From the City of Spokane – The mission of the Spokane Municipal Community Court is to build stronger and safer neighborhoods by providing accountability with help for individuals involved in the criminal justice system to reduce and properly address quality-of-life offenses by utilizing a collaborative, problem-solving approach to crime. Community Court endeavors to hold participants accountable, address factors impacting participants’ criminal behavior, provide access to local resources, address victim needs, and increase public confidence in the criminal justice system.
Spokane Community Court strives to achieve these goals by utilizing a problem-solving approach, with a strong emphasis on building collaborative partnerships within the criminal justice system, and among government agencies, social service providers, and community groups. Community Courts recognize that low level, non-violent offenses impact both individuals and the community at large. If not addressed, quality-of-life crimes can erode community order, lead to neighborhood decay, and create an atmosphere where more serious crime can flourish.
The accountability component ensures that community service projects are performed in the neighborhood where the crime occurred. The help/assistance component is also community-driven, as local resources provide wraparound services to address underlying problems and challenges that lead individuals to commit crimes, so as to provide lasting solutions and reduce recidivism.
Community courts also adopt procedural justice and restorative justice standards. Procedural justice research has shown that when defendants and litigants perceive the court process to be fair—exhibiting respect, understanding, neutral decision-making, and helpfulness—they are more likely to comply with court orders and to follow the law in the future, regardless of whether they “win” or “lose” their case.
This is a comprehensive program consisting of various rehabilitative services, such as behavioral health counseling, housing, healthcare, education, employment, etc. that will help improve quality of life for participants, their loved ones, and the society at large. Community courts assist participants in achieving self-sufficiency and becoming responsible members of the community. The community service projects put specific emphasis on environmental improvements and neighborhood revitalization.
Individuals do not need to be involved with the criminal justice system before taking advantage of the resources available at Community Court. Community members wishing to assist are encouraged to serve as mentors, volunteers, and providers of services. We strongly believe that community-driven solutions will help build a better community.