U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Process Evaluation of the Philadelphia Community Court

NCJ Number
Mary Durkin; Fred Cheesman, Ph.D.; Scott Maggard, Ph.D.; David Rottman, Ph.D.; Tracy Sohoni; Dawn Rubio, Esq.
Date Published
February 2009
177 pages
This process evaluation of the Philadelphia Community Court (PCC) documents the history, structure, and procedures of the PCC and assesses the extent to which it has been implemented in compliance with the planned design and key elements of the community court model and principles of problem solving courts.
The PCC was established to process "quality-of-life" crimes, such as vandalism, prostitution, disorderly conduct, and minor thefts. Its objectives have been to reduce such crimes, develop appropriate community-based and diversionary programs for PCC participants, and prevent recidivism. The evaluation determined that the PCC is clearly an improvement over the previous patterns for processing quality-of-life offenses. Offenders are referred to the PCC immediately upon arrest. Offenders are held accountable for their offenses, however minor, through the imposition of sanctions at the first appearance, including community service, fines, and costs. As warranted, restitution to the victim is part of the sentence. Clients return to the PCC for status hearings so as to monitor completion of sentencing requirements. In addition to court resources, offenders who plead guilty have access to an array of treatment and social services. The Community Service Coordinator works with clients who have special needs, such as mental health, homelessness, and medical problems. The PCC does not use incarceration as a sanction. Recommendations pertain to PCC organization and management, calendaring, courtroom procedures, and judicial assignments. The methodology for the process evaluation included a review of program documentation provided by the PCC; analysis of quantitative data from the PCC's internal database, the Forensic Intensive Recovery System, and the City's Pretrial Arraignment System; and interviews with internal and external stakeholders conducted during site visits in June 2007 and April 2008. 3 tables; 11 figures; 2 references; and appended supplementary data, methodological information, and forms