10 fun facts, stories, and reflections from 10 years of Brooklyn Justice Initiatives.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of our Brooklyn Justice Initiatives! Since the program’s launch in 2013, this dedicated team of social workers, case managers, and community engagement staff has been bringing services and hope, instead of incarceration, to fellow Brooklynites in the criminal legal system. Read on for 10 fun facts, stories, and quotes for 10 years of Brooklyn Justice Initiatives.
Over 10 years, Brooklyn Justice Initiatives has provided more than 17,000 people with alternatives to incarceration—the services and resources to address their unmet needs, fulfill court mandates, and provide a meaningful alternative to the traditional process. Since 2020, our team has served nearly 200 people facing felony criminal cases, setting them up for healthier, safer lives in their communities.
Ms. W, a 57 year-old woman from New York, came into Brooklyn Justice Initiatives after an altercation that left her facing a second-degree assault charge. She had worked as a counselor for young women with experiences of trauma similar to her own. In her time at Brooklyn Justice Initiatives, our staff helped her continue her own mental health treatment, put her in touch with a lawyer she could afford to help her with insurance claims, and connected her to relief for her court fees.
One graduate of Brooklyn Justice Initiatives’ alternative-to-incarceration program shared this note of appreciation in an exit survey:
I worked with Megan, and she really helped me with different tools to work with when I get triggered. She even recommended me to a therapist and I start in a week. Megan calls and checks on me even though I completed everything I needed for court. I really appreciate her.
Since 2019, Brooklyn Justice Initiatives has relieved more than 450 participants of their court fees, totaling roughly $23,000 in relief for people in need of financial support.
Through the Supervised Release Program, Brooklyn Justice Initiatives has given more than 18,000 people awaiting trial the option to stay out of jail and in their communities, ensuring they make their court dates while getting access to much-needed services for jobs, housing, and mental health needs. Initially serving around 300 people at its launch in 2016, the program now brings services and support to roughly 2,200 New Yorkers at a time as they wait for their cases to be resolved.
When J enrolled in Supervised Release through Brooklyn Justice Initiatives, he expected to face the standard range of punishments and sanctions. It wasn't his first time in the criminal legal system; and like so many others in it, he had been diagnosed with mental illness. What he found this time around, though, was something much more fruitful than what he was used to: people who helped him get access to care for his mental health needs, craft a resume, and land a new job.
Since 2019, more than 1,500 Project Reset participants have been able to avoid court and a criminal record. This supportive programming gives them a meaningful path out of the legal system with brief, positive sessions of counseling, peer support, art workshops, and more. By keeping people in their jobs and homes and minimizing the time they spend in the system, Project Reset: Brooklyn has helped people avoid the disproportionate harms that even a low-level arrest can carry with it.
One Project Reset graduate in Brooklyn reflected:
I was going to have to miss a day of work to go to court and hoped my boss didn’t fire me for it … Now I don’t have to miss any work and I learned something. Thank you.
Launched in 2014, Brooklyn Justice Initiatives’ Human Trafficking Intervention Part has reached 700 survivors of sex trafficking with services that address their specific needs and experiences in order to break all-too-common cycles of exploitation and re-arrest. Our team has also referred participants to ongoing services in the community that specifically support trans and foreign-born people with experience in the sex trade.
Brooklyn Justice Initiatives staff made 6,500 voluntary referrals to other resources and services for Brooklyn Supervised Release participants—a striking indication of how many people in our legal system want support.
You can join us in celebrating 10 years of justice at our anniversary celebration and community resource fair—with food, drinks, music, and more—on September 9!
The fair will be held at 25 Willoughby Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (block between Jay Street and Pearl Street), from 10am to 2pm.