Queens DA creates new bureau to enhance restorative justice programs

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz accepted the resignation of Homicide Bureau Chief Brad Leventhal on Monday, March 29, 2021. (Photo by Mark Hallum)

Seeking to safeguard efforts to ensure that justice is administered equitably and with compassion, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced the creation of a new bureau to enhance and expand restorative justice programs and units within the DA’s office.

Katz appointed Aisha Greene to lead the new unit. Greene had previously served with DA offices in the Bronx and Brooklyn.

“The Rehabilitation Programs and Restorative Services Bureau is a fulfillment of my promise to ensure the QueensDistrict Attorney’s Office administers justice with compassion,” Katz said. “Aisha Greene’s experience as a prosecutor and proven record in implementing and leading intervention programs make her an ideal choice to guide this new bureau.”

The new bureau consists of the Diversion and Alternative Sentencing Unit and the Crime Victims Advocate Program which are dedicated to ensuring that individuals who have been arrested are offered opportunities for appropriate interventions and/or rehabilitation services. The unit offers pre- and post-arraignment diversion opportunities to individuals arrested for low-level offenses.

The diversion opportunities provide one-time or short term interventions that typically result in cases being sealed upon successful completion, Additionally, within the unit, the Second Chance Community Justice Program is a diversion program where community members and leaders hear cases referred to them and offer low-level offenders the opportunity to repair and restore their relationships with their communities.

Part of the newly formed bureau is the Crime victims Advocate Program, which continues to provide support to crime victims, including counseling services, assistance navigating the court system and obtaining reimbursement for crime-related expenses, and referrals to a wide number of other services. The program provides an environment that empowers crime victims to actively seek justice for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Prior to leading the new bureau, Greene was the Chief of the Alternatives to Incarceration Bureau at the Bronx DA’s office. She was previously Director of Brooklyn Justice Initiatives and Associate Director of Research-Practice Strategies at the Center for Court Innovation.

Greene was the principal court attorney to a New York State Supreme Court Justice in the Integrated Domestic Violence part in Queens County and a felony trial part in Brooklyn. She started her career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Domestic Violence, Appeals and Narcotics Trials Bureau of the Queens District Attorney’s office.

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