City of Boulder Community Court recognized as a Mentor Court

City of Boulder's Community Court is honored to be designated as a Mentor Court by the Center for Justice Innovation (the Center). This recognition highlights the outstanding commitment and exemplary track record of Boulder's Community Court in community justice operations.

Mentor Courts are experienced local community courts selected to guide developing community courts as they navigate common issues and challenges. Mentor Courts collaborate with the Center to provide guidance and peer consultation to sites grant-funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) fund, aiming to implement or enhance community court projects nationwide. Boulder Community Court is being supported by the Center to mentor community courts in Utah, Wyoming, Nevada and Mississippi.

“I am so proud of our community court and the honor of this Mentor Court distinction” said De’Von Kissick-Kelly, Court Administrator. “Our goal is that everyone who touches the criminal justice system has a positive impact. Through this mentor program, we are excited to be able to give back the wisdom and support we received from our mentor court to extend the same positivity to other municipal justice systems.”

Boulder was a recipient of the BJA grant in 2018 to implement a community court with the support of a Mentor Court in Austin, TX. Boulder is now known for the unique approach of bringing the court system to the community, strategically positioning proceedings in a space where unhoused individuals already feel safe and have built trust with service providers. This innovative approach leverages partnerships with trusted nonprofits, creating relationships with community members to address underlying causes of low-level violations. Boulder has an outstanding compliance rate of 91% for the unhoused population addressing their violations and participating in offered services to move them towards housing.

The role of community courts is to address a specific need in the community. In Boulder, the underlying causes of minor municipal violations reflect unhoused status. The Community Court looks at each case on an individual basis to address the root cause of homelessness for each person. These citations are seen as a starting point to engage the unhoused community in services. In 2023, Community Court and partner organizations housed 31 people with only 5 of those reoffending in Boulder Municipals Courts. As of February 2024, 23 clients completed a Naropa University counseling session with 43% of clients returning for at least a second visit and 22% of clients coming back for 3 or more visits. To learn more about Boulder Community Court, visit the city’s webpage.