Lorri Montgomery
Director of Communications
National Center for State Courts

NCSC new publication evaluates security in state courts

Williamsburg, VA (January 23, 2014) The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) recently published “Status of Court Security in State Courts – A National Perspective,” a comprehensive report about how state courts are meeting the challenge of providing security in our nation’s court building. The publication, funded by a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, is available on the NCSC’s website at www.ncsc.org.

In developing the Status of Court Security, the NCSC reviewed and analyzed information gathered from more than 225 security assessments conducted in recent years. The assessments include what security policies, procedures, staffing, equipment, and training courts currently have – and what is lacking. The report also includes a comprehensive analysis of the information and data gathered by the Center for Judicial and Executive Security (CJES), which examined court shootings, bombings, arson attacks, and other court-targeted acts of violence from 1970 to 2012.  In addition, the report includes national data collected from the Internet and phone surveys of court and law-enforcement officials.

The findings in Status of Court Security demonstrate there is a critical need to improve security in state and local court buildings nationwide. Recommendations include: 1.) acknowledging that doing nothing is not an option; (2) understanding that local, state, regional, and national communication and collaboration are key for success; (3) providing additional funding to improve staffing and equipment is essential; and (4) coordinating and supporting state court security programs is a definite need that must be answered.

The report is a valuable addition to the growing list of NCSC publications on court-building security, including: 1) Steps to Best Practices for Court Building Security; 2) Guidelines for Implementing Best Practices in Court Building Security – Costs, Priorities, Funding Strategies, and Accountability; 3) CCJ/COSCA Court Security Handbook – Ten Essential Elements for Court Security and Emergency Preparedness; and finally 4) Courthouse Violence in 2010-2012 – Lessons Learned. All of these publications are available on the NCSC’s website.

The primary author of the Status of Court Security is Timothy F. Fautsko, Principal NCSC Court Management Consultant.  Steve Berson, NCSC security consultant, and Steve Swensen, Director of CJES, also contributed to the report. For more information, contact Timm Fautsko at 303-308-4315 or tfautsko@ncsc.org.

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit court reform organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation’s state courts.


National Center for State Courts, 300 Newport Avenue, Williamsburg, VA  23185-4147