The Red Hook Community Justice Center

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Location Brooklyn, New York, United States
Introduction Launched in June 2000, the Red Hook Community Justice Center is the nation's first multi-jurisdictional community court. The Justice Center seeks to solve neighborhood problems like drugs, crime, domestic violence and landlord-tenant disputes. A single judge hears neighborhood cases that under ordinary circumstances would go to three different courts—Civil, Family and Criminal. The goal is to offer a coordinated, rather than piecemeal, approach to people's problems. The Red Hook judge has an array of sanctions and services at his disposal, including community restitution projects, on-site educational workshops and GED classes, drug treatment and mental health counseling—all rigorously monitored to ensure accountability and drive home notions of individual responsibility. The courthouse is also a hub for an array of unconventional programs that engage local residents in "doing justice." These include after school programs, community service projects improve conditions of disorder and a youth court where teenagers resolve actual cases involving their peers. The idea here is to engage the community in aggressive crime prevention, solving local problems before they even come to court.