Benches and the Practice
Our constituents often go from sitting on neighborhood benches to facing judgment from a court bench. Both have potentially dire consequences, from incarceration to death. In our practice, NB helps to draw a line between both of these benches, and points to the impact of violence and incarceration to communities through the micro, mezzo and macro level lenses. It is important for NB to explain how certain communities associate benches with the benefit of mental and physical health, and how it is used for combating loneliness and isolation. Outside of that benefit, benches are a part of the judicial system or gathering of the street life.
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the State. The judiciary can also be thought of as the mechanism for the resolution of disputes.
The neighborhood benches are a place to gather and discuss issues and problems; the streetlife and/or street codes. Some gatherings are also thought of as the mechanism for the resolution of disputes.
Benches are a position of power and delivers a message of belonging to the larger community. However, if conducted properly in both places, it can be a place of peace and evolution. Therefore, we’ve pushed to change the systems in both places, the neighborhood (“hood”) and the judicial system with initiatives to start a conversation, generate thoughts, teach leadership, shift policy and improve opportunities for young people.
A key aim of Neighborhood Benches Initiatives is to reduce early exposure to violence and incarceration whenever possible and to utilize appropriate neighborhood interventions to mitigate the impact of the two.