Courts working for homeless people

Courts working for homeless people 07 November 2013

2013 Successful Innovation wildcard winner

San Diego’s Homeless Court Program (“HCP”) provides homeless or indigent residents a second chance. Convened monthly in a local homeless shelter, the HCP is a special Superior Court session where homeless participants can resolve outstanding criminal cases without the risk of custody. The HCP builds on partnerships between the Court, prosecution, public defender, and local homeless service agencies to help resolve the problems that homelessness represents with practical and effective solutions.

Before the participating client even comes to court, prosecutors from both the City Attorney’s office and District Attorney’s office negotiate deals with the Public Defender, often agreeing to dismiss cases and satisfy terms and conditions of probation in recognition of the participant’s accomplishments in his treatment programme. The community recognises that when participants work with agency representatives to identify and overcome the problems related to their homelessness, they are in a stronger position to successfully comply with court orders, find employment, and return as valued members of the community.

Read about this successful innovation, nominated for the 2013 Innovating Justice Awards