Rethinking Incarceration News Archive

  • N.Y. needs criminal justice reform: Mandatory minimum sentences are unjust

    New York Daily News

    Mandatory minimums place a fixed minimum prison sentence on certain criminal cases, effectively making incarceration automatic. From the systematic harm they cause to Black and Brown communities, to the unfair bargaining power they confer on prosecutors, to their inability to make communities safer, there are many reasons to oppose these laws. With decisive reform on the table, see our op-ed in New York Daily News for the case against mandatory minimum sentences.

  • After Two Decades of Courtroom Innovation, Judge Alex M. Calabrese Retires from Red Hook Community Justice Center

    Brooklyn Paper

    After presiding over the Red Hook Community Justice Center for 22 years, Judge Alex Calabrese celebrated his retirement from the courtroom on October 14. Judge Calabrese has been a "warm and upbeat presence in the courtroom" throughout his tenure, touching the lives of many Red Hook residents and serving as a model for justice reformers around the country. In celebration of Judge Calabrese's pioneering work with the Red Hook Community Justice Center, Mayor Eric Adams declared October 26, 2022 "The Honorable Judge Calabrese Day."

  • In-Demand Midtown Community Court to Expand Operations by Mid-March

    Chelsea Community News

    Since its founding in 1993, our community court in Midtown has been responding to lower-level, quality-of-life offenses with a community service and treatment-oriented approach. After reduced hours because of the pandemic, Midtown Community Court will again be expanding its capacity by mid-March. The expansion comes after a number of local elected officials called for a plan to enhance the program’s capacity, citing its demonstrated effectiveness at improving public safety and connecting individuals to needed services and support.

  • Manhattan District Attorney: Homeless in NYC Need Services and Support, Not Jail

    Teen Vogue

    In this opinion piece, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg shares his plan for providing voluntary services that will help New Yorkers live with dignity and make all of us safer. Bragg advocates for providing treatment, services, and a path to a better life to help folks safely manage substance and mental health struggles, sharing that arrests and incarceration alone will not address their needs. Citing Center expertise on supportive solutions, Bragg's plan is to utilize neighborhood and court-based navigators who will meet people where they are, build trust, and provide needed services. 

  • Better Solutions for Those with Mental Illness

    New York Daily News

    "For too long, we have relied upon law enforcement and jail to be our primary response to those in mental distress."

    In this opinion piece, Courtney Bryan and Times Square Alliance president Tom Harris share better solutions for supporting people with mental health needs. When the legal system, law enforcement, and social service providers work together, we can address health, psychiatric, and housing needs on an individualized basis, and ensure safety for all New Yorkers.

  • How Communities are Creating More Equitable Justice Systems with a Focus on Mental Health

    Microsoft News

    In Los Angeles County, home to the country's largest jail population, the city and local organizations are partnering to create more equity in the legal process by focusing on mental health. The Center is helping to implement the LA-based Rapid Diversion Program, which helps individuals with mental health diagnoses connect with case management, treatment, housing and job services, and cases are dismissed when a participant completes the program. "If we’re able to help one person and change their trajectory, it can have compounding impacts for their families and their communities,” Chidinma Ume, our interim director of policy, says. Brett Taylor, senior advisor of West Coast Initiatives is also quoted.

  • Nearly 70% of detainees at Rikers women’s jail can be safely released: advocates

    City & State New York

    A coalition of criminal justice advocates and experts, including the Center, are calling on New York City officials to study ways to safely release 70% of the women and gender-expansive people being held in Rose M. Singer Center (“Rosie’s”) on Rikers Island. The plea comes a little over a month after the death of Mary Yehudah on Rosie’s. Recommendations include the city form a “population review team” to examine who would be good candidates for release.

  • New York Giants Touchdown Fellow Shambaleed Nayyer ’22 Aims To Decriminalize Mental Illness In Pakistan

    John Jay College

    John Jay College senior Shambaleed Nayyer is a winner of the 2021-2022 New York Giants Touchdown Fellowship, which supports year-long internships at leading criminal justice organizations. Through her fellowship, Shambaleed has been working with Center program Manhattan Justice Opportunities, researching felony alternatives to incarceration programs across the country, and exploring new ways to improve our programming.

  • Midtown Community Court launches specialized court focused on offenders with serious mental illnesses

    AM New York Metro

    Providing alternatives to incarceration, the Center's Midtown Community Court's new Misdemeanor Mental Health Court (MMHC) will support individuals suffering from mental illness. Low-level offenses, such as shoplifting and illegal drug use, will now have social services and community service options that are restorative to both the community and participants. The Court's Youth Part has also been expanded to include young adults ages 18 through 25, reducing the risk of recidivism by targeting the root causes for criminal justice involvement.

  • The Meaning of a Stolen Diaper

    The New Yorker

    Using the example of parents and caretakers stealing diapers and baby products, the New Yorker looks at the debate happening in New York about low-level prosecution. The article cites our new report on shrinking New York's misdemeanor system and Michael Rempel, co-author of the study, shares that the harms that jail produces "are criminogenic—leading to higher rates of recidivism than would have otherwise arisen had people been released.”