Read stories of justice, new perspectives, and bold ideas to share with your family and friends this holiday season.
We kicked off 2023 with an important milestone by changing our name from “Center for Court Innovation” to “Center for Justice Innovation.” After more than 25 years on our journey building justice alongside communities across the country, we see our new name as better reflecting who we are and how our work has grown. In this video, our staff reflect on what the word “justice” means to them. Their answers reveal just how spacious justice is, and they touch on the deepest values that drive our work every day.
In this groundbreaking study, more than 100 young people in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, open up about why they carry guns. What they share flies in the face of conventional narratives: young people overwhelmingly carry out of fear, for their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. The approach to the research was groundbreaking, too—researchers with deep ties to the community led the conversations, opening up levels of trust and honesty rarely found in prior research.
Go behind-the-scenes to hear from the community researchers who built trust with young gun-carriers for “Two Battlefields”—Basaime Spate, Elise White, and Javonte Alexander. In this video, Basaime and Javonte share their own stories as Crown Heights natives, and explore how their connections to the community allowed them to take their research to the next level. You can also hear from the team on NY1 with Errol Louis and The Brian Lehrer Show for WNYC.
Alongside our partners Freedom Reads, the National Book Foundation, and Interabang Books co-owner Lori Feathers, we announced an exciting national literary award: the Inside Literary Prize. This will be the first US book prize to be awarded exclusively by people who are currently in prison. By bringing the perspectives of people behind bars into the cultural conversation, the initiative seeks to honor their voices—and celebrate our shared humanity.
5. Getting a Fair Chance: Reentry and the Social Compact
We often talk about “second chances” for people who have been incarcerated, but many of the millions of people returning from jail or prison each year never even got a first chance. This policy brief proposes a new vision of reentry, rooted in an overdue acknowledgement of the basic building blocks for true social integration: safe, stable housing and trauma-informed mental health care.
6. The Arc: Ideas and Insights on the Future of Justice
This year, we launched The Arc: a new forum to shine light on the future of justice and the people building it in courts and communities across the country—one bold initiative, one new idea, one act of kindness at a time. You’ll find deep-dives into the transformative power of art, the program that revolutionized how we respond to low-level crimes, and why we support research by the community, for the community.
Our knowledge about what works and what doesn’t in the field of justice reform has grown significantly in recent decades, but new initiatives that reflect this knowledge haven’t always gotten the support they need. With a focus on a groundbreaking New York City court, which the Center helps to operate, this article argues that alternatives to incarceration would actually be stronger if they reached a broader range of people—even those accused of violent crimes—and addressed a wider spectrum of needs.
8. New Thinking: Gideon at 60 Series
In a three-part series supported by Arnold Ventures, our New Thinking podcast explores the legacy of the Supreme Court’s 1963 Gideon v. Wainwright decision, which guaranteed the right to a lawyer for anyone facing jail time, regardless of their means. The first episode in the series looks at Gideon’s unfulfilled promise. The second profiles the different struggle to win the right to counsel for tenants facing eviction. In the final episode, New Thinking dives into the rise of mass supervision and its surprising connection with the Gideon decision. See also our accompanying policy brief and The Arc’s spotlight on the cutting edge of public defense.
Our Queens Community Justice Center has opened its newest location in Far Rockaway! With this newly renovated space, the Queens Community Justice Center – The Rockaways will be a hub for local initiatives, opportunities for young people, and restorative paths for people navigating the criminal legal system. Check out these photos from the ribbon-cutting, where we celebrated this exciting new beginning with food, music, and—most importantly—community.
As communities and reformers look for ways to safely shrink the jail population, Supervised Release is an indispensable tool. Earlier this year, that program—which ensures people make their court dates while connecting them to sources of support in the community—received a vital boost of $36.8 million thanks to Speaker Adrienne Adams and Councilmember Carlina Rivera. Read a statement from NYC’s major Supervised Release providers, including the Center, on this exciting and much-welcome investment.