Skip to main content

"We're here to help them learn and grow from this."

Staff from the Office of Court Administration, the Legal Aid Society, the Kings County District Attorney's Office, and the Center for Court Innovation hold hands in a closing ceremony of today's Peacemaking program information session.
Staff from throughout the Justice Center's many partner agencies came together today to learn about the launch of our new Peacemaking program in much the same setting that participants in the program will: by sitting in a circle and breaking bread together.

Peacemaking program staff described the training process, during which peacemakers learned from the experience of Navajo Nation peacemakers and heard from a professional storyteller in addition to sessions run by our Tribal Justice Exchange staff. Describing the way that peacemakers came together despite personal struggles in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Deputy Director Brett Taylor noted that the training process "created a community that trusts each other" and worked to "empower peacemakers to build consensus."

Peacemaking Program Director Erika Sasson expressed her confidence in the abilities of the new peacemakers as we approach the launch of the program next month by telling a story: when one peacemaker adopted a punitive tone to describe the program during a training session, other peacemakers jumped in to bring the conversation back towards the core philosophy of the program, reminding everyone that "we're not a court. We're here to help them learn and grow from this."

Program staff answered questions from staff and worked through concerns about the court referral process to peacemaking, building consensus in much the same way as peacemakers have been trained to do for participants: "it's not imposed on you; you are part of the process and coming up with the solution." The session also closed with one of the ceremonial elements that peacemaking participants will experience, with the group holding hands in a circle and "passing the pulse" from one person to the next.

Stay tuned for information about the upcoming launch of the program, set to begin early next year.


Popular posts from this blog

Hasta Luego Benny!

...we'd rather say until later than good-bye. We just learned that one of our amazing court officers, Lt. Benny Castillo, is being transferred to another court. Lt. Castillo has worked at the Justice Center for 5 years. He was always a great leader, and always went beyond the call of duty to lend a helping to staff and residents. The Justice Center is also gearing up to send off Lt. Bobby Vitucci (more on that to come). You can read the article below to see what makes our court officers so special and important to the Justice Center.

Lt. Benny Castillo
Judge Calabrese thanks Lt. Castillo for his service

Thank You AmeriCorps Members

Last Friday we held a graduation for our AmeriCorps members, the last class of the New York Juvenile Justice Corps. Over the past year, the members have served throughout the Center for Court Innovation's New York City projects at various positions within our courts and community programs. They served as a bridge to the communities we work in, and provided valuable support to our projects and various initiatives. The members will be missed and we wish them the best in all their future endeavors.

Jessica Colon
Deputy Project Director

Standing Room Only at the Graduation
Declan Walsh, Director of the John Jay College Office of Community Outreach, presents Al Siegal and Jessica Colon with a plaque in recognition of the Center for Court Innovation's partnership with the college.
Members from the Brownsville Community Justice Center Receive their Certificates
Members from the Crown Heights Mediation Center Receive their Certificates
Staff and Members from the Harlem Community Justice Cen…

Red Hook Youth Court Spring Recognition and Induction Ceremony

On June 16th, 2015 the Red Hook Youth Court opened its doors to family, friends, guest and staff for our Spring Recognition and Induction Ceremony where we acknowledged our members for their hard work and dedication. Honorable Judge, Alex Calabrese was the Key Note speaker of the ceremony. He is a huge supporter of the Red Hook Youth Court and truly believes in the mission of the program. We had a full house, with laughs, smiles and hugs!

10 members are moving on to other endeavors, in which 4 of those 10 are graduating seniors from High School who will be starting college this Fall. 10 Members will be staying on to serve as mentors and 10 newly inducted youth court members who were sworn in by Sergeant William Bauman, of the Unified Court System will all be sitting on the Youth Court and beginning their journey this Summer. Additionally, Jamilah Daniels and Ann Doc, graduating members from Youth Court and High School wrote speeches on their experiences within the program, the gratitu…