Distinctions between Traditional Court and Homeless Court

Obstacles to serving the homeless population in a traditional court setting include:

  • Lack of mailing address
  • Lack of transportation
  • Intimidating court environment
  • Lack of appropriate attire
  • Threat of incarceration
  • Not understanding court processes

To address these factors, the Maricopa County Regional Homeless Court (MCRHC) is a therapeutic, problem-solving court that creates a level of trust and comfort with participants. Because court is held on the homeless campus in a less formal court setting, it has proven more welcoming to the homeless population and gains the trust of participants. It is otherwise indistinguishable from a traditional court in the sense that there is legal representation and the same laws and judicial procedures apply. The attorneys and the court support an alternative, non-adversarial, and conference-like setting; thus encouraging participation. The typical sentence in MCRHC is credit applied towards a participant's program participation in exchange for paying fines.

Karen Sadler
Maricopa County
Regional Homeless Court Coordinator

Contact the MCRHC

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