Municipal Court Receive Assistance from U.S. Dept.
Albany, GA (March 20, 2019) – The Albany Municipal Court “Albany Works!” initiative is one of three jurisdictions selected by the Center for Court Innovation to receive assistance under the Problem-Solving Justice Initiative of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.
The “Albany Works!” model is intended for those who have repetitive misdemeanor offenses. Court-ordered participants engage in the development of their Life Action Plans including direct access to the appropriate service providers. Participants are also paired with an Accountability Coach (community volunteers) who provide additional positive reinforcement and support of the individual completing their Life Action Plan.
“This program is a good place to start when it comes to alternative sentencing.” “It may not turn out to be 100 percent workable, but I believe it will be worth the effort. We have seen it’s positive impact while visiting and observing Community Courts in Brooklyn, NY (Brownville and Red Hook Community Justice Centers) and Newark, NJ Municipal Court (Newark Community Solutions)" said Chief Municipal Court Judge Willie C. Weaver, Sr. who was instrumental in defining the scope of the pilot program.
Innovative Community Service, instead of only payment of fines and jail, is a part of the program strategy. Work assignments in various City departments, typically filled by temporary staff, are filled by program participants. Participants develop and improve their employment “soft skills.” Successful completion of the program can include the receipt of stipends and the Court expunging participants’ records of the charges that brought the participants before the Albany Municipal Court.
Albany Municipal Court will work locally, with guidance from the Center for Court Innovation, to conduct a needs assessment to help inform a future community court project. Community courts respond to lower level crimes by ordering individuals to pay back the communities they’ve harmed through visible community service projects, while simultaneously addressing the underlying issues fueling criminal behavior, such as lack of education, lack of financial resources, drug and alcohol treatment, mental health services, and job training.
Nationally, research has shown that the community court model can reduce crime and substance use, increase services to victims, reduce unnecessary use of jail, save money, and improve public confidence in justice.
For more information on this planning process, please contact Willie C. Weaver, Sr., Chief Judge Albany, Dawson, Leslie & Sylvester Municipal Courts at 229-438-9455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org