In November 2018, the average daily jail population in Broward County was roughly 3,500. We hope to reduce that number by initiating Florida’s first Community Court, a program that addresses the needs of at-large, homeless, petty crime and municipal ordinance offenders. Held every Wednesday morning at City Hall in Fort Lauderdale, Community Court focuses on the root causes of each defendant’s issues, applying appropriate therapeutic and community service based punishments. Participants must choose to take an active role in their rehabilitation, and agree to give back to the community in the form of community service, once their situation is stable.
The Seventeenth Circuit worked closely with the City of Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, the State Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Public Defender and the Broward Sheriff’s Office to develop the program, and a number of public and private service providers signed on to provide services to participants in the Community Court.
The City of Fort Lauderdale was one of five jurisdictions in the nation to receive a federal grant to implement the specialized court. There are nearly 70 Community Courts throughout the country.
Read the Administrative Order establishing Community Court here: 2019-1-CRIM
Community Court Profile Video
Local 10 News: In Fort Lauderdale, a courtroom without judgment
WSVN News: Fort Lauderdale begins pilot community court program to curb jail time for petty crime