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The Justice Department has posted the speech that Mary Lou Leary, the principal deputy assistant attorney general, made at our community court conference in Dallas earlier this week. Among other things, she says: "Evidence shows that community courts simultaneously help to reduce crime, streamline the justice process, change sentencing practices, solve individual problems, and increase public trust in the justice system."

As an added bonus for public speaking buffs, here is a link to a recent speech by Nick Herbert, a justice minister in England, who recently spoke about sentencing issues in London. Herbert reference a recent visit to our QUEST program in Queens:

A few weeks ago in New York I went to a tough neighbourhood in Queens to see an innovative project which is offering courts an alternative to detention for young offenders. Run by the Center for Court Innovation from a church hall, an impressive team of professionals supervise and guide the juveniles, with rigorous after school courses (including sport) and checks to enforce their curfew. To date 84 per cent of participating youths have complied with court requirements, remain arrest free and have successfully completed the programme. Now the Center is also developing simultaneous mental health treatment to address the needs of young offenders while they are on the programme. I do not believe that rigorous sentences like these are soft options. I think they are smart options, giving courts a better choice of disposals. Where young offenders are turned away from committing new crimes, the public has been made safer. I heard no voices in New York calling for this programme to be scrapped.

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