In this report, the Center for Court Innovation’s West Coast Initiatives team shares valuable lessons derived from its experience in helping to plan and launch equitable early diversion programs in Los Angeles. The insights offered here can provide guidance for other diversion initiatives in efforts to bridge the gap between legal systems and communities while caring for vulnerable populations.
In this publication, updated guiding principles build upon the foundational principles of community justice, preserve the operational flexibility that makes community justice special, and infuse new ideas and practices that are supported by research and experience. They are intended to broaden the concept of community justice to include both community courts and non-court models, offering court planners, practitioners, and communities a blueprint for building programs that meet today’s challenges.
Prosecutors make many of the most vital choices in a case unilaterally. Yet little is known about how they arrive at decisions in the most consequential cases: those charged as violent. Results from our national survey of prosecutor offices show a willingness to try new approaches but also suggest how prosecutors conceive of and prosecute violence can be rife with inconsistencies.
Community safety is multidimensional. Yet efforts to build community safety outside of the criminal legal system are often evaluated only using data generated by that same system. This means effective strategies of crime and violence prevention can be overlooked by policymakers and funders. We make an urgent case for a new paradigm.
The Red Hook Community Justice Center works to strengthen Red Hook, Brooklyn, and surrounding areas by reducing crime and the use of incarceration, improving public trust in justice, and collaborating with the community to solve local problems.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York in March 2020, it forced drug courts across the state to hear cases remotely and use teleservices for many daily drug court operations—appearances, case management, graduation ceremonies. This report details a three-year project to implement an Opioid Reduction Teleservices Program, discussing outcomes, lessons learned, measures toward sustainability, and recommendations for future Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP) projects.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on survivors of domestic violence. This document reflects on lessons learned from this difficult period and highlights innovative responses by courts that encountered tremendous challenges in providing access to critical services and forms of legal relief. In examining the ways in which courts adapted, new possibilities emerged for practices beyond the pandemic to safely and effectively expand access to justice in domestic violence cases.
In a companion report to its first publication, the Center for Court Innovation and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association outline six jurisdictions working to increase their capacities to uphold Sixth Amendment rights.
The June 2019 expansion of New York City’s Supervised Release Program increased the number of people released into supervision. This was true for those facing misdemeanor or non-violent felony charges. In addition, the expansion reduced pretrial detention among people charged with non-violent felonies. There was no decrease in pretrial detention for those facing misdemeanors. This suggests that these individuals would likely have been released on recognizance—with no supervision requirements—prior to the expansion.
Youth in the Rockaways, Queens reveal that they have an ever-present fear for their physical safety. The 50 young people we spoke with report maintaining constant vigilance when they are outside and staying indoors most of the time as strategies for staying safe. They experience a dearth of local activities for youth and express a desire for sports, arts, and financial literacy programming; school support; fun field trips; and spaces to learn about and discuss social issues like systemic racism.