Friday, August 29, 2008

Rob Hulls

This morning, I met with Rob Hulls, the attorney general of Victoria, Australia. Hulls was one of the prime movers responsible for replicating the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Melbourne.   Hulls was in New York with a handful of key staffers looking for new ideas -- and to share some of the lessons of their experience.  Brett organized a jam-packed schedule for them, including a visit with Judge Kaye, trips to the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center and Bronx Community Solutions, an arrest-to-arraignment tour of 100 Centre Street, and a meeting with Kristine to talk about family violence and other issues.   I can't speak for Hulls, but I came away from my time with him impressed by his energy and commitment to serious, lasting reform.  

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

It is the dog days of August, so please forgive me another post on a non-work topic. Last week, I went to see a band called Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. I liked 'em, so I thought I'd share this video.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

East Harlem for Sale

Just a quick shot from "East Harlem For Sale: A Youth Perspective on How Gentrification is Changing the Community" -- an art installation put together by the Harlem Community Justice Center. The installation is the result of a summer research project by participants in the Hard HATS program that sought to examine how the East Harlem community is changing, in both positive and negative ways. Kudos to Chris and Ivan and Kate and the rest of the Harlem crew for putting it together -- and to Gene for his typically outstanding photography work.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lolita Conference

At the risk of taxing your patience with a topic that has nothing to do with courts or criminal justice or the Center for Court Innovation, I wanted to recommend a conference that the New School is putting together on Nabokov's Lolita. My wife is the chair of the humanities at the New School and has been working on this conference (which is free of charge and open to the public) for the past six months. Here's a link to a short piece in the New York Observer on the conference.

Friday, August 15, 2008

E-Mail of the Week

This is from Amy in Crown Heights:

I was on the 3 train last night heading home and a young woman across the aisle started to talk to me. She was interested in moving to Brooklyn but wanted advice about the neighborhoods. I started to respond to her, but a man on the other side of the train jumped in, "You should go to the Mediation Center, have you tried them?" Again, before I could say anything, a woman across the aisle from him said, "Oh yeah, you should go by them- that place is great." Then the two of them started to talk about how helpful the Center was. Although I was tempted to just silently listen in, I told them that I worked there. The gentleman told me that he had gotten help from us and frequently checked our window to find out about local events. Just recently he learned about the free concerts in the park. He's also had relatives get information from us about the low income apartments. He said he always refers people to us and that he knows five people who regularly get assistance from us. I always love it when strangers in New York start helping each other out on the subway, but it is even better when they are (literally) shouting our praises.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Youth ECHO

Last week, Youth ECHO, our effort to enlist teen leaders in the Red Hook Houses in marketing anti-crime values to their peers, held a large public event in Coffey Park. Several hundred local residents stopped by to eat hot dogs and burgers, to catch a talent show and to watch a short documentary about the Youth ECHO participants. Youth ECHO's message is a simple one: "Dealing Drugs: It's Not Worth It." They have chosen a wide array of vehicles to transmit this message, including t-shirts, stencils, a myspace page and a downloadable ringtone. Independence Community Foundation has been a principal force behind-the-scenes with Youth ECHO, encouraging us to test a new approach to preventing youth crime and helping to link us with useful partners. Congrats to Elise and Ericka for rising to this challenge!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Report from Kentucky

James is in Louisville for the National Criminal Justice Association's annual conference. He is there on behalf of the Red Hook Community Justice Center to accept NCJA's award for outstanding criminal justice program. With a couple of small tweaks for clarity, here's James' report:

Today was award day. After receiving the award, I was allowed to say a few words. My thank you went somthing like this: On behalf of Judge Calabrese and the entire staff at the Red Hook Community Justice Center, I want to thank NCJA for this honor. In the '80s, Life magazine called Red Hook one of the 10 most crack-infested neighborhoods in the US. In 1995, the first time I went to Red Hook, taxi drivers refused to go to the neighborhood. In 2008, Ikea opened one of their largest stores in North America in Red Hook. The Queen Mary 2 docks just three blocks from my office. And folks can get to Red Hook by water taxi. This shows how the community has changed.
One of the reasons for the change is the Red Hook Community Justice Center. From the very beginning the Justice Center had two objectives. First, courts need to come up with better outcomes. That means holding people accountable for their crimes, while at the same time offering programs and services to get people back on track. Second, we have worked closely with our community to have them part of the planning process, assisting with tackling problems. The Justice Center believes that courts have a responsibilty to the community they serve. I hope courts can continue playing this critical role and I once again thank NCJA for this award.
Congrats to James and Alex and the rest of the team in Red Hook for this wonderful and well-earned recognition. Here's a link to the press release about the award.