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Tale of Three Cities: Drugs, Courts, and Community Justice

NCJ Number
Aubrey Fox
Date Published
December 2010
12 pages
This report highlights three innovative community courts inspired by the drug court model: the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn, the Orange County Community Court in California, and the Bronx Community Solutions in the Bronx's (New York).
Inspired by drug courts, the three innovative programs profiled below are all tackling the problem of drug addiction. Supervising individuals mandated to long-term interventions, whether drug treatment, mental health counseling, or something else, the Red Hook Community Justice Center operates much like a drug court. Red Hook utilizes ongoing judicial monitoring, information-sharing, frequent drug testing, and a combination of sanctions and incentives, all key principles of drug courts. The Orange County Community Court provides a good example of how a community court can complement local drug courts. The community court, located a short distance from the County's centralized courthouse, enrolls participants through mandates or on a walk-in basis. The Community Court seek to link individuals to services pre-arrest. The Bronx Community Solutions is an initiative that seeks to apply lessons from New York's community courts to a busy centralized courthouse. The goal is to provide judges with increased sentencing options for nonviolent offenses such as drug possession, prostitution, and shoplifting. In addition, the Bronx Community Solutions has introduced new sentencing options for judges seeking to address the problem of addiction among low-level misdemeanor offenders. Community courts owe a great debt to drug courts, which have provided model practices, political support, and an example of criminal justice innovation that works. Community courts can be another means of effectively connecting low-level drug offenders to social services. Community courts offer an intervention that can reach a large segment of the drug abusing population while allowing communities to tailor their responses to the specific needs of their localities. 18 endnotes