Margaret’s Place, a school-based initiative intended to provide trauma-informed programming, successfully reached and engaged students and provided comprehensive programing. The program was funded by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office across three school years (2018-19 to 2021-22) in two New York City public schools. The Center for Justice Innovation conducted a comprehensive study documenting the program model and implementation and outlining recommendations for program enhancement and potential expansion.
In a new report, more than 100 young people in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, open up about why they carry guns. Their answer? Fear—for their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. Hear from the people who made the study happen—Javonte Alexander, Basaime Spate, and Elise White—our community researchers with personal ties to the social networks of the young people who shared their experiences.
Our study of more than 100 young gun-carriers in Brooklyn identifies fear—for themselves and their loved ones—as the overwhelming factor behind the decision to carry. Under constant threat from other gun-carriers, as well as from police, and deprived of economic opportunities, participants describe a world with vanishingly few options. This report is part of a first-of-its-kind project using street participatory research to explore the socio-cultural roots of gun-carrying in U.S. cities.
Our 2022 Annual Report includes four videos spotlighting our impactful work in youth leadership and placemaking, housing justice, expanding alternatives to incarceration, and celebrating our 25 year anniversary.
April Barber Scales was a pregnant 15-year-old when she received two life sentences; Anthony Willis was 16 when he was sent away for life. After more than 25 years behind bars, they each received something desperately rare: clemency. They describe how they fought against a prison system that "sets you up for failure." We also hear from an organization in Baltimore that works exclusively with young people at high risk of violence. Rather than arrests and incarceration, what do these young people need?
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.
Youth in the Rockaways, Queens reveal that they have an ever-present fear for their physical safety. The 50 young people we spoke with report maintaining constant vigilance when they are outside and staying indoors most of the time as strategies for staying safe. They experience a dearth of local activities for youth and express a desire for sports, arts, and financial literacy programming; school support; fun field trips; and spaces to learn about and discuss social issues like systemic racism.
The Bronx Community Justice Center works to create a safer, more equitable Bronx through community-driven public safety initiatives, youth opportunity, and economic mobility efforts focused in the South Bronx. Our vision is to support the South Bronx community to become a safe and thriving place where local ownership, community-led investment, and youth opportunity can flourish. The Bronx Community Justice Center works toward this vision by focusing on community safety, restorative practices, and youth and economic development.
Many schools have adopted a form of restorative justice, but there are few rigorous evaluations of its effects. Our study of an ambitious project in a handful of New York City schools returned a mixed result: widespread perceptions of an improved school climate, but little movement in our primary metric—the use of suspensions. Should future researchers prioritize outcomes more aligned with restorative justice's overall goals?