Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,000,000)
Justice Innovation, Inc. doing business as the Center for Court Innovation, through its Staten Island Justice Center, proposes to implement the Justice Scholars Network under Category 2 of the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s STOP School Violence Grant Program. The proposed project aims to build the capacity of the Eagle Academy for Young Men of Staten Island to prevent and reduce school violence through the Justice Scholars Network.
To this end, the Staten Island Justice Center will work to enhance the social, emotional, and problem-solving skills of school personnel and youth, address the root causes of negative behaviors within the learning community, and help connect youth to appropriate resources. The Justice Scholars Network initiative will comprise two main components: 1) training staff in violence prevention; Youth Court, peer mediation, and restorative justice circle models; and motivational interviewing in order to increase their capacity to support youth leaders, enhance their SEL skills, and learn evidence-based strategies to respond to and prevent youth violence; and 2) training youth in the same areas, but though a youth-lens and with a special emphasis on peer mediation, to empower them as peer leaders via Youth Court and peer mediation. Upon the completion of their training, youth leaders will take on various roles and responsibilities such as key members of the Youth Court, peer mediators, and/or co-facilitators during social-emotional training and restorative justice healing circles. This program will equip youth participants with the skills to resolve their conflicts, understand underlying issues behind their actions, and explore accountability.
With the aim to reduce school-based violence by 25%, the proposed project will provide training to five staff over the three-year period and 20 youth leaders per year over the three-year period. It will also engage 50 youth per year in need of conflict mediation and/or violence intervention services. Through this initiative, 80% of participating youth will enhance their SEL skills; 80% of youth who complete the program will develop strategies for supporting non-violent forms of communication and conflict resolution; 75% of youth will identify a positive support system; and 100% of participating school staff will enhance their capacity to respond to conflict and prevent violence through training.