Community Engagement in the State Courts

Funded by the State Justice Institute, the CCJ/COSCA Community Engagement in the State Court Initiative focuses on listening (Listening Tour), problem identification, and pilot projects (culminating in the production of a toolkit).

The first phase of this project involved conducting public outreach and listening sessions which placed judges into dialogue with the public.  Three Listening Tour events were held in the Summer and Fall of 2016 during the “Courting Justice” program.  They were hosted by Tavis Smiley and broadcast on PBS.

Following the Listening Tour, NCSC issued a survey to a group of court and civic leaders active in efforts to reduce racial and ethnic bias in the state courts. The survey asked respondents to provide input on successful community engagement strategies.

We are working with six courts across the United States to conduct public engagement pilot projects aimed at improving public trust and confidence across minority and economically- disadvantaged communities. Following the pilot phase, NCSC will produce a Toolkit for courts to develop their own engagement strategies based on the findings over the course of the initiative and lessons learned from the pilots.