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Community Courts and the Process of Accountability: Consensus and Conflict at the Red Hook Community Justice Center

Malkin, Victoria
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) American Criminal Law Review. 40: 1573-1593.

As Victoria Malkin writes, community courts are part of an array of legal reforms in recent decades intended to improve the efficiency and accountability of the court system. This new model takes its direction from both community justice ideals and problem-solving courts. Proponents of community courts tout them as a new version of justice, making justice swift, visible, and accountable, thereby bridging the gap between courts and communities. Yet Malkin finds certain aspects of community courts problematic. For example, community courts have a wide range of sanctions available. This flexibility, while a strength in some ways, also presents a number of practical problems. As another example, Malkin raises concerns about the emphasis on experimentation in community engagement, problem-solving, and sanctioning in community courts. With all of this in mind, Malkin explores many of the facets of community courts through close examination of a single community court, the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn, New York.


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