Welcome to Seattle Community Court
Seattle Community Court serves "chronic public system users" and offenders who commit low-level crimes, fail to comply with sanctions, fail to appear for Court, and use jail days when they could more effectively be rehabilitated through alternative strategies.
A Collaborative Effort
As a collaborative effort of the Seattle Municipal Court, Seattle City Attorney's Office and the Associated Counsel for the Accused Division - Department of Public Defense (DPD), Community Court takes a different approach to the chronic social, human and legal problems that are resistant to conventional solutions.
Eligible defendants that "opt in" to the program are assigned community service hours at neighborhood-based sites. They are assessed for basic needs and referred to specific social services that help with homelessness, unemployment, education, mental health, and chemical dependency.
Defendants who commit these crimes are frequently homeless individuals with severe problems such as drug or alcohol addiction and mental illness, which often drive their criminal behavior. Our traditional criminal justice model does not and cannot address these issues. Relying on jail as the sole sanction does not address the underlying problems that may be driving recidivism by this population.
The problem-solving approach of community courts recognizes that individuals, as well as communities, can be victims of crime.
Therapeutic and restorative justice models have proven effective at reducing incident rates in other cities around the country.
Community Court combines sanctions with immediate referral to comprehensive services.
"It's given me the opportunity to take a different avenue and utilize services I may not have otherwise had access to. Everyone was very nice & (we were) treated fair." - Community Court Participant