Driven. Innovative. Inspiring. These are a few of the words used to describe Judge Victoria Pratt who has gained national and international acclaim for her commitment to reforming the criminal justice system. During her tenure as the Chief Judge in Newark Municipal Court in Newark, New Jersey, she spent years gaining a deep understanding of how justice could be delivered to court participants in a manner that increased their trust in the legal system and changed their behavior. While presiding over Newark Community Solutions, the Community Court Program, she used creative problem solving to provide alternatives to jail to low-level offenders. These alternatives included community service, individual and group counseling sessions, and her signature assignment of introspective essays. Called a pioneer in procedural justice, her respectful approach, and treating individuals with dignity has had a positive effect on court participants’ court experience, how the community viewed the court and how court players viewed their roles. Her TED Talk, How Judges Can Show Respect, has gone viral. It has been translated into 11 languages, received over one million views and the Facebook clip has received an astounding 21 million views.
A fierce advocate committed to reform, Pratt has worked with jurisdictions across the nation, and as far as Ukraine, England, Trinidad and Tobago, and Mexico. In that role she facilitates workshops and presentations on alternative sentencing for juveniles and adults, as well as procedural justice.
As a nationally recognized expert in procedural justice and alternative sentencing, Judge Pratt has been asked by numerous professional organizations to share her story and philosophy. Pratt’s work has been featured in The Guardian newspaper, The Simple Idea that Could Transform U.S. Criminal Justice, and Rutgers Magazine, Asking for a Little Respect, both written by Pulitzer prize winning author Tina Rosenberg. She has also appeared on MSNBC’s the Melissa Harris Perry Show, the Emmy-award winning PBS show Due Process- Community Court: A Kinder, Gentler Way? and National Public Radio’s WBGO: Conversations with Allan Wolper.
Now, a Professor at Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey, she teaches Problem Solving Justice and Restorative Justice. She also continues to champion criminal justice reform through her consulting firm Pratt Lucien Consultants, LLC, by sharing her skills and approach with others. As well as speaking to leaders of institutions and organizations about how to heighten and restore respect into their day-to-day operations so that their mission can be better achieved.
Pratt is licensed to practice law in both New Jersey and New York, and is admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court. She also facilitates Mountain Movers empowerment sessions to help individuals live their best lives.