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Showing posts from 2013

Celebrating Red Hook Youth Court's Graduation and Induction Ceremony

Staff, family and friends all joined the Red Hook Youth Court at their Graduation and Induction Ceremony. The ceremony was opened by the Red Hook Community Justice Center’s Director, Julian Adler, who gave the graduates and inductees a few words of wisdom that they can use in youth court, but also apply to their daily lives.

A total number of 14 Youth Court members graduated, while 9 trainees were sworn in and inducted by Community Affairs Officer, Vincent Marrone of the 76th Precinct.  Seven of the Youth Court graduates are high school seniors and are on track to begin college in the Fall of 2014. Members and staff of the Red Hook Youth Court are looking forward to the New Year, as they will continue to learn, serve the community, help their peers, and practice restorative justice.

You can learn more about the Red Hook Youth Court here:

Julian Adler, Director of the Red Hook Community Justice Center

Red Hook Youth Court Graduates and staff

De Blasio announces Bratton as next NYPD Police Commissioner at the Red Hook Community Justice Center

Stating that the Red Hook Community Justice Center "epitomizes" the way to fight crime along with the community, Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio announced Bill Bratton as the city's next police commissioner. By holding the announcement as the Justice Center, de Blasio emphasized that "we can fight crime and bring police and community together." Mr. Bratton stated that, as police commissioner he will bring "legitimacy and trust" to the NYPD", and "if we get it right here, we can be a beacon of light for the rest of the world."

You can see the full press conference here:

Jessica Colon
Deputy Project Director

Red Hook Youth Court Partners with the United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of New York

The Red Hook Youth Court has developed a partnership with the United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District. It all began when they visited the Red Hook Community Justice Center and viewed youth court in the Spring, and from there a relationship was built. Over the summer, the Red Hook Youth Court members visited the U.S. Attorney’s Offices where they were able to observe a sentencing hearing and meet with Judge Gleeson.

Most recently, the U.S. Attorney's Office has partnered with us yet again, and have been so graciously assisting us with facilitating training sessions for our new class of trainees, focusing on topics such as: public speaking, court roles, and writing opening and closing statements. This is extremely important for the growth of our members and trainees because they get to be trained by professionals in the actual law field. Gleacy Mejia,
Youth Court Program Assistant
Youth Court Members with Attorney's from the US Attorney's Office Eastern District

Visual Stories from Brooklyn & Beyond

Last week, the Justice Center held the culminating exhibition “Visual Stories from Brooklyn & Beyond” at The Red Hook Public Library, featuring the work of 12 students from the JustArts Photography Program, an after-school digital photography workshop for teens from Red Hook and neighboring communities offered by the Red Hook Community Justice Center in partnership with Brooklyn Arts Council. Each student presented their photos at the exhibition for guests.
Funding for this project was generously provided by Probitas Foundation, Ltd. The focus for this class was to present visual projects using ideas in documentary photography. Students choose their final projects to reflect a topic they felt needed to be addressed to a larger audience in some way, to advocate for social justice and express their own personal artistic expression. The photos will be on display for the community to view indefinitely along with copies of their artist statements, which can be found at the front desk of…

Farewell Lt.Vitucci

Last month the Justice Center said farewell to our beloved Lieutenant Robert "Bobby" Vitucci,he retired after 28 years as a New York State Court Officer. Vitucci has worked at the Justice Center for 8 years. He was an outstanding leader; he maintained a tone of approachability, respect, and compassion to all that walked through the Justice Center. His generosity and dedication were exemplified during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. He will be missed we look forward to him coming to check up on us. We wish him well in his future endeavors. See Lt. Vitucci's heartfelt words to one of our GED Plus graduates:
 Lieutenant Robert "Bobby" Vitucci being honored with the Above & Beyond Award for his exemplary leadership and tireless dedication to the Red Hook Community Justice Center in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Judge Calabrese and Tina Dixons Honored as 2013 Robin Hood Heroes

The Robin Hood Hero's Award is given annually to a few special New Yorkers who have overcome insurmountable obstacles and shown us the resiliency of the human spirit. It is an opportunity for Robin Hood to celebrate the programs that they support, as well as the people they assist. Their stories inspire us to do more. The Justice Center is honored to have Judge Calabrese and Tina Dixons names as 2013 Robin Hood Heroes.

Learn more:

Jessica Colon
Deputy Project Director

The Justice Center Saves Money, Lowers Crime, and Reduces Incarceration - Study

We're excited to announce the results of a multi-year, independent study about the Red Hook Community Justice Center. These results wouldn't be possible without the long-time collaboration between the Justice Center, the community, and law enforcement.  See the press release below for more details.

Summary of results:
Full Copy of the Report:

MORE EFFECTIVE, LESS EXPENSIVE— PIONEERING “COMMUNITY COURT” SAVES MONEY, LOWERS CRIME, AND REDUCES INCARCERATION New Report on NYC’s Red Hook Community Justice Center Shows Offenders 10-20% Less Likely to Commit New Crimes; Savings to Local Community Surpassed $12 Million Annually BROOKLYN – A pioneering “community court” in Red Hook, Brooklyn is being heralded for its innovative role in reducing crime and saving taxpayer money, according to a new, independent study released today by the National Center for State Courts and commissioned by the US Department of Justice’s National Insti…

Red Hook After Sandy. One Year Later.

The impact of Sandy is still a daily presence in Red Hook. People who live and work here will never forget the damage and loss. We also cannot forget the outpouring of support from volunteers, residents, and nonprofits that came together to help each other. Many of our staff were directly impacted by Sandy and lived in flooded areas like Red Hook, the Rockaways and Staten Island. Many residents and local businesses are still struggling to get back on their feet. This community, like so many others, continues to work together to recover and make sure we're more resilient for the next storm.

You can see past blog posts from the Justice Center immediately following the storm here:
Renewal in Red Hook, Shelter from the Storm, Red Hook on the Road, We're Back!, A Round of Applause for Red Hook. Below are some pictures we took which document the days after the storm.

Jessica Colon
Deputy Director

The Justice Center's Basement after Five Feet of Flood Water was Pumped Out  Residen…

Keeping up with the Red Hook Youth Court

September was National Youth Court Month and the Red Hook Youth Court members have been keeping busy. In memory of the anniversary of September 11th, the Youth Court members collectively conducted research on various topics; such as terrorism, racism and stereotypes. Using the information they studied, they put together presentations and demonstrated what they have learned, to staff and visitors at the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Additionally, members baked desserts and dropped off goody baskets with thank you cards to the local precinct and fire departments – honoring them for their bravery during 9/11 and on a daily basis. Looking forward to October, members are also fund-raising for both Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Awareness. All proceeds will be donated to the Breast Cancer Walk and Domestic Violence organization of their choice. With school back in session, the members continue to serve on the court and influence youth through positive peer pressure and…

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…

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

Rents, Rights and Repairs

Are you a NYCHA tenant or assist NYCHA tenants and have questions about your rent, repairs and rights? The Red Hook Community Justice Center and the Center for Urban Pedagogy have created a new easy-to-read guide to Housing Court for NYCHA tenants. You can request a copy by calling 718-923-8201.

You can learn more about the project here and how to order copies:

Peacemaking Information Session

Are you interested in helping make your community better and resolve disputes? Please join us to learn about how you can be trained to resolve cases in the Native American tradition of Peacemaking at the Red Hook Community Justice Center. The Center's innovative Peacemaking Program is hosting an information session Thursday October 3, at 6:00pm at the Joseph A. Miccio Community Center in Red Hook at 110 West 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231.

Peacemaking is a traditional Native American approach to justice that focuses on healing and restoration rather than punishment. Although peacemaking varies across Native American tribes, it generally brings together the disputants, along with family members, friends, and other members of the community to speak about how the event, crime, or crisis affected each person. The goal of peacemaking is not only to resolve the immediate dispute, but also to heal the relationships among those involved and restore balance to the community.

You can learn…

Rent, Repairs, and Rights: A Guide to Housing Court for NYCHA Tenants

Another Red Hook Summer

...And this is much better than the movie.

We kicked off the summer with our third annual Free Book Fair in front of the Red Hook Library. We were able to give away hundreds of books to encourage kids to keep reading during the summer months. A 12-year-old at the book fair said, “My mom is going to be upset that I brought all these books in the house but, I don’t care, I love to read!”
New York Juvenile Justice Corps Member Shows a Young Reader a Book
We celebrated another Youth Court graduation with Deputy Inspector Schiff from the 76th precinct. The Red Hook Youth Court continues to be a model for other Youth Courts around the country and an important program for the community and the court.
This year, 15 students participated in our Just Works Summer Internship Program, which aims to connect teens and young adults to professional development opportunities. Our interns, along with our Youth Court members also participated in a college trip to Hofstra and St. John’s University. Interns…