Carmen Alcantara can see the impact her work has on the community. As a Treatment Alternatives Program Manager at Bronx Community Solutions, she says that providing people with support helps them see "they are capable of change. They are capable of better.
Sean Vargas helps both parents with youth in probation and young people with court cases to get the services they need. He is the coordinator of family support services at the Queens Community Justice Center, where he has worked for 10 years. Everyday, he witnesses how kids experience going through the system, and they can be angry or worried. Sean uses fun—games, toys, jokes, to lower barriers and engage with people, bringing fun with him wherever he goes. Sean is a true changemaker who transforms communities with joy and hope.
The Tucson City Domestic Violence Court is a high-volume criminal misdemeanor court. The Court specifically provides services and safety for Deaf victims of domestic violence through their partnership with Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse and the Community Outreach Program for the Deaf.
As the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations and institutions to shift to operating remotely, disparities driven by the digital divide became a shared problem across major cross-sector systems important to a community’s well-being. The Health, Housing, and Justice Alliance sought to eliminate inequities of fully virtual legal, healthcare, and social services through the creation of pop-up navigation centers and court hubs throughout Newark, New Jersey.
Kristina Singleton works on diverting people from court into supportive or educational programming. Among the programs she works with at the Midtown Community Court are Project Reset, which offers those charged with a low-level crime the chance to avoid court and a criminal record by completing community-based programming, and a recently launched youth gun-diversion program for young people who have been arrested on gun possession charges.
“I got you.” Three little, but powerful, words that mean the world to the community residents that Yvette Rouget serves in her role as program manager at our Housing Resource Center at Brownsville Community Justice Center. As someone who also lives in the community in which she works, she takes her job and role as a good neighbor seriously. Often starting conversations with residents with just a simple greeting, it’s not long before she’s asking, “What do you need?” or sharing resources and support.
A lifelong New Yorker, Jukie Tsai’s work with the Center has taken him all over the city. “I’m still surprised by how massive this city is and how many wonderful communities there are.” As a planner with our Neighborhood Safety Initiatives program, Jukie currently works with residents in public housing to co-create meaningful community change through tenant-directed projects including building community gardens, designing lighting improvements, and creating public artwork. “There’s so much expertise among residents about what is going on and needs to be addressed.
Youth Impact: Bronx is a youth leadership program that offers a restorative approach to issues that young people face. Volunteer members develop and pilot projects to promote community change, lead restorative circles for their peers, and take actions to address the underlying issues causing youth contact with the criminal legal system. Youth Impact offers individual support, mentorship, and educational opportunities to support members as they move towards their individual goals. Watch the video to hear from young people themselves what this program means to them and their community.
With spikes in gun violence and humanitarian crises in jails, the need for meaningful reform in the justice system is more urgent than ever. On October 28, 2021, Center for Court Innovation Executive Director Courtney Bryan hosted a briefing on the state of justice reform and alternatives to incarceration. Following the briefing, she engaged in conversation with Deron Johnston, the Center’s deputy director of the Center's Community Development and Crime Prevention programs, about innovations in community-led justice.