A recent two-day training for Manhattan prosecutors was a drumbeat on the harms of incarceration, part of a wider effort by D.A. Alvin Bragg to expand the use of alternatives such as treatment and restorative justice. But in a newly cramped climate for criminal justice reform, can that effort become a reality? New Thinking investigates.
Kathryn Ford, the Center’s Director of Child Witness Initiatives, speaks with Geri Wisner, a prosecutor from Oklahoma, and Jennifer Thompson, a victim advocate and counselor from Georgia, about how they have been using the Office for Victims of Crime's Child Victims and Witnesses Support Materials to inform and empower children as they interact with the justice system.
In 2015, Cook County, Ill., decided to create a program to specifically address domestic violence cases with issues involving children. The Child Relief Expediter Program provides a voluntary and confidential process to help parents with orders of protection, develop safe and effective visitation plans, and address other child-related issues. In this podcast, host Nida Abbasi, Cook County Judge Marina E. Ammendola, and Child Relief Expediter Stephanie Senuta describe the benefits of the program and provide tips for courts interested in doing more.
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.