Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

specialized courts

specialized courts

  • red hook community justice center

    Red Hook Community Justice Center

    Do problem-solving courts prevent New Yorkers from receiving their basic constitutional rights? Are defendants forced to make a Faustian bargain, pleading guilty to avoid incarceration when they should be challenging the legality of their arrest?

    Steve Zeidman, a professor at CUNY School of Law, thinks so. In “The Treatment Court Cottage Industry & Its Unintended Consequence,” published

  • rikers guards

    Guards at Rikers Island (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    So-called problem-solving courts are now firmly entrenched in the American criminal justice system. What started with the development of a few local community courts soon expanded to a dizzying array of specialty courts and the problem-solving court industrial complex. And the situation, though well-intentioned, has unintended consequences.

    Presently, across the country there are more than 4,000 community courts, domestic violence courts, fathering courts, youth courts, drug courts,