This fact sheet describes Neighborhood Safety Initiatives, a program of the Center for Court Innovation, which seeks to improve public safety in New York City by investing in residents, transforming public spaces, and influencing policy. The program provides training to local residents in community organizing, human-centered design, and re-envisioning public spaces to promote people’s wellbeing. Residents propose tangible solutions to challenges and learn how to access the resources needed to carry them out and support community safety.
The Center for Court Innovation and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association have provided strategic planning support to 10 jurisdictions across the U.S. to increase their capacities to uphold Sixth Amendment protections. Grounded in the Center’s unique research-practice approach, this report describes how former public defenders are paired with experienced researchers to work as a team to support the jurisdictions' strategic planning goals.
Amid a dramatic surge in gun violence across the country, some public officials are blaming the spike in New York City on the state's recent bail reforms. This research brief, bringing together publicly-available data and research, suggests that is unlikely to be the case.
This paper provides a summary of two recent reports on the use of restorative justice and other community-based practices to respond to intimate partner violence. It includes highlights and guiding principles that emerged from a national study of practitioners. It also includes recommendations on how to grow this work that were made in a blueprint for New York City. This is part of our ongoing effort to continue this conversation and push for more options outside of the criminal legal system for people impacted by intimate partner violence.
The Center for Court Innovation learned about restorative approaches to crime and conflict from Native American practitioners in whose communities peacemaking has been practiced for generations. We are deeply grateful to our many Native mentors, especially from the Navajo Nation, who taught us about kinship in this work. We are also grateful to our trainers from across the country who taught us the foundations of circle practice and who walked us through the real-life challenges of implementation.
Across the country, courts utilize compliance calendars in both civil and criminal domestic violence proceedings to ensure that defendants and respondents adhere to court-ordered conditions, including no new arrests, abusive partner intervention or other program mandates, supervised visitation or safe exchange, parenting plans, and child support. This guide outlines best practices to help courts develop or enhance compliance calendars.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced courts across the country to close their physical doors and rely exclusively on video conferencing technology. A scan of social science research shows that communicating over video can alter an interaction, making it more difficult for participants to understand each other, speak up, and relate to each other. This paper presents social science research to inform the long-term debate about video’s role when courts can safely reopen.
Housing conditions at the New York City Housing Authority have drawn sharp attention in recent years, including federal court orders to remedy hazardous living conditions for its residents. This report documents four years of court filings for housing repairs in New York City’s civil housing courts, capturing the unequal treatment afforded residents of public housing versus those in private housing, and the disparities in conditions and repairs.
Fines and fees levied by criminal legal systems place an undue burden on people unable to pay, often trapping them in cycles of debt—and even incarceration—that can last for years. In 2016, the federal government funded five states through the Price of Justice Initiative to tackle the issue of criminal legal debt. This report describes the work of those states and provides guidance for jurisdictions seeking to take on similar reforms.
New York City’s jail population dropped to a historic low following the COVID-19 outbreak on Rikers Island in March 2020. But six weeks later, the numbers began increasing again. The steady rise in admissions now threatens to wipe out the effect of the initial reductions, putting more New Yorkers at risk of contracting the virus in the high-risk conditions behind bars. Our analysis highlights the lessons of the multiple population trends from March to November.