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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

Research and Evaluation of Courts Pilot Public Engagement Projects

The Public Engagement Pilot Initiative is a joint collaboration of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center.  The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) is initiating up to six pilot projects to learn more about how courts can best engage the public to overcome social inequities and bias in the court system and build trust between various publics and the courts.

The National Center for State Courts Advisory Board for the “Community Engagement in the State Courts Initiative” solicits letters of interest from individual or aggregations of trial courts or court systems willing to design and implement a public engagement project designed to (a) improve trust between courts and minority or low-income communities, and (b) make progress on eliminating a disparity and its impact in a specific problem area. Up to six pilot projects will be selected to receive funding and other support.1 A request for letters of interest comes after the completion of a national Listening Tour sponsored by the Initiative’s Advisory Board. Listening sessions were held in three cities and broadcast under the title “Courting Justice.” Eleven main issues surfaced from the listening sessions and through an online survey of court and civic leaders active in efforts to reduce racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and other forms of bias in the courts:

1The project is funded by the State Justice Institute and the National Center for State Courts as a strategic initiative carried out in collaboration with the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts and the Conference of Chief Justices.  Visit the National Center for State Courts website to learn more or read about the project in the NCSC Newsletter.

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