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Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better: Lessons From Community Courts - Interview With Greg Berman

NCJ Number
Greg Berman
Date Published
April 2011
3 pages
This video and its transcript cover an interview with Greg Berman - director of the Center for Court Innovation - that elaborates on his presentation at the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Research for the Real World Seminar Series, in which he discusses research that measured the neighborhood impact of the Red Hook Community Justice Center, a neighborhood-based court in a low income Brooklyn neighborhood (New York).
This community court primarily hears neighborhood misdemeanor cases and some low-level felony cases. The court aims to combine punishment and service by linking offenders to visible community restitution projects, so they make a positive contribution to the neighborhood they have harmed with their criminal behavior. The court also links offenders to social service interventions and job training designed to better prepare them for constructive employment and social interactions. Community surveys before the community court was launched and for extended periods after it had been operating showed that residents had moved from a negative to a more positive view of the criminal justice system. This case study is used as an example of how perceptions and experiences of justice are formed at the neighborhood level where residents experience first hand how their lives have changed because their neighborhoods and the people with whom they interact have changed. Berman argues that in times when resources and funding are tight, priority should be given to research investments that lead to cost-effective improvements in quality of life at the neighborhood level.