Can art transform the criminal justice system? On this special edition of New Thinking, host Matt Watkins sits down with two New York City artists on the rise—Derek Fordjour and Shaun Leonardo—who both work with our Project Reset to provide an arts-based alternative to court and a criminal record for people arrested on a low-level charge. With the program set to expand city-wide, the three discuss art's potential to help heal a racialized criminal justice system.
With so much focus on keeping people out of jail and prison, what about work to improve life for the more than two million people already there? One group beginning to mobilize on the issue is prosecutors. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine explain the “bright line” they see running from the overt racial control in America’s past to the disparities and dehumanizing practices behind bars today.
As part of a conference sponsored by the Center for Court Innovation and the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, we asked justice system leaders and experts "What has been the biggest change in the New York City criminal justice system over the last five years?"
Dating violence among teens presents unique challenges to fashioning effective juvenile justice-system interventions. This report captures conversation from a cross-disciplinary roundtable exploring what diversion means for this population and where—and whether—it should occur. Participants identified the unique needs of youth, possible means of intervention, and recommendations for further exploration.
Project Reset seeks to provide a more proportionate and meaningful response to low-level offending by offering individuals with no prior arrests the opportunity to avoid prosecution and the collateral consequences of justice-involvement. This report evaluates the program pilot for 16- and 17-year-olds in Manhattan. Results point to positive impacts overall: participants had fewer new arrests and convictions and spent longer periods without experiencing a new arrest. Nearly all of the participants reported they would recommend the program to others.
How effective is therapy or treatment when it's used instead of incarceration, and what are the challenges to conducting it inside the coercive context of the criminal justice system? New Thinking host Matt Watkins is joined by clinical psychologist Jacob Ham who works with justice-involved young people affected by trauma, and John Jay College's Deborah Koetzle who evaluates programs aiming to help participants rebuild lives outside of the justice system.
This study maps the current landscape of police-led pretrial diversion programs. It presents the results from a survey on diversion given to a representative sample of law enforcement agencies nationwide along with case studies of eight promising police-led programs, including programs targeting mentally-ill individuals, juveniles, and low-level or first-time adult defendants. Funded by the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office of the Department of Justice, this report explores why these programs were created, how they work, and where they differ.
Meet the teenagers of the Newark Youth Court. These young people fill the roles of judge, bailiff, advocates, and jurors, hearing low-level cases involving their peers. The sentences are always restorative, meant to provide a positive experience for the respondent and avoid a criminal record.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys alike believe in the benefits of social service mandates for young people charged with misdemeanor offenses but differ over the usefulness of jail sentences, according to a survey and interviews of legal practitioners across three New York City boroughs. Those findings are contained in a report setting out current justice system practices for handling misdemeanor offenses committed by young people (ages 16-24) in New York City.
This video provides a short and engaging introduction to Youth Reset (part of Project Reset), our program providing meaningful diversion opportunities for 16- and 17-year-olds in New York City arrested for the first time for a low-level, non-violent crime. Successful participants will never set foot in a courtroom and will have no criminal record. The video explains the requirements of the program, the opportunity to be connected with voluntary services, and the criteria for eligibility.