that create recidivism." Citing our director of jail reform, Mike Rempel, Gothamist examines the campaign to link bail reform to violent crime.
Michael Rempel, director of jail reform at the Center, say it is far too early to draw any hard conclusions on how the new laws have affected New York, given that the policy has been in effect less than a year, and that COVID-19 has created "a series of confusing dynamics" within the criminal justice system that make it even tougher to study.
"Community courts connect defendants with services that can change their lives. That’s something traditional courts aren’t equipped to do," says Julius Lang, a senior advisor at the Center, of the importance of community courts. Through a grant from the Department of Justice, the Center is assisting jurisdictions across the U.S. implement these programs.
Two restorative justice community courts are set to open in September in the Chicago area. The courts are based off the model of our Red Hook Community Justice Center and aim to settle nonviolent felony and misdemeanor cases involving young people using restorative practices.
Supervised release allows defendants to return to their communities before trial, under the watch of a case manager who checks in regularly, and links the client to social services. The program, which we run in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, is now taking new clients in all five boroughs.
Save Our Streets, our anti-violence program, gathered in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn to denounce gun violence after a shooting. The program brings the community together to change norms and behaviors around violence and push for more resources for youth in the area.