The Center for Court Innovation is committed to reducing crime and incarceration, addressing violence, supporting survivors, and building communities while strengthening public trust in justice. The Center seeks justice for marginalized groups, bringing an equity lens – particularly a racial and gender equity lens – to its work. For 25 years, the Center has worked to foster justice and equity to create safe, healthy, and thriving communities and, ultimately, to transform the justice system.
The Center is an 800-employee, $100 million nonprofit that accomplishes its vision through three pillars of work: creating and scaling operating programs to test new ideas and solve problems, performing original research to determine what works (and what doesn’t), and providing expert assistance and policy guidance to justice reformers around the world.
The Center’s operating programs, including the award-winning Red Hook Community Justice Center and Midtown Community Court, test new ideas, solve difficult problems, and attempt to achieve systemic change within the justice system. Our projects include community-based violence prevention programs, alternatives to incarceration, reentry initiatives, and court-based initiatives that reduce the use of unnecessary incarceration and promote positive individual and family change. Through this programming, we have produced tangible results like safer streets, reduced incarceration, and improved neighborhood perceptions of justice.
Researchers at the Center conduct independent evaluations, documenting how government systems work, how neighborhoods function, and how reform efforts change things. We believe in the “action research” model; accordingly, our researchers provide regular feedback on the results of the Center’s own operating programs. The Center has published studies on topics including youth in the sex trade, reentry, gun violence, and drug treatment as an alternative to incarceration. Our researchers have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals.
Policy & Expert Assistance
The Center provides hands-on, planning and implementation assistance to a wide range of jurisdictions in areas of reform such as problem-solving courts (e.g., community courts, treatment courts, domestic violence courts), tribal justice, reducing incarceration and the use of fines/fees and reducing crime and violence. Our current expert assistance takes many forms, including help with analyzing data, strategic planning and consultation, policy guidance, and hosting site visits to its operating programs in the New York City area.
Launched in 1993, the award-winning Midtown Community Court is one of the country’s first problem-solving courts. It provides alternatives to fines and jail as a response to low-level crime. Seeking to reduce crime and incarceration and increase public trust in justice, the Midtown Community Court works with neighborhood stakeholders to improve Midtown Manhattan, and to serve the vibrant Midtown community, specifically those in need of services. The court responds creatively to low-level offending, seeking sentences that are restorative to the victim, defendant, and community. Further, the Midtown staff engages in ongoing community engagement to promote community wellness and to help connect people in need to voluntary services.
Midtown Community Court seeks a Community Navigator for its recently launched initiative in Times Square called Community First. The aim of Community First is to create an upstream diversion away from arrest by building trusting and supportive relationships with people in need of services and ultimately linking those individuals to mental health services, housing support, substance use services, and other kinds of social services as needed. Community Navigators work along side community members experiencing varying levels of homelessness to achieve client-identified goals and outcomes related to all aspects of quality of life. This includes goals such as obtaining transitional and permanent housing, identification, financial benefits, substance use and mental health supports, access to physical health care, and legal support. The work of a Community Navigator centers the goals of a client to support their own identified outcomes.
Community First is a partnership between Midtown Community Court, Breaking Ground, Fountain House, and Times Square Alliance.
The Community Navigator will be tasked with engaging community members frequenting the Times Square area, building trusting relationships with those individuals, and facilitating linkages to social services and other opportunities in the community. Community Navigators conduct daily street outreach in the identified Times Square catchment area where they are expected to engage with community members to address homelessness, substance use, and mental health challenges. Community Navigators are also responsible for re-connecting with clients, maintaining appropriate case note documentation, and performing follow-up tasks in office as necessary. This position requires Community Navigators to perform responsibilities in the community and from Midtown Community Court full time.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Perform community outreach in the Times Square area and broader Midtown community;
- Identify and build relationships with individuals who are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, substance use disorders, mental health crises, or in need of other supportive services in the Times Square area;
- Work with a diverse population in a mutually respectful manner, using a strengths-based and client-centered approach;
- Maintain an unconditional positive regard for clients while supporting their agency and autonomy in determining their treatment and/or personal needs;
- Develop and maintain working knowledge of local resources for health and wellness as well as public benefits;
- Develop and maintain relationships with local businesses that can provide additional support (e.g., employment opportunities, access to bathrooms, access to free food and supplies);
- Provide clients with support and linkages to programs and opportunities in the community (e.g., benefits, job programs, health, housing, and treatment services);
- Travel with clients to appointments and/or crisis services;
- Conduct phone and physical outreach to engage clients in their court appearances and mandates;
- Know how to properly administer Narcan, and train community members how to use harm reduction tools including a Narcan Kit and Fentanyl Test Strips;
- Adhere to policies and procedures of the Community First program and Midtown Community Court;
- Accurately and efficiently document client interactions and assigned tasks, including necessary follow-up for transient caseload of clients;
- Contribute to data collection, documenting case management efforts, and adding to the monthly report due to stakeholders;
- Communicate effectively, and in a timely manner, with Midtown staff to provide client updates;
- Attend weekly supervision, trainings, and staff meetings, and keep supervisor informed of all work-related activities;
- Participate in community engagement projects, meetings, and events, including during evenings and weekends, as needed;
- Support Midtown Community Court initiatives more broadly, as needed;
- Perform additional relevant tasks, as needed.
Qualifications: The ideal candidate will have at least a high school diploma and 2 years of relevant experience. Case management and outreach experience a plus. Certified Recovery Peer Advocate (CRPA) or Recovery Coach certificate a plus. Candidates must have experience working with a diverse population, including individuals with a history of substance abuse and/or mental illness, using a strengths-based, trauma-informed, and client-centered approach. Bilingual (English-Spanish) preferred. Additional qualifications include:
- Individuals who are formerly incarcerated, live with a mental health diagnosis, have experienced housing insecurity, and/or have experience with substance use treatment and recovery are particularly invited to apply;
- Use lived experience to connect with clients and support them in their goals;
- Able to walk 30 blocks or more on a daily basis in all weather conditions;
- Knowledge of community-based resources throughout New York City, especially Midtown Manhattan;
- Knowledge of the principles and practices of harm reduction;
- Ability to motivate clients in a courteous, empathic, and professional manner;
- Strong work ethic, particularly in a team setting; Commitment to working as part of a collaborative team to ensure coordination of care for participants;
- Strong communication skills to convey information clearly, accurately, and completely;
- Ability to maintain professional demeanor when handling difficult contacts;
- Willingness to attend community events and other commitments during non-traditional work hours on a monthly basis as hosted by Midtown Community Court and its partners;
- Experience using Microsoft Office programs, such as Microsoft Outlook (for regular e-mail correspondence); Slack (for team communication); and Google Suite (forms and documents).
- Commitment to creating, promoting, and maintaining a respectful, inclusive, and anti-racist work environment.
Position Type: Full-time, temporary. Funding secured through June 2023 with possibility of extension.
Compensation: Hourly rate starts at $24.73 (equivalent of $45,000 annually) and is commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package including comprehensive health, dental and life insurance, four weeks paid vacation, paid sick time, TransitChek, Flexible Spending Account plans for health and dependent care, a 403(b) retirement plan and a 401(k) retirement plan with a generous employer match.
The Center for Court Innovation is an equal opportunity employer. The Center does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, national origin, age, military service eligibility, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, or any other category protected by law. We strongly encourage and seek applications from women, people of color, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities as well as individuals with prior contact with the criminal justice system.
As of September 9, 2021, all new hires are required to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, unless they have been granted a reasonable accommodation for medical, disability or religious reasons by the Center’s Human Resources Department.
In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete an employment eligibility verification document form upon hire. Only applicants under consideration will be contacted. No phone calls please.