Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Thursday, June 1, 2000

Release #206-00

Contact: Sunny Mindel/Edward Skyler (212) 788-2958


Nation's First Multi-Jurisdictional Community Court

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today formally opened the Red Hook Community Justice Center. The Center will combine Family, Housing, and Criminal Courts as well as offer drug testing and other essential services. The Mayor was joined by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, and Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Nancy Gist.

"New York City's innovative approach to crime prevention has been studied all over the world," Mayor Giuliani said. "Today, we are introducing another initiative that will build upon our successes in reducing crime and improving the quality of life of all New Yorkers. The Red Hook Community Justice Center, the first multi-jurisdictional court in the country, seeks not only to ensure that the wheels of justice turns smoothly and quickly, but also to help those who come before it turn their lives around."

Chief Judge Kaye said, "The Red Hook Community Justice Center is a new concept in community justice that will undoubtedly serve as a model for the next generation of community courts across the country. By handling criminal, civil, and family court matters under one roof, the Justice Center can comprehensively address problems affecting individuals and the community. The court will stress individual accountability and restitution to the community, while also providing preventive services, such as substance abuse treatment, job training and mediation, both to defendants and to area residents who need such services. This integrated approach to justice-- which metes out meaningful punishment for offenders and at the same time targets peripheral issues associated with crime-- promises a safer, stronger neighborhood for all the residents of Red Hook."

The Red Hook Community Justice Center is based on the successful model of the award-winning Midtown Community Court in Manhattan, a nationally recognized court focusing on community restitution and constructive sentencing for defendants in low-level crimes.

The Center's caseload will include criminal, family and civil matters, including landlord-tenant disputes and juvenile delinquency cases. Offenders will pay their debt to society through community service such as graffiti removal, park maintenance and administrative work for non-profits. The Center will aid the entire community through drug treatment, domestic violence counseling programs and also seeks to prevent crime through mediation services and youth development initiatives. The Center will take advantage of state of the art technology, using computers to track compliance, and, in the near future, use video technology in remote arraignments.

The court was made possible through the partnership between the the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, the City of New York, and the Roman Catholic Church of the Visitation of the City of Brooklyn. The building was provided with the support of the Diocese of Brooklyn. $5.4 million construction funding was provided by the City, and the $1.3 million plan and design of the Red Hook Community Justiche Center was funded by the Department of Justice.

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