Source: (2000) Draft of report prepared for the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Criminal Courts Technical Assistance Project at American University. Denver, CO: Justice Management Institute.Because the judiciary exists as a separate branch of government in the United States, courts have traditionally refrained from joint actions with other organizations. In recent years, however, courts have become more involved with other agencies and units of the justice system and with community groups to improve the courts themselves, the justice system, and quality of life in communities served by the courts. This report looks at ways the courts may most effectively participate in collaborative improvement programs. Several projects involving such collaboration are examined. The projects vary in significant ways, but they share two characteristics. Each is designed to address a problem or set of problems deemed important by court officials, justice system leaders, and community members; and each incorporates innovative approaches to dispute resolution and problem solving that go beyond the traditional court functions of adjudication and imposition of sentence.