Drug courts face an obligation to rethink some core practices, chiefly the focus on abstinence and the use of jail. Our publication argues the best way for the courts to evolve is to integrate the principles of harm reduction—a person-centered, anti-racist approach to reducing the harms related to drug use. The authors offer 12 strategies to help drug courts re-align with their original mission: a therapeutic, health-based alternative to jail.
The Center for Court Innovation, in partnership with the New York State Unified Court System, Office for Justice Initiatives, Division of Policy and Planning, and the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, created this report, which identifies ways for opioid courts and other drug treatment courts to improve access to Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD).
Hurt people hurt people. That's not an excuse for harm, but it fuels much of the criminal justice system. At 19, Marlon Peterson was the unarmed lookout on a robbery where two people were killed. Peterson spent a decade behind bars. He writes about those years, and the childhood in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, that preceded them, in his new memoir. I made my own choices, Peterson says, “but I also did not choose to experience the type of things I experienced.”
Our Queens Community Justice Center recently moved to a new location and is planning to open a new office in the Rockaways. The Justice Center is dedicated to supporting people both in and outside the justice system, providing a range of services and opportunities for civic engagement for people of all ages. In this video, see the new space and hear our staff share how expanding services will build a stronger community for the residents of Queens.
Our national survey of tribal justice systems—conducted with partners at the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes—found limited use of risk-need assessment tools, despite the expansion of such tools in other jurisdictions and pressure to increase their use across the country. The survey identified a need to develop risk-need responsivity tools built specifically for tribal justice systems, to validate existing tools with Native populations, and to create affordable tribal-owned technological solutions.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, over 500,000 people a night in the U.S. lived without shelter, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. During the pandemic, those numbers rose even higher. Afraid they might contract COVID-19 in a shelter and lacking safe alternatives, many more people than usual sought warmth and safety in transit hubs.
New York City's promise to shutter its notorious Rikers Island jail complex hinges on reducing the number of people in city jails—the overwhelming majority held awaiting trial. This new report from the Independent Commission that called for Rikers' closure in 2017 and the Center for Court Innovation lays out a series of concrete, data-driven strategies to produce sizable jail reductions while prioritizing public safety.
This fact sheet summarizes the mission and impact of Manhattan Justice Opportunities, a program of the Center for Court Innovation, that helps build safer communities and a fairer justice system by providing social services and supportive resources as effective alternatives to the traditional responses to crime, empowering people to make positive changes in their lives.
Specialized domestic violence courts centralize resources and trained staff to handle a dedicated domestic violence docket. Domestic violence courts operate in jurisdictions across the country, adapting to local laws and court structure, available resources, and community-specific needs. While there is no one model for a specialized domestic violence court, they rely on some common strategies and goals to ensure victim/survivor safety, a robust coordinated community response, and accountability and engagement for those who cause harm.
Responding to domestic violence safely and effectively is a top priority for many tribal justice systems, especially given the high rates of domestic violence experienced by Native women. Strengthening the tribal justice response can take many, interrelated forms, but may include a specialized Domestic Violence Court as well as implementing Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. This fact sheet outlines the ways these two interventions can complement and strengthen each other.