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Friday, June 17, 2011

Newark Community Solutions Opens its Doors

Last night, my Director and I attended the opening ceremony for Newark Community Solutions, the sister project of Bronx Community Solutions. Newark Community Solutions is using the same community justice model to address low-level offending in the Newark Criminal Court.  We were proud to be at the opening of Newark Community Solutions, and were inspired by the moving speech by Mayor Corey Booker. The event rejuvenated us to do our work here at BCS.  Below, find the notice from BJA Justice Today about Newark Community Solutions. 

Newark, NJ Launches Community Justice Initiative
On June 16, 2011, the City of Newark, New Jersey launched an ambitious community justice initiative to combat crime and improve public confidence in justice, the first of its kind in the state.
Mayor Cory A. Booker; Municipal Council President Donald M. Payne, Jr.; Business Administrator Julien X. Neals, Esq.; Municipal Court Chief Judge Richard E.A. Nunes; Bureau of Justice Assistance Senior Policy Advisor Kim Ball; Essex County Superior Court Assignment Judge Patricia K. Costello; Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray; the Center for Court Innovation; Newark Municipal Court Judges; and other dignitaries held an opening ceremony to launch Newark Community Solutions, a court-based community justice initiative that brings the justice system and the community together in order to improve public safety and restore public trust in the justice system.
Newark Community Solutions gives Newark's judges the ability to sentence low-level offenders to a combination of punishment and help—with restorative, visible community service performed in Newark's wards and with social services that focus on offenders' underlying problems, such as substance abuse, mental illness, or unemployment. At the same time, Newark Community Solutions seeks ways of engaging Newarkers in "doing justice"—by giving residents input in program priorities and forming a community advisory board to identify disorder hotspots for offenders to clean as part of their community service sentences.
Newark Community Solutions was planned and is operated by a remarkably broad public-private partnership that includes the City of Newark, the Newark Municipal Council, the New Jersey Administrative Office of Courts, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the non-profit Center for Court Innovation. Other key partners include the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, Newark's Center for Collaborative Change, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, the Nicholson Foundation, and the Office of the Newark Public Defender.
Excerpted from the City of Newark's press release.

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