The Fortune Society recently recognized the Honorable Judith S. Kaye with the David Rothenberg Achievement Award for her accomplishments while serving as New York State’s Chief Judge. The award was presented on New Year’s Eve by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a private ceremony at City Hall.
As the first woman to be named to New York's top court and the first to serve as its Chief Justice, Judge Kaye was a visionary court reformer. During her 15 years as Chief Judge, she established specialized courts, addressing problems like drug addiction, domestic violence, mental illness and homelessness. The courts aimed to reduce recidivism, improve public confidence in justice and prevent crime down the road. Judge Kaye also streamlined the jury duty process, and played a major role in creating the Center for Court Innovation, a think-tank that helps the criminal justice system implement rehabilitative solutions.
“Throughout her 25 years on the bench, Judge Kaye championed the concept that law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and probation officers need to be active partners in reducing recidivism, a message that is parallel to our mission at The Fortune Society. There is no one more deserving of this award than Judge Kaye,” said JoAnne Page, President and CEO of The Fortune Society.
For more than 40 years, The Fortune Society has been developing model programs that help formerly incarcerated men and women successfully re-enter their communities. The Fortune Society offers a holistic and integrated “one-stop-shopping” model of service provision. Among the services offered are supportive housing, career development, job retention, substance abuse treatment, alternatives to incarceration, HIV/AIDS services, education, family services, and drop in services as well as ongoing access to aftercare.
Mayor Bloomberg was originally scheduled to present the award to Judge Kaye at the Fortune Society’s Annual Fall Benefit – an event that raises money to support Fortune’s wide range of programs for formerly incarcerated men and women. The benefit, scheduled for October 29, 2012, was cancelled due to Superstorm Sandy.
Ms. Page thanked the Mayor for his continued support of the Fortune Society and for taking time from his schedule to help Fortune honor Judge Kaye’s legacy.
The David Rothenberg Achievement Award is named in honor of Fortune’s founder. Mr. Rothenberg remains an active volunteer with the organization today. Past recipients of the award include Russell Simmons and Newark Mayor Corey A. Booker.