» Community Courts Take a Progressive Approach to Criminal Justice

Community Courts Take a Progressive Approach to Criminal Justice

Lakeland, FL (Law Firm Newswire) October 26, 2012 - A relatively new form of criminal justice is taking hold in the United States.

Approximately 40 “community courts” around the country are handling mostly low-level crimes in a way that shows a more humane, pragmatic approach to the problem of meting out justice for marginal transgressions.

“These community courts are a welcome reform to the criminal justice process” said Polk County criminal defense attorney Thomas Grajek. “Low-level offenders should be helped and encouraged to clean up their act without being thrown in jail.”

Officials at the U.S. Department of Justice say community courts enhance public safety by focusing on low-profile crimes that nevertheless affect the public's quality of life. They say the courts, in addition to rehabilitative courts with a similar mandate, take a pragmatic focus on outcomes.

Community courts are intended to make the handling of petty criminals quicker and more cost-effective, while improving life in specific communities. They also sometimes show a creative approach to letting the punishment fit, and even rectify, the crime. Defendants may be sentenced to community service in the neighborhoods in which they committed a crime. Graffiti artists repaint walls and buildings they have vandalized. Shoplifters may help hand out clothes to the needy.

A community court in San Francisco has helped relieve the stifling caseload jamming traditional courtrooms while maintaining an impressively efficient judicial process. Defendants' court dates average just seven days after their arrest or citation, compared with 45 days for nearby traditional courts. A police captain whose district is served by that court said his officers are better able to focus on more serious crime because the court's focus on getting defendants into social services leaves them less likely to re-offend than if they had received a jail sentence.

Social workers are often on-site at community courts to connect defendants to government services, nonprofits, and therapy groups. Defendants are expected to stick to their assigned treatment plans or risk getting put back in the traditional court system, where jail time is a much more likely outcome.

Thomas C. Grajek
206 Easton Drive, Suite 102
Lakeland, FL 33803
Phone: 863.688.4606

View Larger Map

  • Meth Makes Millions
    <p>It is no surprise that making the illegal drug methamphetamine (aka meth), a drug known by at least 45 different names, makes some individuals and groups very rich. It is a multi-billion dollar business that maims, kills and takes no prisoners. The chalky white powder looks deceivingly innocent. It is a bitter-tasting powder with no … <a href="http://www.flcrimedefense.com/2015/09/meth-makes-millions/" class="more-link">Continue reading <span class="screen-reader-text">Meth Makes Millions</span> <span class="meta-nav">→</span></a></p>
    <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.flcrimedefense.com/2015/09/meth-makes-millions/">Meth Makes Millions</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.flcrimedefense.com"></a>.</p>
  • Criminal Defenses May Include Renunciation
    <p>A good criminal defense attorney has an arsenal of defenses he or she may call upon to assist a client. One of those defenses may be renunciation. To be found not guilty as pled according to the defense of renunciation means a defendant is not considered to be guilty of an offense or is not … <a href="http://www.flcrimedefense.com/2015/09/criminal-defenses-may-include-renunciation/" class="more-link">Continue reading <span class="screen-reader-text">Criminal Defenses May Include Renunciation</span> <span class="meta-nav">→</span></a></p>
    <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.flcrimedefense.com/2015/09/criminal-defenses-may-include-renunciation/">Criminal Defenses May Include Renunciation</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.flcrimedefense.com"></a>.</p>
  • Hosting a Party? Be Careful How Much Alcohol is Served
    <p>Serving alcohol at a party comes with a great deal of responsibility. Many hosts do not realize they may face legal consequences if a guest drives while inebriated and injures or kills someone, or if any guest is under the legal drinking age of 21. If you are going to throw a party for whatever … <a href="http://www.flcrimedefense.com/2015/09/hosting-a-party-be-careful-how-much-alcohol-is-served/" class="more-link">Continue reading <span class="screen-reader-text">Hosting a Party? Be Careful How Much Alcohol is Served</span> <span class="meta-nav">→</span></a></p>
    <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.flcrimedefense.com/2015/09/hosting-a-party-be-careful-how-much-alcohol-is-served/">Hosting a Party? Be Careful How Much Alcohol is Served</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.flcrimedefense.com"></a>.</p>

See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: , , , , ,

Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required