Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bruce Winick

Earlier today I received word that Bruce Winick has passed away. Along with his friend David Wexler, Bruce was the originator of therapeutic jurisprudence, a school of thought that has influenced many problem-solving courts and sparked a minor movement within the legal academy. I knew Bruce in passing -- we had coffee a couple of times, he asked me to contribute to a book he edited (Judging in a Therapeutic Key) and he was kind enough to share a portion of his work with me. (He was, by just about any standard, an insanely prolific scholar.) I always looked forward to our correspondence -- he was always kind, thoughtful and eager to engage in give-and-take. He will be missed. For a snapshot of Bruce's work, check out the Cutting Edge Law website.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Save Our Streets

One of our newest projects is Save Our Streets, an anti-violence campaign launched by the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center. With the help of a grant from the Department of Justice, we are attempting to replicate the Ceasefire model from Chicago, which essentially argues that gun violence should be treated like a public health problem. The program has several key components. One component involves sending credible messengers (i.e. individuals with their own history of criminal involvement) out into the neighborhood to intervene and defuse tension whenever a shooting occurs. Another component involves organizing community protests after every shooting to send a message that local residents will not accept violence on their streets. For a glimpse of what this looks like, check out this blog posting.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Innovation and Failure

Lest anyone think that I am only interested in my own writings about failure, here are three recent clips from others that highlight the inextricable relationship between innovation and failure.

Paul Tough's New York Times op-ed on the federal Promise Neighborhoods initiative argues that it is sometimes a good idea to invest in unproven innovations.

In the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Clara Miller writes about the Social Innovation Fund and makes the case that innovators need both transparency and privacy if they are to learn from failure.

And the New York Times reports on FailFaire, a gathering designed to highlight lessons from failed technology efforts.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Turning the Corner

The Young Foundation in London has just released a report entitled Turning the Corner: Beyond Incarceration and Re-offending. Among other things, the report calls for the creation of a Centre for Justice Innovation, modeled after the Center for Court Innovation, in England. If you don't want to read the whole report, check out this piece from The Independent entitled "Our justice system must embrace innovation as a necessity" and you'll get the gist.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Things I've Read Recently

Here are some links to a few things worth reading:

Village Voice profile of Gladys Carrion, the commissioner of the New York State agency that oversees juvenile placement facilities.

Article by Center for Court Innovation alum Kate Krontiris about how innovative technology can support foreign policy.

Congressional testimony from John Roman of the Urban Institute about the efficacy of drug courts that builds on joint research completed by Urban, the Center for Court Innovation and RTI International.

A new law review article by Minnesota judge Kevin Burke that looks at the importance of procedural fairness in drug court.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"They Don't Use the Slang We Do"

Today's New York Law Journal has a front-page story on the Youth Justice Board's comic book guide to the juvenile justice system in New York City. My favorite quote in the article comes from a Youth Justice Board member who says that the comic "is a little masterpiece. You want to spend time with it. We didn't want to make it a boring black-and-white novel."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rethinking the Politics of Crime

An essay that I wrote appears in the Crime Report. Entitled "Rethinking the Politics of Crime," the piece examines a recent controversy about prison reform in England and offers some thoughts about the challenges of criminal justice policymaking in the glare of the media spotlight.