New justice system approaches are needed respond to the opioid crisis and prevent overdose deaths through immediate access to evidence-based treatment—including medication-assisted treatment—and wraparound supports. This document provides a snapshot of some of the strategies being used by courts and justice system practitioners around the country to prevent overdose deaths and save lives.
In 2017, more than 17,000 people were murdered in the United States, most of them in cities. On New Thinking, Thomas Abt, a long-time policy-maker and researcher, says, far from intractable, there are proven ways to reduce the violence, but he worries the urgency of acting now is being ignored. And when it comes to how we think about violence, he has a bone to pick with both the right and the left.
Drawing on a case study of more than 175,000 defendants in New York City, this report concludes concerns over risk assessments perpetuating racial disparities in pretrial decisions are real. However, at least in the New York City example, it finds a more targeted use of risk assessments could both significantly reduce pretrial detention and alleviate racial disparities. But realizing that potential requires jurisdictions to think "beyond the algorithm"—what do they want to use a risk assessment for?
Court watch programs typically send volunteers to observe courts in action. In this way, they try to assess what is working and where improvements in the court's response to domestic violence and sexual assault are needed. Unfortunately, court watch programs have had varying degrees of success in changing practice. This guide addresses challenges court watch programs face and offers recommendations to make them more effective. The recommendations include collaborating with the court and its partners to identify court watch goals and cultivating buy-in for recommended changes.
With so much focus on keeping people out of jail and prison, what about work to improve life for the more than two million people already there? One group beginning to mobilize on the issue is prosecutors. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine explain the “bright line” they see running from the overt racial control in America’s past to the disparities and dehumanizing practices behind bars today.
Honoring Judge Alex Calabrese as a "fierce advocate for justice," John Jay College of Criminal Justice awarded the presiding judge of our Red Hook Community Justice Center an honorary degree alongside the class of 2019. Featured at the May commencement, this short film highlights Calabrese's transformational leadership in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and how an emphasis on healing can advance a more humane and effective justice system.
The Center for Court Innovation piloted a small electronic monitoring program—using smartphones—for young people under justice supervision. This article offers insights into the best ways to approach technology projects in the justice system, but also concludes that electronic tracking of 16- to 18-year-olds in school raised multiple challenges and provided too little benefit to serve as a replacement for traditional supervision methods.
Director of the Center for Court Innovation Greg Berman celebrated 25 years at the Center with a candid Q&A led by Center alum Christopher Watler, who now serves as the New York State director of the Center for Employment Opportunities.
Creating a specialized domestic violence court can be daunting for any community. It requires careful planning, leadership, and the buy-in of partners. The Tulalip Tribes of Washington are tackling the issue of domestic violence head-on, spearheading an initiative to create a specialized court, one of the first in a tribal justice system. This outline of their planning process highlights the steps involved and serves as a useful guide for tribes seeking to strengthen their court’s response to domestic violence.
Rachel Barkow contends criminal justice policy is a “prisoner of politics,” driven by appeals to voters’ worst instincts and an aversion to evidence of what actually works. In her new book, the NYU law professor makes a provocative case for “freeing” criminal justice from the political imperative in order to achieve real reform.