Hurt people hurt people. That's not an excuse for harm, but it fuels much of the criminal justice system. At 19, Marlon Peterson was the unarmed lookout on a robbery where two people were killed. Peterson spent a decade behind bars. He writes about those years, and the childhood in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, that preceded them, in his new memoir. I made my own choices, Peterson says, “but I also did not choose to experience the type of things I experienced.”
Our Queens Community Justice Center recently moved to a new location and is planning to open a new office in the Rockaways. The Justice Center is dedicated to supporting people both in and outside the justice system, providing a range of services and opportunities for civic engagement for people of all ages. In this video, see the new space and hear our staff share how expanding services will build a stronger community for the residents of Queens.
This guide provides lessons learned from the Center’s Restorative Justice in Schools Project. Over the course of three years, our team worked in five high schools implementing restorative practices. The theory of change was simple: strong relationships create safer and healthier school environments. The aim of the guide is to assist educators, students, and community members in shifting their schools away from punitive approaches and towards a more restorative environment, and to lay the foundation for the entire school community to build positive connections.
The Harlem Community Justice Center is a neighborhood-based community court committed to bridging the gap between the court and community to achieve fairness and systematic equity in housing, community health, and access to justice. We believe the community should have a voice in addressing its problems and defining justice, we and seek to empower communities to transform the systems that serve them.
This fact sheet describes the Queens Community Justice Center (formerly the Queens Youth Justice Center), a program of the Center for Court Innovation, which works with people both in and outside the justice system, providing a range of supportive services and opportunities for civic engagement for people of all ages.
Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) Bronx is part of a network of community-based efforts throughout New York City to end gun violence. S.O.S. was the first among the network to adapt the Cure Violence model to New York. S.O.S. uses public health strategies to respond to incidents and prevent violence before it starts. S.O.S. works closely with local organizations, neighborhood churches and pastors, community residents, and the individuals considered most likely to commit a shooting. Independent evaluators credit S.O.S.
Why do some young people carry guns? It's a difficult question to answer. People in heavily-policed neighborhoods with high rates of violence aren't generally enthusiastic about answering questions about guns. On New Thinking, hear from three of the authors of a year-long study we led into young people and guns. The findings are disturbing, but if the goal is to learn from marginalized communities themselves what help they need, no less important is the way the research was conducted.
Our year-long study of young New Yorkers in areas with high rates of gun violence found the fear of police and widespread experiences of violence are primary motivations for carrying a gun. The findings suggest public safety efforts centered on law enforcement are failing to make these young people feel safer. The report concludes with recommendations that account for the violence—both interpersonal and systemic—shaping their daily lives.
The Justice Center endeavors to create conditions for safety by strengthening Brownsville’s social infrastructure, activating its public spaces, and expanding the opportunities available to young people. When crime does occur, it is ensured that the justice system responds in ways that are proportionate, constructive, and restorative.
Restorative justice is about repairing harm. But for Black Americans, what is there to be restored to? This special episode of New Thinking features a roundtable with eight members of our Restorative Justice in Schools team. They spent three years embedded in five Brooklyn high schools—all five schools are overwhelmingly Black, and all five had some of the highest suspension rates in New York City.