A community court is an alternative, problem-solving court. It differs from traditional court in that it seeks to identify and address the underlying challenges of court participants that may contribute to further criminal activity. Its goal is to build stronger and safer neighborhoods and reduce recidivism.
Community courts provide services and accountability for those who are eligible and choose to participate. An assessment is conducted for all community court participants to identify their challenges and strengths. The assessment provides information to help determine what follow-up steps an individual community court participant will be required to take. Among other actions, participants often are required to perform community service.
Community court increases collaboration between the criminal justice system and other systems, including mental health, substance use disorder, human services, housing, employment and education.
King County community courts are a collaborative effort between King County District Court, local cities, service providers and other public agencies.
Community court participants must not have any violent felony convictions in the last five years; any pending violent felony charges; or a sex offender history.
The specific charges heard at each community court vary by city. Examples of these misdemeanor charges include urinating in public, sleeping in a park, theft, trespass, or disorderly conduct. Driving-related cases currently are not eligible.
Role of community resource centers
A community resource center is an integral component of community court. The resource center at each community court includes on-site community partners that provide a wide array of services, such as healthcare/insurance, education, job training, behavioral health, substance use disorder help and more. By coming together in one place, many different community service agencies are better able to collaborate.
The community resource centers are open to court participants and the public. You do not have to be involved with community court to use the services.
Refer to our community resource centers page for details.