Thousands of veterans experience homelessness each year and many hundreds also find themselves in the justice system. Veterans treatment courts provide participants substance use treatment in lieu of jail and also provide support with benefits, employment and housing. A key partner in their work is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which created the Veterans Justice Outreach Program with a goal to end homelessness among veterans. In 2016, specialists with the Veterans Justice Outreach Program worked with 461 veterans treatment courts. By 2019, that number had grown to 601.
Legal system fines and fees can trap people of limited means in cycles of debt, and even incarceration, lasting for years. As we work to support efforts towards the long-term goal of decriminalizing poverty altogether, this brief gives an overview of an important near-term reform: ability-to-pay assessment tools.
One of every four people killed by police is experiencing a mental health emergency. Changing how we respond to crisis in the moment—and to widespread, ongoing mental health needs—means deferring to the leadership of people with lived experience and putting racial equity at the center of every reform. On our New Thinking podcast, listening to the people who know how to fix systems, because they’re surviving those systems' harms.
Whether it is a warm meal or a pair of shoes, we help people who are housing insecure and living with severe mental health issues address immediate needs and then work towards linking them to longer-term housing, services, and support. With programs like Community First, law enforcement no longer has to be the only response to mental health crises and homelessness.
"Until you begin to deal with that hurt and that trauma on the inside, it's always going to affect you and the things that you do," says Timothy, a program manager for our Men’s Empowerment Program. We support the mental health of young men of color by helping address and break the cycle of trauma and violence in the lives of young Black and Brown men in Harlem, NYC. With a trauma-informed focus on healing, young men experience a positive shift in how they see themselves and how they can be a resource to their community and the world.
Violence against people of color at the hands of police has sparked a movement for change. Governments and communities large and small need critical reforms to make transformational change possible. On May 20 2021, we brought together speakers actively engaged in changing things on the ground. Watch the recording of the full event to hear from New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and community leaders Erica Ford, Erica Mateo, Alex M. Johnson, and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, who are invested in community-driven models for safety and justice.
In the latest episode of our podcast series, our host Juan Carlos Areán from Futures Without Violence speaks with Ed Heisler and Chris Godsey from Men As Peacemakers and Kourou Pich from HarborCOV Communities Overcoming Violence about restorative practices in abusive partner intervention as well as intimate partner violence cases more broadly. The group explores various aspects of restorative justice, such as accountability, indigenous cultural practices that inform this approach, and how communities can come together to heal from harm.
For 25 years, the Center for Court Innovation has been committed to transforming justice. Hear our partners and staff share how the Center started as one program in New York City to change the "status quo" in justice reform. Today, we co-create and generate safety, while shrinking the footprint of the legal system.
During the webinar, presenters Doris O’Neal, Melissa Scaia, and Dr. Carolyn West share their insights on not only the different types of intimate partner violence caused by women, but on best practices for responding to their needs, strengths, and stories. With respect to the criminalization of survivors, they also explore the impacts of the criminal legal system at the intersection of gender, race, and intimate partner violence.
Dr. Anton Treuer, Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University, discusses the role of bias in the justice system and its impact on Native Americans. He talks about some of the recent initiatives in Beltrami County and we hear from Judge Paul Benshoof about the introduction of tribal flags in the domestic violence court. Dr. Treuer addresses ways in which court staff and others working in the justice system can have frank conversations about bias and historical trauma, and incorporate cultural elements into services for survivors and people who cause harm.