Friday, June 26, 2009

Attendance Court in Red Hook

Here's a link to a story from the Brooklyn Eagle about last week's attendance court graduation in Red Hook.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Podcast

The most recent podcast in our "New Thinking" series is now available via iTunes and our website. In the podcast, Rob interviews Ronald Adrine, a judge in Cleveland who presides over a specialized domestic violence docket. Judge Adrine talks about Cleveland's efforts to distinguish defendants who are habitual batterers from defendants who are unlikely to offend again.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In the Sunday Papers

Two stories related to the Center for Court Innovation in the papers today. The first is an editorial from the New York Daily News that looks at how misdemeanor cases are handled in Manhattan's centralized criminal court at 100 Centre Street. The second is a piece in the Guardian that describes a recent report from the Institute for Public Policy Research calling for more restorative justice in England based on the success of the Red Hook Community Justice Center.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A National Commission on Criminal Justice?

Sen. Jim Webb makes the case for why there should be a national criminal justice commission in this essay from the Huffington Post.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Reentry in Harlem

Two recent articles feature the Harlem Community Justice Center's efforts to improve the reentry process for parolees. The first, entitled "Staying Out of Jail -- And In Upper Manhattan," is from the Gotham Gazette. The second, from the Albany Times-Union, is entitled "At the Bottom of Job Ladder."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Strong Families, Safe Communities

Another night, another great event. Today was the unveiling of the Youth Justice Board's recommendations for improving New York City's alternative-to-detention programs. Before an audience of about 100 people, including Gladys Carrion, the commissioner of New York State's Office of Children and Family Services, the teenage members of the Youth Justice Board made an hour-long presentation at the midtown offices of Patterson Belknap. Over the course of a year, the members, who come from various public schools across the city, studied how delinquency cases are handled in Family Court for a year before coming up with a set of suggestions for how to reduce the use of detention. Their report, "Strong Families, Safe Communities" is an impressive piece of work. It should be available on our website soon -- check it out. In the meantime, Linda, Dory, Matt and Jackie deserve to sleep well tonight -- they put an enormous amount of energy into making today's event a success.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Staten Island Youth Court Graduation

Just home from a wonderful night in Staten Island, where we celebrated the graduation of the first class of members of the State Island Youth Court. There were numerous special moments. First, it was good to see Dan Donovan, the Richmond County DA (pictured above) out in support of the youth court -- his endorsement is crucial to the project's ability to handle criminal cases in addition to referrals from family court, probation and the police. Donovan's enthusiasm for the project was exceeded only by Judith Kaye's. This was Judge Kaye's third visit to the youth court in less than a year. Her commitment to the project has helped keep all of the necessary players on point -- and pushed the project to reach the highest possible standard of excellence. Finally, the best part of the event was the palpable excitement on the part of the youth court members -- both the outgoing class and the incoming class, which was formally inducted tonight. At the risk of being corny, it made me feel good about our city to see a cross-section of teens who are willing to give up their free time to learn more about the law and help make their community a safer place. Congrats to Raye, Jackie, Melissa and Sabrina for putting together tonight's program.

Support for Alternatives to Incarceration

A new survey, sponsored by the National Council of Crime and Delinquency, shows broad public support for alternatives to incarceration.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Embracing Failure

My buddy David Shenk is writing a book on the nature of genius. I haven't read it yet, but from my conversations with him, I gather that his book will make a strong case for the value of hard work and perseverence as opposed to the widely-held belief that geniuses like Albert Einstein are genetic aberrations and that excellence is an unattainable ideal for most of us working stiffs. Anyway, to promote his book, David has a blog -- -- that is worth checking out. In fact, I was delighted to find a recent post dedicated to my favorite subject: embracing failure.

Midtown Graduation

Earlier today, the Midtown Community Court held a lunch-time ceremony in the courtroom to honor individuals who have turned their lives around after participating in one of the Court's many programs -- job training, drug treatment, fatherhood, etc. I've been involved with Midtown in one way or another for 17 (!) years now, but I don't think I've ever been prouder of the institution than I was today. I defy any one to sit in the courtroom and watch fathers reunite with their children, former prostitutes celebrate escaping life on the streets, and former addicts talk about getting jobs and not be moved. Congrats to Judge Weinberg, Angela, Danielle, Jeff and the rest of the Midtown staff for making it happen.