Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!!

On behalf of the staff of Newark Community Solutions, I’d like to thank you, our dedicated community partners, for your support and encouragement. We are especially indebted to you for contributing so generously to our holiday gift drive.   Your generosity and sense of community spirit helped us provide holiday gifts to 150 Newark children. Thanks again and we’ll see you in 2013!!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Community Service Diary - Central Ward

In Newark’s Central Ward, Nicole Singletary, a community organizer who is equal parts grit and commitment with a helping hand from volunteers and Newark Community Solutions participants, is creating a beautiful public space that reflects the power of change and working together for the better: The UJIMAA Garden.   

Friday, November 30, 2012

Community Advisory Board Meeting

Please join us on December 6th at 5:30 PM in Courtroom A301 (3rd Floor) of the Newark Municipal Court for our last Community Advisory Board meeting of 2012  
For our final meeting of 2012, we will present information on outstanding warrants in the community - a topic that affects many Newark residents and is based on input from existing CAB members, Newark Community Solutions staff, and other community leaders. At the meeting, we will hear from Shenique S. Thomas, Ph.D. a Senior Research Project Manager at Rutgers University, School of Criminal Justice, Newark Community Solutions Judge Victoria Pratt, and attorneys from Newark Reentry Legal Services (ReLeSe) who will provide information on:
  • What municipal warrants are and how they affect people;
  •  The legal process for resolving them; and
  • Where people can go to get help.
We would ask that you spread the word about the CAB meeting among your friends, neighbors and coworkers. Looking forward to your contributions and participation as we collaborate to make our community safer. See you next week!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Court, Police and Residents Problem-solving in Newark's 2nd Precinct

Last night, I had had the pleasure of meeting with Newark residents and police officers at Newark’s 2nd Police Precinct.  Talk about spirited dialogue!! At the conclusion of my presentation on where things stand at Newark Community Solutions, long-time and new residents alike gave their views on public safety and offered up ideas on how the court can help them. I couldn’t help but come away encouraged, both by the respectful tone of the exchanges and the participants’ obvious dedication to working with their justice system partners. A few quick takeaways from the meeting. 
  •   Residents want a better understanding of the court’s priorities and resources.

  •   Despite figures showing a decrease in crime, visible signs of public disorder, like trash strewn parks and aggressive panhandling, discourage some residents from enjoying their public spaces.*  
  • Residents are receptive to working with NCS to create additional community service projects.  
The meeting was made possible by the 2nd Precinct’s Commanding Officer, Captain Ivonne Roman, Executive Officer Lieutenant Michael Leroux and our friends at the Center for Collaborative Change. 
*Crime is down in the 2nd Precinct over last year.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

London Probation Trust Visits Newark Community Solutions

Yesterday morning, senior representatives of the London Probation Trust visited Newark Community Solutions. The delegation included Heather Monro, the Probation Trusts’ Chief Executive. The London Probation Trust is the largest of the 35 probation trusts across England and Wales, employing over 3,000 staff. The Trust works towards reducing re-offending and rehabilitates offenders.  Their staff work with 70,000 offenders in the community from their first court appearance to the completion of sentence.  They supervise and deliver the sentences of the courts including programs to change offending behavior and help offenders lead productive lives.  The visitors observed Newark Community Solutions cases and participated in a round-table discussion with NCS staff, Municipal Court judges, and representatives from Essex County Probation and the Center for Court Innovation.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Planning a Community Court - Community Engagement

Back in 2008, planners from the Center for Court Innovation spent several months meeting with justice system stakeholders, private citizens, community advocates, block associations, and just about anyone who had an interest in community improvement. We were looking to conversations around community justice and public safety. In other words, we wanted to find out how crime affected Newarkers and what they thought the Newark Municipal Court and its partners could do about it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Community Service Diary - Stand Down for Veterans

Last Saturday was another amazing day here in Newark! Newark Community Solutions joined local volunteers and more than 500 military veterans for “Stand Down of North Jersey” at John F. Kennedy Pool & Recreation Center.  The event was sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and Newark’s GI GO Fund. Stand Downs provide homeless veterans with access to healthcare, mental health screening, substance abuse counseling, social services availability, religious counseling, a hot meal, a haircut and winter clothing. The goal of the program is to bring a wide range of resources together in one location so the veteran can access the various available services.

This year, NCS was on hand to help homeless veterans with their open court matters like unpaid tickets, fines and municipal court warrants. We collected contact information and scheduled appointments for participants to return to the Newark Municipal Court where NCS staff will help them navigate the court process. The event was huge success. Of the 500+ attendees, nearly 10% signed up for a follow-up appointment with Newark Community Solutions!