Thursday, February 21, 2013

Brushes With The Law


Another good event from our friends at the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School this morning: Brushes with the Law: Young New Yorkers, Neighborhoods and the Criminal Justice System.  The Center for New York City Affairs has consistently been a force for good in local public policy, helping to lay the groundwork for significant juvenile justice and child welfare reform in New York City.  The event was timed to coincide with the release of a new edition of the Child Welfare Watch, which, as it happens, touches on a number Center for Court Innovation projects, including our work in Red Hook and Brownsville and our efforts to assist with NY Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman's adolescent diversion program.  (Indeed, the artwork that the Center for New York City Affairs used to promote this morning's panel -- featured above -- is a mural at the Red Hook Community Justice Center.)

In some respects, it was tempting to view today's event at the New School as the culmination of years of work by the Center for New York City Affairs and by the dozens of advocacy groups, non-profit service providers, government agencies, and foundations that were represented in the audience.  Despite NYC Administration for Children's Services commissioner Ron Richter's contention that the overhaul of the system will never be complete because new needs will always be emerging, today's panel was a healthy reminder of just how far we have come in New York City.  Almost every indicator that came up -- from the number of young people in detention to the number of cases adjusted out of the system to the number of new programs being put in place to serve troubled teens -- is pointing in the right direction at the moment. I'm proud that the Center for Court Innovation has played a small, supporting role in all of this.