We have a new name—the Center for Justice Innovation! With this small but significant change, we are telling the story of where the Center is today and where we see ourselves going. Since our start in 1996, we have sought to build effective solutions and to pursue fairness—in the legal system and for communities. Guided by equity, data, and innovation, this is what justice means to us.
Mandatory minimum sentencing laws took shape amid the “tough-on-crime” push of the late 1970s, making a signal contribution at the origins of our mass incarceration era. How would eliminating these laws—in whole or in part—affect the stark racial disparities in who is in prison in New York?
In this report, the Center for Court Innovation’s West Coast Initiatives team shares valuable lessons derived from its experience in helping to plan and launch equitable early diversion programs in Los Angeles. The insights offered here can provide guidance for other diversion initiatives in efforts to bridge the gap between legal systems and communities while caring for vulnerable populations.
A recent two-day training for Manhattan prosecutors was a drumbeat on the harms of incarceration, part of a wider effort by D.A. Alvin Bragg to expand the use of alternatives such as treatment and restorative justice. But in a newly cramped climate for criminal justice reform, can that effort become a reality? New Thinking investigates.
In his 22 years as presiding judge of the Red Hook Community Justice Center, Judge Alex Calabrese has always taken a people-centered approach in his courtroom, understanding the underlying issues that brought people to court and suggesting services and programs that would help address them. We are incredibly grateful for Judge Calabrese's service. He has made a deep and lasting impact on the residents of Red Hook and the justice system as a whole.
The idea of community justice encompasses a diverse and growing range of evidence-based initiatives which seek to reduce crime by strengthening communities and redressing longstanding inequities. In recognition of the ways in which the approach has evolved over the years, this publication presents a new set of guiding principles of community justice and offers inventive models for putting them into practice, both inside and outside of the courtroom.
Prosecutors make many of the most vital choices in a case unilaterally. Yet little is known about how they arrive at decisions in the most consequential cases: those charged as violent. Results from our national survey of prosecutor offices show a willingness to try new approaches but also suggest how prosecutors conceive of and prosecute violence can be rife with inconsistencies.
In August 2022, the Harlem Community Justice Center hosted a Housing Resource Fair that connected local residents with a wide range of agencies and providers to help them access key services, such as rent relief, critical home repairs, and legal services to fight evictions. The fair showcased the tremendous demand for housing stability services in the East Harlem community and Justice Center’s ongoing efforts to help residents access resources and tenant protections close to their homes.
Community safety is multidimensional. Yet efforts to build community safety outside of the criminal legal system are often evaluated only using data generated by that same system. This means effective strategies of crime and violence prevention can be overlooked by policymakers and funders. We make an urgent case for a new paradigm.
The Red Hook Community Justice Center works to strengthen Red Hook, Brooklyn, and surrounding areas by reducing crime and the use of incarceration, improving public trust in justice, and collaborating with the community to solve local problems.