Judge Alex Calabrese is stepping down from his 22-year tenure as Red Hook Community Justice Center's presiding judge. The nation's first multijurisdictional court in the country with criminal, family, and housing court cases all appearing before a single judge, this courtroom put people—and the community—at the center of justice. The model has now been replicated in jurisdictions across the country, and internationally, showing the effects of a holistic approach to justice. In this op-ed published by both City & State and NYN Media, Judge Calabrese reflects on 22 years of service, recalling times when the courtroom was turned into a crisis center to meet the needs of the moment, and all the ways in which the Justice Center improves lives in the Red Hook, Brooklyn community.
In Los Angeles County, home to the country's largest jail population, the city and local organizations are partnering to create more equity in the legal process by focusing on mental health. The Center is helping to implement the LA-based Rapid Diversion Program, which helps individuals with mental health diagnoses connect with case management, treatment, housing and job services, and cases are dismissed when a participant completes the program. "If we’re able to help one person and change their trajectory, it can have compounding impacts for their families and their communities,” Chidinma Ume, our interim director of policy, says. Brett Taylor, senior advisor of West Coast Initiatives is also quoted.
The Center's executive director, Courtney Bryan, was honored on this list of the public officials, philanthropic leaders, and nonprofit executives leading the sector in New York. Her profile highlights her role directing the Center's work with government and communities, providing alternatives to incarceration, strengthening communities through safety and economic opportunity, and conducting research and evaluations on these initiatives.
With gun violence on the rise, researchers are turning to those most impacted for solutions. The Center is currently conducting a multi-city gun study that speaks directly with young people's attitudes towards guns, including their reasons for carrying. Speaking to these sentiments in Philadelphia, Center part-time researcher involved in the study, Jonathan Wilson, says. "Everybody is armed. Nobody’s without a gun in these ZIP codes, because they’ve always been dangerous."
These materials were created by the Center for Court Innovation with funding from Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) and are newly translated into African French; Brazilian Portuguese; Chinese (simplified); Spanish; and Vietnamese. These Child Victims and Witnesses Support Materials are for use with young survivors of human trafficking, including excerpts of support from individuals with lived experience and information for a reader who might find themselves in a similar situation.
The vast majority of women at Rikers are awaiting trial, and this op-ed by former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and Sharon White-Harrigan lays out the path to reduce the population of women and gender-expansive people currently detained on Rikers Island, referencing our co-authored report, Path to Under 100.
Violence interruption is a community-based strategy to reduce gun violence and improve public safety in neighborhoods. Our anti-violence program Save Our Streets is profiled and named as a highly successful example of curbing gun violence in the South Bronx, reducing gun victimization by 63 percent in its initial years of implementation.
Prevention: one solution to gun violence that is able to save lives. Shootings disproportionately affect Black communities, and some community members are taking matters into their own hands. “Beyond Black History” podcast host Femi Redwood takes a look at SOS BedStuy’s work to use the power of credible messengers and positive change agents to mediate conflict and prevent violence.
A coalition of criminal justice advocates and experts, including the Center, are calling on New York City officials to study ways to safely release 70% of the women and gender-expansive people being held in Rose M. Singer Center (“Rosie’s”) on Rikers Island. The plea comes a little over a month after the death of Mary Yehudah on Rosie’s. Recommendations include the city form a “population review team” to examine who would be good candidates for release.
"I’d just like people to know that we’re here to continue to help people and try to make a difference for the community,” says Edna McGoldrick of the Red Hook Community Justice Center and the services offered. After operating virtually during the pandemic, our Red Hook Community Justice Center and housing court are re-opened, allowing our staff to assist residents access the repairs, renewals, and services they need, and as always, treat every person that comes through the doors with dignity and respect.
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