CASES mourns the loss this past week of two seminal figures in our history – Herb Sturz and Michael Smith. Herb and Michael were early leaders in the creation of alternatives to incarceration (ATI) programs and advocacy. It is because of their leadership that CASES now exists.
CASES is a Vera Institute of Justice spinoff. CASES’ two foundational programs, the Court Employment Project (CEP) and the Community Service Sentencing Project (CSSP), both started at Vera and were brought together in 1989 to create the CASES many of us have worked to develop into its present reach and strength. The idea for an ATI for young people was developed and the CEP program was created at Vera under Herb Sturz‘s leadership. The idea for a community service program that served individuals with a history of repeat misdemeanors was developed under Michael Smith‘s leadership. Mchael was the director of Vera in 1989 when these two programs became CASES.
CASES today is a much larger organization with a broad spectrum of programs and services serving thousands in the criminal legal system. But CASES today still stands on the scaffold created by those two early programs and the creative influence of Vera’s innovative ideas and approaches to programs and services.
Both Herb and Michael remained good and thoughtful friends of CASES. Wonderful obituaries can be found here:
Michael Smith https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/09/nyregion/michael-smith-dead.html