Family Court, which addresses complex issues involving some of the most vulnerable populations, is not exempt from the effects that COVID-19 are having on court operations across the country, forcing many to close courthouses, reduce or delay hearings, or conduct business remotely. Family Court is limited to “essential” business, and Kate Wurmfeld, our director of Family Court Operations, talks about the challenges and changing circumstances for families dealing with remote hearings, coordinating visitation, and accessing services.
As we work urgently to adjust our programs in New York to meet the COVID-19 pandemic, our expert assistance team is also working with drug treatment court practitioners around the country. Our director of Treatment Court programs, Annie Schacher, discusses advice for practitioners to help them prepare and brainstorm alternatives to help participants maintain sobriety, even when courts and treatment programs are closed, and check-ins can no longer take place in-person.
In this episode of In Practice, Kathryn Ford, the Center for Court Innovation’s director of Child Witness Initiatives, discusses child homicide in the context of domestic violence with Dr. Peter Jaffe, a psychologist at Canada's Western University and an expert on children’s exposure to domestic violence. Among the topics they cover are the prevalence of child domestic homicide, the indicators of a high-level of risk to children, and the implications for justice-system practitioners.
In 1996, 16-year-old Reginald Dwayne Betts was sentenced to nine years in prison for a carjacking. He spent much of that time reading, and eventually writing. After prison, he went to Yale Law School and published a memoir and three books of poems. But he’s still wrestling with what “after prison” means. This is a conversation about incarceration and the weight of history, both political and personal. Betts's most recent collection of poems is Felon.
What if you brought together prosecutors and people they may have helped to incarcerate for a college seminar behind bars on the criminal justice system, and asked them to produce a list of policy recommendations? That's the premise of a novel experiment in prison education. On New Thinking, hear from Jarrell Daniels, a program graduate, and Lucy Lang, executive director of the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution, who conceived of the idea.
Domestic violence cases present challenges to probation departments. Supervising and monitoring offenders requires an understanding not only of the dynamics of domestic violence but the crime’s impact on the entire community. For this episode of In Practice, Rob Wolf speaks with James Henderson, a former probation officer and a consultant with the Battered Women's Justice Project, and Aeron Muckala, a corrections agent for the Minnesota Department of Corrections in Bemidji, Minnesota. They discuss how probation departments are meeting the challenges of these difficult and often high-risk cases
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.
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."
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.
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.