The Brownsville Community Justice Center works to reduce crime and incarceration, and strengthen community trust in justice in central Brooklyn.
Key elements of the Brownsville Community Justice Center include:
Alternatives to Incarceration
Supported by an in-house clinic of social workers and case managers, the Justice Center provides judges in Brooklyn with a broad range of alternative sentencing options, including short-term social services, community restitution, psycho-educational groups, and more intensive clinical interventions. The Justice Center also receives referrals from the Department of Probation, Crossroads juvenile detention facility, the Office of Children and Family Services, and community-based organizations.
The New York City Department of Probation has a team of probation officers in Brownsville as part of the Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON). Working with probation, the Brownsville Community Justice Center connects individuals between the ages of 16 to 24 to resources such as high school equivalency classes and college assistance, internships, and professional training. In addition, participants complete community benefit projects, including large-scale mural projects and the construction of a community teaching garden.
The Justice Center offers a broad range of youth development initiatives for area young people. The goal is to link young people to positive, pro-social activities and provide them with pathways to education and employment as a crime-prevention strategy. Youth programming is based on the interests of youth members and has included opportunities in music production, digital media, and tech.
Reimagining Public Space
In an effort to prevent crime, the Brownsville Community Justice Center engages local businesses and community residents in reimagining and redesigning public spaces. For example, the Justice Center initiated the Belmont Revitalization Project, which aims to transform Belmont Avenue in Brownsville into a thriving business district that is safe, accessible, and welcoming to the community.
The learning lab is an on-site computer room developed in partnership with the New York City Police Department to address a pressing need for educational support and workforce development among young people in Brownsville. The lab offers drop-in and scheduled programming to help participants improve their reading and writing abilities, critical thinking, and other skills.
Supervised work crews help upkeep the Brownsville environment for the community to enjoy. Projects include park clean-ups, graffiti removal, and responses to other neighborhood issues that are reported by community residents—maintaining Pitkin Avenue, cleaning up Betsy Head Park, and working at community gardens.