One of the frequent criticisms of the criminal justice system in the United States is that people who violate the law often cycle in and out of the system, and a focus on punishment often doesn't serve to solve the actual problem at hand.
Today's guest on the podcast is Judge Christopher Hazlett-Stevens, who presides over the Reno Municipal Court system's Community Court. Community Court is held at the Downtown Reno library instead of the court house, and is geared towards Reno's unhoused population. Certain misdemeanors like open container violations or trespassing are referred to the community court where instead of fines or jail time, offenders typically are referred to services like health care or helped to acquire ID and be put on housing wait lists.
Conor and Judge Hazlett-Stevens talk about the origins and purposes of the community court, how the experience is different than typical court proceedings, why the library is a more comfortable space for participants, the difference between serving as a lawyer in the past and now as a judge, being prepared to run a campaign in this election year, the arguments that alternative courts are too soft on crime or that they're still part of an overly punitive justice system, and a whole lot more.
You can follow the community court at their Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/rmc.communitycourt/) to stay up to date with happenings, or go visit and see how it works for yourself. Court is held at the Downtown Reno library every Wednesday morning and you don't need to have been cited with a violation to take advantage of the services offered.
This episode was produced by Conor McQuivey and Ciara Cihak. Thank you as always for listening!
To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean or
To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean App.