Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, over 500,000 people a night in the U.S. lived without shelter, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. During the pandemic, those numbers rose even higher. Afraid they might contract COVID-19 in a shelter and lacking safe alternatives, many more people than usual sought warmth and safety in transit hubs.
New York City's promise to shutter its notorious Rikers Island jail complex hinges on reducing the number of people in city jails—the overwhelming majority held awaiting trial. This new report from the Independent Commission that called for Rikers' closure in 2017 and the Center for Court Innovation lays out a series of concrete, data-driven strategies to produce sizable jail reductions while prioritizing public safety.
This fact sheet summarizes the mission and impact of Manhattan Justice Opportunities, a program of the Center for Court Innovation, that helps build safer communities and a fairer justice system by providing social services and supportive resources as effective alternatives to the traditional responses to crime, empowering people to make positive changes in their lives.
Specialized domestic violence courts centralize resources and trained staff to handle a dedicated domestic violence docket. Domestic violence courts operate in jurisdictions across the country, adapting to local laws and court structure, available resources, and community-specific needs. While there is no one model for a specialized domestic violence court, they rely on some common strategies and goals to ensure victim/survivor safety, a robust coordinated community response, and accountability and engagement for those who cause harm.
Responding to domestic violence safely and effectively is a top priority for many tribal justice systems, especially given the high rates of domestic violence experienced by Native women. Strengthening the tribal justice response can take many, interrelated forms, but may include a specialized Domestic Violence Court as well as implementing Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. This fact sheet outlines the ways these two interventions can complement and strengthen each other.
In her new book, historian Elizabeth Hinton highlights a "crucible period" of often violent rebellions in the name of the Black freedom struggle beginning in 1968. Initiated in almost every instance by police violence, the rebellions—dismissed as "riots"—have been largely written out of the history of the civil rights era. Hinton contends the period is critical for understanding the roots of mass incarceration and contains important lessons today for people organizing against police violence.
In this episode, our host Juan Carlos Areán is joined by Mary Case, Manager of the Legal Advocacy Project for Survivors at the Los Angeles LGBT Center and Cat Shugrue dos Santos, Deputy Executive Director for Programs at the NYC Anti-Violence Project. They discuss the importance of applying an intersectional lens when intervening on intimate partner violence within LGBTQIA+ communities.
Thousands of veterans experience homelessness each year and many hundreds also find themselves in the justice system. Veterans treatment courts provide participants substance use treatment in lieu of jail and also provide support with benefits, employment and housing. A key partner in their work is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which created the Veterans Justice Outreach Program with a goal to end homelessness among veterans. In 2016, specialists with the Veterans Justice Outreach Program worked with 461 veterans treatment courts. By 2019, that number had grown to 601.
Legal system fines and fees can trap people of limited means in cycles of debt, and even incarceration, lasting for years. As we work to support efforts towards the long-term goal of decriminalizing poverty altogether, this brief gives an overview of an important near-term reform: ability-to-pay assessment tools.
One of every four people killed by police is experiencing a mental health emergency. Changing how we respond to crisis in the moment—and to widespread, ongoing mental health needs—means deferring to the leadership of people with lived experience and putting racial equity at the center of every reform. On our New Thinking podcast, listening to the people who know how to fix systems, because they’re surviving those systems' harms.