Red Hook comes to the Downtown East Side

6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Red Hook comes to the Downtown East Side



This is possibly the best news I have seen in Canada for a long, long time.

It's all over the Province newspaper today, well pages 8 and 9, if anyone wishes to link to it.


Actually there is a picture of Thomas Grove on the cover as well, so it really is all over the Province.

Go Judge Gove!!!


Thanks jester - you are a helpful fella!

There is no question that Gove is not your typical judge. I think this can work. As a matter of fact I think it is poosibly the only thing that can work. Good on him and all the others involved in this such as that crim prof.


Each day, Judge Thomas Gove drives along East Hastings Street, where the battered lives of strung-out drug addicts, desperate prostitutes and drunken men exist in plain view.

Of course, the judge doesn't have to take this route to work.

"I could avoid going through the area," he says. "But I don't, because it's important to remind myself that this is a problem happening right on the streets -- and we've got to do something about it."

Somehow, after 35 years of practising law, 18 years as a judge and countless second chances wasted on criminals who could never quite turn it around, Gove still has it in him to try to fix the problem known as the Downtown Eastside.

At the age of 61, the Vancouver provincial court judge is hoping B.C. has finally tapped into a lasting solution: Canada's first community court.

The Downtown Community Court in Vancouver is set to open Sept. 10.

Its goal is to end the revolving door of chronic offenders driven by poverty, drug addiction and mental illness.

Unlike traditional courts, this is less about punishment and more about problem-solving. Community courts take the view that crime is the result of individual choices and social conditions.

[ 31 August 2008: Message edited by: NorthReport ]


This is so refreshing.


After two years of planning and a summer of renovation, Gove is eager to start work at the new court, housed in the old remand centre at 211 Gore Ave.

Gove and provincial court Judge David Pendleton will be the two sitting judges, and they're expected to process about 1,500 cases a year.

The community court is modelled on the Red Hook Community Justice Centre in New York.

[b]Gove went to see it for himself and was astonished at how, when the small crimes were dealt with, the big crimes went away.

In 1992, Red Hook was described as being one of the 10 worst U.S. communities for crack abuse.

In 2003, just three years after the court opened, Red Hook had no homicides. That had not been seen in more than 30 years, according to the New York Law Journal.[/b]

There is a perception among many, however, that crime in B.C. flourishes because the justice system is too soft.

Gove has not ruled out jail time as a sentencing option, but insists it's not the only answer.

"If you think about it, if a person's been to jail two or three times, it's not a big deal [to go again]. It's an inconvenience -- but it's not a big deal," he notes.

He also rejects the idea that a community sentence is an easy out.

[b]For some, sitting in a cell is easier than dealing with their inner demons. Gove recalls the many times he has sentenced an offender to get treatment -- only to have him plead for jail time instead.[/b]

[b]In those cases, Gove has often said, "You may have given up on yourself, but I haven't.[/b]"

[ 31 August 2008: Message edited by: NorthReport ]