Specialized Courts

Community and Specialized Courts

There is a growing body of research on procedural fairness in the context of specialized courts. In community courts, there are often close links between residents, the court system, the police, and public or non-profit organizations. The presence of procedural fairness in one aspect of a community court may affect the efficacy of others and much of the research on procedural fairness has been within these settings.  Below are some of the publicly-available articles with a focus on community courts and drug courts.

A Specialized Domestic Violence Court in South Carolina: An Example of Procedural Fairness for Victims and Defendants
Angela Grover, Eve Brank, & John MacDonald (2007)
Grover et al. examine a procedural justice explanation for why a South Carolina domestic violence court is effective at enhancing enforcement and improving victim safety. Based on face-to-face interviews with defendants and victims following their court appearances, the authors conclude that both victims and defendants expressed a high rate of satisfaction with the court and felt they were treated with dignity and respect. These results support a procedural justice explanation for the effectiveness of the court.

The Multi-Site Adult Drug Court Evaluation: Volume 4

Executive Summary
Shelli B. Rossman, John K. Roman, Janine M. Zweig, Christine H. Lindquist, Michael Rempel, Janeen Buck Willison, P. Mitchell Downey, & Kristine Fahrney, (2011)
This examination of the study and design of the multi-site adult drug court evaluation details how the study was designed and examines some of the obstacles the study designers needed to overcome in order to achieve their objectives. Both Volume 4 and the Executive Summary should be of primary interest to researchers who are designing a study of drug courts.

The Impact of the Community Court Model on Defendant Perceptions of Fairness: A Case Study at the Red Hook Community Justice Center
M. Somjen FrazerCenter for Court Innovation (2006)
Frazer examined the Red Hook Community Justice Center to determine what effect the Community Justice Center model had on perceptions of procedural fairness in the courtroom. He found that Red Hook was perceived as more fair than a traditional court because its transparent and collaborative atmosphere allowed greater understanding of the court process and the availability of alternative sentencing arrangements allowed greater tailoring of individual defendant's sentences. Additionally, defendant perception of the judge was the most important factor in determining perceptions of procedural fairness, although clear communication from the bench was also essential.

Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Procedural Justice in Scottish Drug Courts
Gill McIvor, 9 Criminology & Criminal Justice 29 (2009)
In this article, McIvor examines the use of therapeutic jurisprudence and procedural justice ideas in Scottish drug courts. The findings reported have implications for U.S. drug courts, the model on which Scottish drug courts are largely based.