Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pass Award for Daring to Fail

Just received formal notification that our book Daring to Fail has received a PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. The PASS Awards are the only national program that recognizes print, oral and video work that focuses on the complex probelms of the criminal justice system. Needless to say, I couldn't be happier with this recognition, especially since it comes from an organization I have long respected. Special kudos to Aubrey and Emily who worked so hard to make the book a reality.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Back to the Salt Mines

After each of my semi-annual visits to my grandmother Loretta in New Jersey, she used to send me back to my parents by saying, "Back to the salt mines with you." I always think of my grandma on days like today when I am trying to get my head back in gear after a week of vacation. While I was gone, we released a wonderful short film about community courts made by Robert V. Wolf, that can be found on our YouTube Channel. Also, while I was away, Jeff Butts from John Jay College visited the Harlem Community Justice Center to talk about juvenile justice issues. Check out Harlem's juvenile gang task force blog for more details.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Center Down Under

Thanks to my friend Arie Frieberg, Dean of Monash University Law School, efforts are underway to create an Australian Centre for Court and Justice System Innovation. Australia is a world away from New York obviously, but we are trying to be helpful as best we can. More to come in the days ahead...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Manhattan Mental Health Court

Yesterday afternnoon marked the official kick-off of the Manhattan Mental Health Court with a lunchtime celebration featuring New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and Manhattan DA Cy Vance Jr. This project builds on the model that we helped to create in Brooklyn eight years ago, which is presided over by the Hon. Matthew D'Emic. While we are not directly involved in operating the Manhattan court, we did play a behind-the-scenes role, providing technical assistance and support to the Manhattan judge. Kudos to Carol for her work on this project.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Two for Tuesday

I grew up in Washington DC. One of my favorite radio stations as a kid was DC101, which had a gimmick called "two for tuesday" in which they would play back-to-back songs by the same artist. In that spirit, there are two new products from Center for Court Innovation authors to announce. The first is this new blog by Linda Baird to promote her appearance at the upcoming National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges conference in Reno. The second is an essay entitled "Representing and Defending Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Criminal Court" by Courtney Bryan of the Midtown Community Court. The essay appears in Lawyer’s Manual on Human Trafficking: Pursuing Justice for Victims, a new book published by the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, First Department and the New York State Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sloan Awards 2011

Last Thursday was one of my favorite days of the year: the annual dispensing of the Sloan Public Service Awards by the Fund for the City of New York. These awards honor a half dozen New York City public officials each year for extraordinary work. Crucially, from my perspective, the prizes (which include a check for $7,500) are given not to the deputy mayors and commissioners who already get a fair measure of public acclaim, but to people further down the hierarchy in city government, including frontline school principals, nurse practitioners, library outreach workers and park designers.

For the past several years, I've gone on a bus trip with Fund for the City of New York officials to present the winners with their awards at their place of business. I hesitate to use the word because it sounds kind of corny, but it is easily one of the most inspiring things I do all year. It is a powerful corrective to the false narratives that we are sometimes fed about government and about urban life -- e.g. that public sector employees are lazy, that poverty is intractable, that racial conflict is hard-wired into the fabric of the city (to mix metaphors horribly), etc etc.

I'd say more about the day, but it turns out one of my fellow travellers on the bus, Liz Neumark, has beaten me to the punch. Check out her blog on Huffington Post for more details about this remarkable program.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Discretionary Justice

Yet another Center for Court Innovation alum makes good...Just received an email from Leslie Paik who played a number of roles at the Center back in our early days. She is now a professor at CUNY and has a new book coming out from Rutgers University Press. The book is entitled "Discretionary Justice" and is the product of years of field research at a juvenile drug court in California.