Community Engagement

Advancing Community Conversations

Engaging in productive community conversations is key to obtaining a greater understanding of diverse perspectives and lived experiences. Courts across the country are working in their local communities to effectively meet the needs of the populations they serve.

Community Engagement Talking Points and Tips

This document provides an overview, talking points, and tips to help courts increase and promote community engagement through relationship-building activities with community members.

Participatory Research on Access to Justice

Across the country, the legal needs of residents have been exacerbated since the COVID-19 pandemic. Civil, family, criminal, and other issues can be intertwined and impact both individual and community well-being. These legal needs are experienced most acutely by people of color who reside in historically under-resourced neighborhoods. Yet, it is often difficult to engage these residents to understand their perspectives on access to justice issues and racial equity in the courts.

With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, NCSC has established a participatory research program to identify and meet the needs of the communities most impacted by legal issues and involvement in the courts.

Watch, Read, Listen

The National Center for State Courts' Racial Justice Blueprint Initiative has designed the Watch, Read, Listen effort to promote informal conversations about racial justice among you and your court colleagues nationwide.  Throughout the year, we will recommend a book, show, or podcast that addresses topical issues. When available, each suggested work will be accessible through various media to accommodate learning preferences and busy schedules!

ENGAGE! Toolkit

This toolkit was developed through a collaboration between the National Center for State Courts, University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, researchers from Michigan State University and six "pilot" teams.

2022 webinars

April 13, 2022

Cost & fines: How a community conversation changed lives in the Ocean State

This session demonstrates how the power of strong community partnerships and “off the bench” direct engagement can drive reform, bridge the trust gap between judicial officers and court users and change lives. The session also highlights Rhode Island’s unprecedented “Cost & Fines” statewide initiative, lessons learned from the pilot program and practical tools and resources that participants can use to launch a similar program in their respective state or jurisdictions.

February 24, 2022

Courageous conversations: Who? What? How?

In this webinar, Missouri attorney and diversity trainer Dana Tippin Cutler covers timely topics including micro-aggressions, trigger words and implicit bias. She also shares important tips on how to avoid missteps and discusses ways to make diversity, equity and inclusion a way of life.