Community service has been a staple of sentencing in the United States for more than 50 years, yet we know surprisingly little about how it's actually being used. In Act One of this episode of New Thinking, an audio snapshot of community service at the Center for Court Innovation. In Act Two, Joanna Weiss of the Fines and Fees Justice Center offers a national perspective on community service, and the troubling findings of two new reports.
The Brooklyn Mental Health Court represents the Center for Court Innovation's commitment to offering treatment rather than incarceration to people with mental illness who have been convicted of a crime. In 2019, the court commemorated the graduation of its thousandth successful participant.
Program descriptions and recommendations stemming from the nine sites involved in the Minority Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. The sites used a variety of means to address youth violence and reduce disparities in access to public health resources. Our process evaluation highlights common implementation challenges, including engaging families, allocating scarce resources, building capacity, and providing culturally-responsive and trauma-informed programming.
Our survey of more than 600 lower-level courts found that while community service is widely used across the country, many courts are adopting an ad hoc approach to issues such as eligibility, mandate lengths, and oversight of outside service programs. Numerous findings also suggest current practices are undercutting community service's potential to act as an alternative to fines and fees. The study ends with a list of recommendations and avenues for further research.
In our study of more than 800 New York City schools, students who were suspended were more likely to incur other negative consequences, including poor academic performance, dropout, and arrest. Suspensions were also disparately applied, influenced by factors such as race, disability, and economic status. Schools with a better overall climate tended to use suspensions more sparingly, and we found positive approaches, such as restorative justice, could greatly improve outcomes for students and school climate alike.
What’s the connection between ending bail and closing jails? Organizing, organizing, organizing. On New Thinking, the Katal Center's gabriel sayegh explains why New York's reforms to bail might be the most significant in the country, and, when it comes to New York City's notorious Rikers jail, what needs to happen to get "the last person off that island."
Project Reset is a diversion program operating in three of New York City's five boroughs offering a new response to low-level offending that is proportionate, effective, and restorative. Participants who complete brief community-based programming avoid a criminal record without ever setting foot in a courtroom.
Over the past several decades, the proportion of girls and young women arrested in the United States has increased, with Black girls being disproportionately represented in many steps throughout the juvenile legal process. This webinar will highlight the innovative work of the EMERGE Academy, an educational reentry pilot program for young women residing in Alameda County, who have had prior contact with the criminal or juvenile legal system.
As chief medical officer for New York City jails, Homer Venters realized early in his tenure that for many people dying in jail, the primary cause of death was jail itself. To document what was actually taking place behind bars, Venters and his team created a statistical category no one had dared to track before: "jail-attributable deaths." His work led him into frequent opposition with the security services. It also led to his book, Life and Death in Rikers Island.
The Group Violence Intervention model seeks to reduce violent and gun-related crimes. This report documents the model’s implementation and impact in Newburgh, New York. Results suggest the rate of violent crime in Newburgh was significantly lower than rates seen over the previous five years. While this drop was consistent with broader downward trends, the decline in Newburgh was greater than in neighboring comparison communities.