Community courts are neighborhood-focused courts that attempt to harness the power of the justice system to address local problems. They strive to engage outside stakeholders such as residents, merchants, churches, and schools in new ways in an effort to bolster public trust in justice. And they test new approaches to reduce both crime and incarceration. The first community court in the country was the Midtown Community Court, launched in 1993 in New York City. Several dozen community courts, inspired by the Midtown model, are in operation or planning around the country; click here for a list of active courts. International interest in community courts includes courts in Canada, Australia, South Africa, and Singapore.
To get help planning, implementing, or evaluating a community court, click here.
In The News
- The Christian Science Monitor spotlights how community courts can help decrease the use of incarceration.
- An article from Pacific Standard discusses how community courts across the country, like the San Francisco Community Justice Center, are fighting judicial backlog and lowering re-arrest rates.
- Over 250 people attend the 20th anniversary celebration for the nation's first community court.
- The Detroit Free Press covers the launch of a new community court in southwest Detroit, the first of its kind in Michigan.
- The Portland Tribune writes about the community court housed at Bud Clark Commons, a homeless facility in Multnomah County.
- The Midtown Community Court starts a Veterans Initiative.
- Russell F. Canan, of the Superior Court of Washington D.C., participates in a "Google Chat" with Sheriff Alistair Duff of Scotland about community justice.
- Associated Press writes about community courts.
- Seattle Community Court launches veterans treatment court.
- The White House's National Drug Control Strategy endorses community courts.
- "Broken Windows" author on the role community courts play in reducing crime.
- USA Today on the growth of community courts.