Community courts have become very popular over the last decade. They now include specialized courts for domestic violence, mental health cases, veterans, and drug courts, among others. Pick one of these types of specialized courts, do some research and describe its function and then compare that court to the same kind of specialty court in a second jurisdiction. Describe the similarities and differences.
One good source for these courts is to look at www.ncjrs.gov. The National Center for State Courts is an excellent source to learn about specialty courts: http://www.ncsc.org. One very interesting site for further research in this area is the Center for Court Innovation which has a Website at: http://www.courtinnovation.org. This site details the concepts of problem-solving courts.
Begin by selecting one jurisdiction's problem-solving court to research. It can be in any state, in any county or city, although by choosing a larger jurisdiction, you might increase your chances of finding more research or information about the court
ANSWER THE FOLLOWING:
1. Give a general overview of the purposes and background of the development of problem-solving courts. Why has the court system moved to provide specialty courts? What is the history of these type of courts? Where were they developed and how?
2. Provide the background of the first problem-solving court you chose to research. What type of specialty court is it? When was the Court established? What is the Court's goal? Who does it serve? How many cases has it heard since its inception? Most of these courts are (at least initially) grant-funded, so they must report statistics to their local, state or national funder. Identify any research or statistics you found that show the court's successes/failures. Is it still in existence today? How has it evolved since its establishment?
3. Now find and compare the same kind of court in a different jurisdiction and answer the same questions asked in #2 above.
4. Based upon your research, do you think these courts are helpful to reduce crime in the community? Is there any follow-up research to that effect? Explain why or why not, giving a justification for your answer (more than just your opinion).
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