On Wednesday, February 9, Council Member Erik Bottcher wrote to Judge Tamiko Amaker, at the Office of Court Administration, to express his support for the speedy reopening of the Midtown Community Court (MCC) facility, which has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“The closure has kept countless New Yorkers involved in the criminal justice system from the indispensable services that MCC has to offer,” Bottcher wrote. Located in Hell’s Kitchen — part of Bottcher’s City Council district, District 3 — MCC is one of the first “problem-solving courts” in the country. The court was established in 1993 to handle cases of low-level crime, like shoplifting, drug use and prostitution, offering “restorative” alternatives to fines and jail time. The court may mandate engagement in social services including drug treatment, human trafficking services or mental health services.
In his letter, Bottcher made reference to Amaker’s visit to MCC on January 6, during which it was determined that the space could function with social distancing guidelines in place. “I am hopeful that you can assist in expediting the hiring of the staff that is necessary in order to reopen the MCC facility,” Bottcher wrote. His letter comes on the heels of similar efforts from State Senator Brad Hoylman and Community Board 4, according to Bottcher’s team.