Tuesday, August 22, 2006
From NYTimes.com: Now six years old, the court in Red Hook, New York is one of a kind, the nation’s first multijurisdictional community court. It combines elements of criminal, family and housing courts not only under the same roof, but also before the same judge, Alex M. Calabrese. It follows similar courts started in Midtown Manhattan, in 1993, and later in Harlem, but those projects did not combine all three courts.
Many of the cases Judge Calabrese hears are of the sort common in any courthouse, involving drugs, prostitution or vandalism. But he and the court have garnered wide attention for what is considered a groundbreaking crossover role: a court linking criminal sentences with social services, like substance abuse counseling and youth programs, all in the same building. The city is exploring a similar project in the Bronx.
“It’s a small-town court in a big city. Just like in a small town, the judge actually knows who’s doing what,” said David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the state’s Office of Court Administration. “You have to face that same judge every time you screw up.” Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]