Further Information David Bookstaver New York State OCA Communications Director Unified Court System Mai Yee, Assistant Director (212)428-2500 Jonathan Lippman Chief Administrative Judge

Release: Immediate, June 23, 1998

Red Hook Community Justice Center to Break New Ground as

National Model for Community Courts

BROOKLYN, NY—A ground-breaking ceremony marking the start of construction for the Red Hook Community Justice Center—a multifaceted community court that will be the first of its kind in the nation—was held today with Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, and other federal, state and local dignitaries. The product of a unique joint venture between the U.S. Department of Justice, the City of New York, and the Unified Court System, the Red Hook Community Justice Center will integrate under one roof the Family, Housing and Criminal Courts with drug treatment and other services in an effort to solve neighborhood problems and improve the quality of life for residents.

Chief Judge Kaye said, "Today’s ground-breaking ceremony symbolizes the significance of the Red Hook Community Justice Center on both a national and local scale—it breaks new ground in the area of innovative justice solutions and will serve as a model for a new generation of community courts. New York is once again leading the country in creatively and pragmatically addressing some of society’s most pressing problems: drug abuse, juvenile delinquency and domestic violence. The Red Hook Community Justice Center is the product of an exciting alliance between many individuals and organizations at the federal, State and City levels and the community of Red Hook itself. The result of this expansive partnership will be a unique model of community justice that is sure to be emulated across the nation."

"Today’s ceremony signals the start of a new partnership between the people of Red Hook and the Unified Court System," said Mayor Giuliani. "The Red Hook Community Justice Center will offer new and innovative solutions to persistent social problems, by localizing Family, Housing andCriminal Courts and linking them to community resources. Defendants will not only be sentenced to perform community service in Red Hook, but will also be linked to neighborhood-based drug treatment and job training programs. The people of Red Hook will benefit tremendously from this new center, and hopefully we can get individuals, especially juveniles, the help they need so they don’t wind up back in court. The Community Justice Center is proof once again that New York City is a national leader in law enforcement and criminal justice solutions."

The Red Hook Community Justice Center will build on and expand even further the successful model of the award-winning Midtown Community Court in Manhattan, a nationally recognized court that focuses on community restitution and constructive sentencing for defendants in low-level crimes. Key features of the Red Hook Justice Center will include:

Jonathan Lippman, the State’s Chief Administrative Judge, said, "The Red Hook Community Justice Center is yet another example of the court system’s commitment to making the courts more accessible and accountable to the public. The Justice Center will house court resources to resolve Family, Housing and Criminal Court matters, as well as important intervention programs such as drug treatment and counseling services, all under one roof and located within the community itself. The Red Hook Community Justice Center will help to improve the quality of life for neighborhood residents and introduces a new era of community courts."

Funding for the Justice Center has been secured through a combination of federal, State and City sources, as well as private foundations. The U.S. Department of Justice has provided $1.4 million for design and planning. Renovation, which will be underwritten by the City of New York, is estimated to cost $4.8 million. The Center will be built on the site of a former parochial school at 94 Visitation Place in Red Hook, with the renovation expected to last a year.

The creation of the Justice Center is being spearheaded by the Center for Court Innovation, the research and development arm of state court system.

Speakers at today’s press conference included: