Thursday, October 29, 2009

NYC Community Cleanup

Our new, stimulus-funded community service project, NYC Community Cleanup, has been up and running for a week now. I'm sure I'll write more about it in the months to come. In the meantime, the City is featuring a Cleanup staffer on their official stimulus tracking website. Congrats to Luis for the recognition.

Non-Adversarial Justice

Today Arie Frieberg, the dean of the law school at Monash University in Australia visited the Center to discuss his new book Non-Adversarial Justice. In his book, Arie tries to knit together a variety of intellectual and legal reform movements including therapeutic jurisprudence, alternative dispute resolution, restorative justice and problem-solving courts. Arie's book -- and the current interest in justice system reform in Australia -- is another sign that the ideas we have tested here in the U.S. continue to reverberate around the world.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Miss USA in Harlem

In a truly random event, yesterday, as part of her commitment to fighting ovarian and breast cancer, Ms. USA, Kirsten Dalton, visited the Harlem Community Justice Center along with Project Renewal's mammogram screening van.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Quiet Revolution in Australia

Here's a link to a great piece on Rob Hulls, the Attorney General of Victoria and one of the most dynamic and intellectually curious public officials that I have met on my travels. The article talks about Rob's efforts to reform the criminal justice system in Australia, including a number of ideas adapted from New York's community courts.

Monday, October 19, 2009

John Dewey

Tonight I went to a lecture at the New School on the topic of "What Would Dewey Do?" The event, which was part of the 90th anniversary celebration of the New School, attempted to translate the principles of pragmatism and progressive education espoused by John Dewey, one of the founders of the New School, into the present day. One of the principal points that the lecturer, Peter Rutkoff of Kenyon College, made was that universities should move away from an ivory tower model and attempt to operate more like a bazaar. The general idea is that there is a need to break down the walls that often exist between theory and action and to encourage universities to think of themselves as open places where both students and non-students can come to test the merchandise (in this case, knowledge). From my place in the audience, it struck me that in many ways community courts, which open the doors of the criminal justice system and encourage local residents to participate in producing justice at some level, are an embodiment of some of these ideas.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tony Thompson

Today's Center for Court Innovation staff meeting featured a book talk by Tony Thompson, a professor at NYU Law School and author of Releasing Prisoners, Redeeming Communities. While Tony has been a vocal critic of some of our projects, I think that over the years our engagement with him has helped make our work stronger. I like to think that one of the strengths of the Center is our willingess to engage with skeptics and respond to on-point criticism.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Community Justice in Liverpool

Here's a link to a short video about the North Liverpool Community Justice Centre produced by The Guardian in England.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Vera Institute of Justice

Last night was the annual benefit for the Vera Institute of Justice, one of my favorite organizations. The focus of the evening was Vera's work to transform the criminal justice system in New Orleans, an effort in which we played a small, supporting role during the early stages. While there is clearly a lot of work still to be done in New Orleans, it seems that Vera has already helped the city dramatically reduce the length of time arrestees spend in custody prior to appearing in court. The best part of the evening for me was the chance to catch up with old pals and acquaintances, including Dean Esserman, who is working to keep the streets safe in one of my former hometowns, Providence, Rhode Island.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Drucker Award

Yesterday, I received word that the Center for Court Innovation has been named one of three winners of the 2009 Peter F. Drucker Awards for Non-Profit Innovation. This is a huge honor -- I'm told that more than 600 organizations across the U.S. applied for the distinction. For more information on Drucker, click here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rockefeller Reforms in Effect

Today, New York governor David Paterson held an event at the Brooklyn Treatment Court to commemorate the implementation of the Rockefeller drug law reforms he signed into law a few months ago. In the press release, Paterson talks about how the reforms will help expand the use of drug courts.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Community Court in Scotland

Both Labor and the Conservative Party seem to want a community court in Glasgow. The latest sign is this article, which includes this quote from the head of the Tories: "To protect the public and to ensure swift and effective justice I can announce today that the Scottish Conservatives would establish a fast track community court in Glasgow. Based on the New York model, criminals would be brought to court quickly, dealt with swiftly and if appropriate made to carry out their sentences immediately."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Brooklyn Community Foundation

I spent this morning at a breakfast unveiling the Brookyln Community Foundation, a new organization that seeks to serve as the connective tissue between Brooklyn philanthropists and innovative Brooklyn non-profit organizations. It was an inspiring event in many ways; it certainly tapped into the civic pride I feel for the borough that is home to so many Center for Court Innovation projects (Red Hook Community Justice Center, Brooklyn Mental Health Court, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, Brooklyn Treatment Court, Brooklyn Domestic Violence Court, etc.). The new foundation chose to share the day's spotlight a handful of Brooklyn-based organizations. One of these was Added Value, a wonderful group founded by two Center for Court Innovation alums, Ian Marvy and Michael Hurwitz.