Homeless Court Initiative Taking Shape in Charlotte

Homeless Courts, which are alternative-sentencing programs for those charged with a status offense due to their lack of housing, have been established in many major cities across the United States.  Homeless court programs began in San Diego in 1989, and have since been the model program for the other cities.  The American Bar Association, which adopted a model policy in 2006 for homeless courts, describes the purpose of the program best:

“[t]o counteract the effect of criminal cases pushing homeless defendants further outside society, this court combines a progressive plea bargain system, an alternative sentencing structure, and proof of community-based shelter program activities to address a range of misdemeanor offenses. Homeless courts expand access to justice, reduce court costs, and help homeless people reintegrate into society and lead productive lives.”

Over the past several months, a coalition has begun to establish a homeless court here in Charlotte.  With the help of the Civil Rights Clinic, this group has been researching, developing, and gathering community interest.  Each city has their own unique model tailored to the needs of their clients, and we are focused on doing the same.  For more information about our efforts or to join the coalition, please email jhuber@charlottelaw.edu.  For more information on homeless courts across the country, see:

For an American Bar Association publication on its adoption of homeless courts, see: http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/migrated/homeless/PublicDocuments/HCP_Manual.authcheckdam.pdf.

Our coalition hard at work at the CSL Civil Rights Clinic.

Our coalition hard at work at the CSL Civil Rights Clinic.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: