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.
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.
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.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York in March 2020, it forced drug courts across the state to hear cases remotely and use teleservices for many daily drug court operations—appearances, case management, graduation ceremonies. This report details a three-year project to implement an Opioid Reduction Teleservices Program, discussing outcomes, lessons learned, measures toward sustainability, and recommendations for future Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP) projects.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on survivors of domestic violence. This document reflects on lessons learned from this difficult period and highlights innovative responses by courts that encountered tremendous challenges in providing access to critical services and forms of legal relief. In examining the ways in which courts adapted, new possibilities emerged for practices beyond the pandemic to safely and effectively expand access to justice in domestic violence cases.
In a companion report to its first publication, the Center for Court Innovation and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association outline six jurisdictions working to increase their capacities to uphold Sixth Amendment rights.
The June 2019 expansion of New York City’s Supervised Release Program increased the number of people released into supervision. This was true for those facing misdemeanor or non-violent felony charges. In addition, the expansion reduced pretrial detention among people charged with non-violent felonies. There was no decrease in pretrial detention for those facing misdemeanors. This suggests that these individuals would likely have been released on recognizance—with no supervision requirements—prior to the expansion.
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