Community courts use novel ways to handle low-level crimes, often with therapy instead of jail time
Novel courts handle low-level crimes across the US, often with therapy rather than jail - The Washington Post
Bowls of hard candy rest in front of the judge’s bench, as a reward for the men and women making their weekly court appearances and attending group therapy. Almost daily, the judge awards one standout a $5 grocery store gift card — while the gallery claps and cheers.These scenes have played out thousands of times at the Community Justice Center, a novel, 4-year-old court system in the city’s rough-edged Tenderloin district. It’s one of about 40 community courts around the United States that tackle mostly low-level crimes in troubled neighborhoods using judges — not juries — to send defendants to drug treatment, shelter and social services, instead of handing down fines and time in overcrowded jails.