Initial Activities

The efforts of the public engagement pilot projects were part of a larger Community Engagement in the State Courts Initiative and built upon other community engagement work by the National Center for State Courts. Here you can read background information, including reports about some of the activities that were conducted prior to launching the public engagement pilots and which informed those efforts.

Community Engagement in the State Courts Initiative Newsletters

Court Outreach to Minority Communities (Rottman)

Engaging Communities in the State Courts (Hamm)

The Fascination of Wisdom (Baltes, Smith)

On the Cross-Domain Scholarship of Trust (Hamm, Lee, Wingroe, Leben, Breuer)

Policymakers' Perception of Benefits (University of Nebraska Public Policy Center)

Public Engagement for Informing Policy (PytlikZillig, Tomkins)

Pilot Project Reports

Each of the pilot projects documented their activities and then used a common set of evaluation questions to gauge the reach, activities, and impact of their engagements. You can view the full reports here. The report appendices provide a rich set of tools and exemplars of engagement activities.

Franklin County, Ohio

Kansas City, Missouri



Puerto Rico



After a highly successful nationally televised Listening Tour during which judges engaged with the public in audience-interactive town halls on critical social justice issues, followed by more personalized conversations at the local level, the Community Engagement in the State Courts Initiative (Initiative) launched a series of webinars. Inaugurated by the Conference of Chief Justices and the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts, the Initiative seeks to engage minority and economically disadvantaged communities in dialogue with state and local courts.

We invite you to join us on this voyage as we learn together how we can better navigate the waters of justice for all.

Community Engagement, Trust and Confidence: Engaging, Listening and Improving Justice for All Pt. 1

During the first episode, moderated by Dr. Alan J. Tomkins, you met several distinguished social scientists of the National Science Foundation who helped lay the foundation for our series. We began with Dr. Arthur Lupia, who explored how the courts can successfully build trust with the community in an age of information overload, when millions of entities are vying to capture our attention. He offered practical advice on how to communicate more effectively with a diverse set of audiences. Then Dr. Kellina M. Craig-Henderson, a social psychologist who has published studies on intergroup relationships, bias, and discrimination, discussed the societal challenges courts are currently confronting. She also explored some potential solutions in handling day-to-day challenges that our institutions of justice will continue to face long after the protests have died down.

Community Engagement, Trust and Confidence: Engaging, Listening and Improving Justice for All Pt. 2

The second episode, moderated by District of Columbia Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby,  introduced several of the Community Engagement pilot sites whose participants discussed their experiences in planning and convening engagements with court users and stakeholders in minority communities, including young adults and Native Americans. The speakers showcased how their teams worked both individually and collaboratively to engage the public while also advancing understanding of how courts can best overcome social inequities and bias and build trust. They were joined by social scientists from the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center and the Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice, who engaged in a lively discussion about the science of public participation and its implications for more meaningful community engagement. The panelists also discussed the multiple types of participation used in the six Community Engagement Pilot projects and the findings emerging from those engagements.

Materials from July 6 and July 14, 2022 Webinars

Presentation Slides for July 6 Webinar (Kellina M. Craig-Henderson)

Presentation Slides for July 6 Webinar (Arthur Lupia)

Presentation Slides from July 14 Webinar (All Presenters)