Elise White

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service

Not Pictured

Elise White is a principal research associate at the Center for Court Innovation, where her work focuses on justice issues related to youth, sex work and human trafficking, alternatives to incarceration, and gender and sexuality. She is currently principal investigator on a federally-funded, multi-site, multi-phase study of risks, needs, and targeted interventions across misdemeanor populations; co-PI on a federally-funded mixed-method study of the characteristics, needs, and trafficking rates of adults who exchange sex for money in New York City; and senior researcher on a comprehensive study examining the impacts of school safety and positive climate and culture in New York City public schools on a range of school safety outcomes, for which she is responsible for the design and analysis of all qualitative research. She was also the primary researcher and author for a mapping of the NYC bail payment process.  Prior to this position, she served as deputy director at the Midtown Community Court, where she directed the court’s clinical operations, as well as its research and strategic planning projects; and as the director of youth and community justice at the Red Hook Community Justice Center, where she oversaw court, clinical, and program operations for youth 21 and under, planning projects and new initiatives for young people and the community at large. She holds a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. 

Fighting crime has historically been associated with police, prosecutors, jails and prisons.  But more recently a different understanding has emerged in cities across the country that crime reduction goes well beyond the province of traditional criminal justice agencies.  Instead this approach develops and deploys an array of strategies and partners to identify the drivers of crime and to reach durable solutions that shift the role of guardians of the peace from police to neighborhoods.  This course will look at both the social context of this new approach, including the rise of cynicism about police and government and the possible solutions, such as how the architecture of particular buildings and whole neighborhoods, neighborhood cohesion and concepts of legitimacy can change the crime picture.  The course will use New York City as a touchstone and lab and will draw on national and international examples for context.

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The Juvenile Justice system in New York and most major cities in the U.S. pose a host of complex questions and challenges for practitioners, policy makers and advocates alike. A sprawling, complex web of state and local agencies charged with tasks as varied as diversion, mental health care, social service provision, family intervention, secure detention and incarceration and community reentry. In recent years, juvenile justice system practitioners and policymakers have increasingly acknowledged that overly punitive responses to juvenile crime and delinquency are costly, do little to increase public safety, and, worse, are ineffective rehabilitation strategies that often put youth on paths to life-long involvement in the criminal justice system. This course examines a wide range of juvenile justice issues and solutions, and their impact on youth and families, with a particular focus on the New York City juvenile justice system.

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