About Seattle Community Court"A nontraditional approach to address traditional problems"
Seattle's Community Court opened in March 3, 2005, initially addressing low level chronic offenders in the Downtown Core and Pioneer Square neighborhoods. By the end of 2007 it was expanded citywide and now in its 9th year, Community court has partnered with over 25 neighborhood community service sites. As of September 2013, over 7,698 defendants completed 62,199 community service hours helping numerous community organizations restore neighborhoods and serve others in need.
Defendants improve neighborhoods through litter removal and urban green space restoration. They also assemble and distribute hygiene kits for the homeless, and work in food banks and non-profit organizations.
Community Court Program
Offenders who appear in Community Court before the judge are encouraged to seek help. The judge also requires them to make prescribed social service contacts and complete community service hours.
Seattle Municipal Court Probation Counselor Sopkul Chea congratulating a recent participant on her successful completion of the Community Court program.
For more information on community courts and restorative justice:
Community Court Honored By U.S. Department of Justice
Community Court was previously selected as one of three mentor court sites by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. Community Court has served as a role model to other jurisdictions seeking effective ways to combat such crimes as prostitution, public drinking, drug use, vandalism and other low-level crimes that affect the quality of life in city neighborhoods. The non-profit Center for Court Innovation will oversee the Community Court Mentor Site Network, which also includes Dallas and Hartford.
"The mentor courts will serve as a peer network, supporting the Center for Court Innovation in advancing the community court model," said Kim Norris, a senior policy advisor for adjudication at the Bureau of Justice Assistance. "By selecting high-quality programs in various parts of the U.S., we hope to make it easier for interested jurisdictions to make site visits and see a community court at work."