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Seattle Municipal Court recognizes two years of Community Court in 2022 report

Seattle Municipal Court issued a report reviewing the Seattle Community Court (SCC) program’s first two years. Launched on August 10, 2020, the SCC program is the result of a multi-year collaboration among the Seattle Municipal Court, the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, and the King County Department of Public Defense.

Read the Seattle Community Court Two-Year Report (PDF)

About Seattle Community Court

SCC is a pathway for people to have their low-level misdemeanor charges dismissed by connecting with community supports such as housing assistance, employment support, and drug treatment; learning skills that will set them up for success; and giving back through community service.

“I’m really grateful for Community Court and believe more courts should adopt the concept.”

-SCC graduate

The program uses best practices showing that meaningful connections to support, designed to address the needs of the participant and the safety of the community, will result in reduced court involvement.

Results So Far

In the program’s first two years, 686 people were referred for a Community Court Assessment, which is a person’s first opportunity to be screened into SCC. Of those, 561 people, about 82 percent, opted into the program.

402 people, or about 72 percent of the people referred for assessment, graduated so far. Instead of spending time in jail, these 402 people have successfully connected with supportive services, completed six hours of community service or a Life Skills class, and can move forward in their communities without the harmful impacts of a criminal conviction.

Bar chart titled "Individuals in Community Court, 8/1/20-7/31/22." Chart shows 686 people referred for SCC assessment; 561 people opted into SCC; 402 people graduated SCC; 161 excited CC after opt-in; 23 declined SCC offer.

SCC is centered around connecting participants with life-changing services that can address the root causes of what brought the person into the system. The most common resources accessed are basic needs such as clothing, food, and bus tickets. Participants are also accessing healthcare, medication-assisted treatment, and other resources.

Bar graph titled "SCC Participants: Services by Status." Exact numbers are not displayed for each category, but chart shows that over 100 people accessed clothing; about 18- accessed bus tickets; over 120 accessed food bags; about 60 accessed hygiene kits; almost 60 accessed or got info/referrals for emotional health; over 40 accessed or got info/referrals for housing assistance; about 40 accessed or got info/referrals for healthcare; about 40 accessed or got info/referrals for medically assisted treatment; almost 40 accessed or got info/referrals for community service; about 20 accessed or got info/referrals for DSHS; almost 20 accessed or were referred for substance use treatment.

“I really enjoyed the [Community Resource Center] I hope that it continues to stay available for the communities.”

-SCC graduate

Program graduates have enthusiastically communicated the transformative effects of the SCC program. 78 percent of respondents to the anonymous Community Court Exit Survey agree that the program had a positive impact on their life.

People referred to SCC are disproportionately low-income and disproportionately people of color. This reflects the disproportionality of people coming into contact with law enforcement and being charged with misdemeanor crimes.

What’s Next

As Community Court moves forward, we continue to build on the program in collaboration with our partners. A recent grant from the Washington Administrative Office of the Courts will allow for further program development and participant support.

We appreciate the continued teamwork and collaboration from the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, King County Department of Public Defense, and service providers through the Community Resource Center and others in the community.