Problem-solving justice seeks to go beyond processing cases to solve the problems that bring people to court.
Problem-solving justice traces its roots to community and problem-oriented policing, which encouraged officers to identify patterns of crime, address the underlying conditions that fuel crime, and actively engage the community. Today, thousands of problem-solving courts are testing new approaches to difficult cases where social, human, and legal problems intersect. For example, community courts work with citizens to address local problems through individualized services and community restitution; drug and mental health courts seek to return those with substance use and mental disorders to society as productive citizens; and domestic violence courts emphasize accountability and victim safety.
The Red Hook Community Justice Center has become an international model of justice reform by implementing innovative strategies that have reduced the use of jail, lowered recidivism and strengthened public confidence in justice.
This study of the Harlem Parole Reentry Court compares participants in a neighborhood-based reentry program to similar parolees on traditional parole. Results indicate that the reentry court, which implemented a validated and reliable tool for assessing the risks and needs of individuals returning from prison, produced a 22% reduction in the reconviction rate and a 60% reduction in the felony reconviction rate over an 18-month follow-up period.