Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pretrial Justice

Aeli reminds me that in my rush to post blog entries about the Center, I occasionally forget about my friends. The latest example of this is my failure to provide a link to a recent NPR report entitled Behind the Bail Bond System that features the work of my buddy Tim Murray at the Pretrial Justice Institute. I've been hugely impressed by the work Tim has done of late to shine a spotlight on the problem of people being held in custody not because they have been found guilty of criminal behavior or are an imminent risk to public safety but simply because they are poor. This NPR story is well worth a moment of your time.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

And Speaking of Joe Hynes...

Tonight I attended the installation of Charles J. Hynes as the Brooklyn District Attorney for a record sixth term. The event offered numerous reminders of why Hynes is such a remarkable prosecutor. As New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said in his keynote address, DA Hynes has "never met a new idea he didn't like." The list of innovative programs that he has launched is truly staggering -- reentry, domestic violence, truancy, drug addiction, and bias crime are just a few of the problems that he has targeted with new initiatives. As a Brooklynite, I was proud to hear how, over the course of Hynes' 20 years in office, the borough has gone from one of the most violent urban areas in the country to one of the most livable. As part of the Center for Court Innovation, I was even more proud to hear several mentions of projects that we worked on with the DA's office, including a special acknowledgement of the role the Red Hook Community Justice Center has played in turning around Red Hook.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Community Prosecution

I spent the last couple of days in Washington DC at the invitation of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, which put together an advisory council dedicated to the subject of community prosecution. In many respects, it reminded me of similar gatherings that I participated in back in the mid-1990s. Back then, district attorneys like Joe Hynes in Brooklyn, Mike Schrunk in Portland, Ronnie Earle in Austin and Scott Newman in Indianapolis were pioneering a new approach to law enforcement that emphasized community engagement, creative problem solving and investments in crime prevention. I found all of this extremely stimulating as I was in the process of planning the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Certainly, there is significant overlap between the community court model and the strategies employed by community prosecutors. The past decade has had some ups and downs as far as community prosecution goes, but with a new Attorney General who is committed to these ideas, I'm feeling extremely positive about the prospects for a new wave of prosecutorial innovation. I feel doubly so in the aftermath of this week's council meeting, which featured a vibrant discussion that included a range of prosecutors I had never met before, including representatives from Atlanta, Milwaukee, Dallas, Los Angeles and other major cities.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A New Award for Midtown

Today brings word that the Midtown Community Court has won the 2010 Serving Youth Opportunity Award given by the New York City Employment & Training Coalition. The award honors Midtown's Times Square Youth program, which provides basic job skills and employment assistance to troubled young people. Congrats to Courtney, Jeff, Danielle, Becca, Kate and the rest of the Midtown team for this wonderful honor.

Friday, January 15, 2010

More Drucker Stuff

Two recent mentions of the Drucker Award to share: the first finds the Center named the "Innovation of the Week" by the Leader to Leader Institute and the second is from the newsletter of Coro's New York office.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Working with Prostitutes

Another day, another interesting press clip. This one from the Dallas Observer about a model program that is working to transform the life of women arrested for prostitution. Includes a couple of mentions of our work, including a quote from Liberty.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

London Times Article on Midtown

In an article entitled, "How a US court tries to ensure offenders don’t come back," a Scottish solicitor writes about the Midtown Community Court and the efforts to replicate the model in Scotland.

Also, the Bureau of Justice Assistance is featuring our recent paper on DARE on the front page of their website at the moment.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Inauguration of Cy Vance Jr.

Last night I attended the inauguration of Cy Vance Jr. as the new Manhattan District Attorney. I'm not a big fan of pomp and circumstance, so I was surprised to find the whole event fascinating. Vance has the blessing and the burden of following in the footsteps of two legendary figures: his father, the former Secretary of State, and Robert Morgenthau, who served as DA for more than three decades. The clip above gives you a sense of how graciously Vance has handled his various debts.