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Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better: Lessons From Community Courts - NIJ Research for the Real World Seminar

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2011
13 pages
This video and its transcript cover a presentation by Greg Berman, director of the Center for Court Innovation, at a seminar in the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Research for the Real World Seminar Series, in which he draws lessons from the Center's establishment of an innovative community court in a low-income neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.
This court, called the Red Hook Community Court, processes misdemeanor and some low-level felony cases for crimes committed in the neighborhood. The court is an official branch of the New York State Court System and is staffed by a judge, legal-aid attorneys, prosecutors, and probation officers. In emphasizing community service and community-based treatment interventions, the court has significantly reduced the use of jail and increased both residents' and offenders' positive views of the fairness and effectiveness of the justice system in implementing constructive accountability and providing services that improve the quality of life in the community. Berman also presents an overview of another project of the Center for Court Innovation, which is called the "Trial and Error Project." This is a project in which persons who are involved in innovative projects are conditioned to accept that failure is a part of any effort to achieve innovative change. Further, the focus is also on facing specific failures, learning from them rather than attempting to deny or hide them, and making revisions in program and practice that address the reasons for failure. In examining the underlying implications of this approach to innovation, Berman draws nine lessons the Center has learned about implementing new programs.

Date Published: April 1, 2011