Mark Hilliard, writing in the Irish Times, explains the many prospective benefits of establishing a community court in Irish cities.
Attention has turned to the topic recently due to the Dublin City Business Association's upcoming seminar on January 29th - 'Community Courts: 'A Cost Effective Solution for Managing Street Crime'. The community court concept first began in the early 1990s in Midtown, Manhattan, and helped to dramatically reduce recidivism in the previously 'no-go' areas around Times Square.
A Community Court is a problem-solving court which focuses on minor 'quality-of-life crimes' including graffiti, shop-lifting and vandalism. The court becomes a focus-point where services are available for offenders, victims and locals alike, such as drug-rehabilitation and educational programmes. The judge in a community court directs the offender towards services such as those for drug addiction, or community service, instead of immediate incarceration. This method of community-based justice has been shown to dramatically reduce recidivism and improve the lives of people who live in crime-affected areas.
Dublin City Business Association, 'Dispensing Justice Locally'