Housing is a human right. What if we designed our systems—beginning with Housing Court—to embody that? Given the current eviction crisis, it's a far-off concept, but there's work to make it a reality in pockets across the country. In this special episode of New Thinking, hear a profile of one of those efforts in Brooklyn, led by our Red Hook Community Justice Center.
Efforts to reform the justice system—including our own—often tout they're "evidence-based" or "data-driven." But at a moment when a pandemic-era spike in crime seems to have put the reform movement on its heels, New Thinking asks: why do arguments based on data rarely seem to win the day? Christina Greer and John Pfaff—two scholars working at the intersection of data and politics—explain.
New York City has committed to closing its notorious Rikers Island jail facility by 2027, a seismic shift that would reorient the city's approach to incarceration. The plan envisions a citywide jail population of just over 3,000 people. But the population at Rikers has been growing for months, and Rikers itself is engulfed in crisis amidst a historic spike in deaths. On a roundtable episode of New Thinking: what are the prospects for finally getting Rikers closed?
In this episode, Melanie Thompson is joined by Audrey Morrissey, associate director of My Life, My Choice Boston, to speak on their experiences of transitioning once a case has closed and the potential challenges and feelings that youth may experience. They also discuss resources to help with this transition, strategies for navigating relationships within systems, and the importance of providing youth with consistent and stable relationships.
Together, Nikki Bell, survivor activist and the founder of Living in Freedom Together, and Melanie Thompson talk about trust in the context of both the criminal legal and child welfare systems. They examine some of the challenges around privacy and confidentiality and trusting those who work in the system while also outlining ways young people can become confident in their own voice and power.
Cristian Eduardo, survivor speaker and student, joins Melanie Thompson to discuss building community and creating opportunities for the future. Cristian brings his perspective on establishing relationships with supportive people, practical advice for young people on establishing boundaries and learning how to trust others, and thinking about future goals.
Eyal Press contends there are entire areas of life we've delegated to "dirty workers"—functions we've declared necessary, but that we strive to keep hidden. In his new book, Press points to the transformation of jails and prisons into the country's largest mental health institutions. He calls the people struggling to offer treatment in those settings "dirty workers"—not because their work isn't noble, but because collectively we've put them in a situation where it's impossible to practice ethical care.
Justice reforms often exclude people with charges involving violence, even though these are the same people most likely to be incarcerated and to be in the most need of the programs and treatment reform can bring. But a felony court in Manhattan is offering alternatives to incarceration, regardless of charge. Can a treatment-first approach be brought to scale inside of the same system responsible for mass incarceration in the first place?
In this episode of In Practice, Rob Wolf discusses the history, trends, and current innovations in the abusive partner intervention field with Juan Carlos Areán, program director of Children and Youth Programs at Futures Without Violence. They highlight the Abusive Partner Accountability and Engagement Training and Technical Assistance Project, a collaboration between the Center for Court Innovation and Futures Without Violence to help communities enhance their responses to people who cause harm through intimate partner violence.
On New Thinking, an audio snapshot from an emergency rally demanding immediate measures to release people from New York City’s Rikers Island jail facility. Fourteen people have died in the custody of the city’s jail system this year as the chief medical officer for NYC Jails warns of “a collapse in basic jail operations.”