We work to improve access to justice, with a particular focus on ensuring that low-income individuals have the tools they need to solve problems.
Our community justice centers work to render the justice system more transparent and responsive, actively engaging residents, merchants, and others in the process of doing justice. Legal Hand trains community volunteers to offer their neighbors free access to legal information. We work to improve the cultural responsiveness of courts in domestic violence cases and assist parents in child support cases. And our research department documents the legal needs of specific neighborhoods and produces recommendations for streamlining cumbersome legal processes, such as the payment of bail.
Legal Hand empowers community residents to support their neighbors with the legal information they need.
Price of Justice Initiative
The Price of Justice Initiative helps jurisdictions address the disparate impact of fines and fees on defendants who cannot afford them.
Housing Resource Centers
Through housing, financial, and legal assistance, we help tenants navigate housing court to resolve critical repairs and prevent evictions.
As the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations and institutions to shift to operating remotely, disparities driven by the digital divide became a shared problem across major cross-sector systems important to a community’s well-being. The Health, Housing, and Justice Alliance sought to eliminate inequities of fully virtual legal, healthcare, and social services through the creation of pop-up navigation centers and court hubs throughout Newark, New Jersey.
On the occasion of its twentieth anniversary, an introduction to the origins, programming, and community impact of Neighbors in Action, formerly known as the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center. Neighbors in Action works to make the central Brooklyn neighborhoods of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant safer and healthier for all.
New Thinking profiles the fight to secure lawyers for people facing eviction and the radical impact that is having in Housing Court. With its 1963 Gideon decision, the Supreme Court guaranteed a lawyer to any poor person facing prison time. For criminal cases, the decision was both sweeping and critically incomplete. On the civil side, the campaign for a right to counsel is taking a different approach—it's slow and piecemeal, but it's also working.
Center executive director Courtney Bryan joined CBS News to talk about the growing backlog of court cases since the onset of COVID-19 is slowing the progress of hundreds of thousands of cases and people across the country.
"These are not just cases or case files. These are people. Most who are sitting in jails around the country haven't yet been convicted of a crime. Because of this crisis, [they’re waiting] for much longer than they were prior to COVID. And in New York City, that means folks are sitting in Rikers Island, a place renowned for violence and horrible conditions."
She also shared outcomes from a 2019 pilot program by the Center and New York Office of Court Administration that succeeded in reducing felony case backlogs in Brooklyn Superior Court.