The Midtown Community Court is one of the country's first problem-solving courts. It provides alternatives to fines and jail as a response to low-level crime.
The court achieves the following:
The court works with local organizations to help keep individuals from entering the justice system in the first place. For example, Community First—a collaboration between Midtown Community Court, the Times Square Alliance, Fountain House, and Breaking Ground—meets the needs of vulnerable individuals experiencing trauma, mental health issues, or substance use disorders who have ended up on the streets. The initiative focuses on prevention, providing support before individuals have contact with police or the justice system.
Offering Social Services
The court offers alternatives to incarceration that hold individuals accountable while also offering them help with the problems that often underlie criminal behavior, including substance abuse, mental health issues, and lack of basic resources.
Offering Off-Ramps from the Justice System
Diversion offers a proportionate and constructive response to minor crime. Through Project Reset, participants avoid court and the possibility of a criminal record by completing community-based programming.
Making Justice Visible
Midtown restores the community through visible community service projects—painting over graffiti, sweeping the streets, and cleaning local parks.
Making Justice Swift
Immediate sentencing sends the message that crime has consequences. Compliance is improved by having participants begin their sentences within 24 hours of appearing before the judge.
Engaging New Partners
The Court works with local residents, businesses and social service providers to forge creative, collaborative solutions to neighborhood problems. The Court houses an array of non-traditional programs, including financial counseling, Medicaid and health insurance enrollment, support for survivors of human trafficking, and more.