The Wilmington Community Court initiative is an innovative effort by the Delaware Judiciary to break the cycle of crime before it starts by focusing on treatment and solving problems while ensuring public safety. Defendants are held accountable for their actions, but rather than using only incarceration or fines, community court looks to address the underlying issues that drive low-level, non-violent criminal behavior like drug addiction, mental health issues or unemployment and connects defendants with needed services.
The mission of Community Court is to reduce crime and recidivism by addressing the quality-of-life issues facing its communities utilizing a restorative justice approach, by forging meaningful partnerships, and improving public trust and confidence in the justice system.
The Wilmington Community Court is in Phase II of operations. Community Court, in conjunction with the Community Resource Center, offers individuals access to community resources and alternative sentencing. An assessment is completed to determine alternative sentencing. Some alternatives offered include community service, treatment sessions, medical appointments, educational classes, and other social services. Successful completion of Community Court results in the case being nolle prosed (dismissed) or (in rare instances) reduced to a lesser offense.
|Eligibility Criteria||Exclusionary Criteria|
|Charged with one or more eligible offenses: Criminal Mischief, Criminal Trespass, Disorderly Conduct, Graffiti, Loitering, Prostitution, Public Intoxication, Shoplifting, Low-level Drug Possession||Current charge includes domestic violence|
|Participant agrees to the program (as outlined in the plea agreement and the Participant Handbook)||Currently on probation (in any Court in DE)|
|Participant will waive rights to a speedy trial||Convicted of an offense listed in 11 Del. C. 4201, 42 U.S.C. 3797u-2 or has been convicted of a misdemeanor involving physical injury to another|
|For matters involving victims, at minimum, be notified and given a chance to express their position on a defendant’s participation prior to entry.||One or more pending felony charges in DE|
|Convicted sex offender or has a sex offense in the current case|
|Criminal history or the allegations in the current case cause the prosecutor or judicial officer to deem the individual inappropriate for CC|
Community Resource Center
Community Court is served by The Community Resource Center, located on the second floor of the Leonard L. Williams Justice Center. The Community Resource Center is open to any community member Monday to Friday who would like to connect with services and resources such as substance use and mental health treatment, trauma-informed care, housing, youth services, life skills, and pathways to employment opportunities.
- Brochure—Community Court Phase Two PDF opens in new window
- Participant Manual—Community Court Phase Two PDF opens in new window
History of Wilmington's Community Court
Delaware was awarded a $200,000 federal grant in 2018 to initiate a Community Court in Wilmington. The project focused on service for substance use, mental health, housing, life skills, and employment. Key partners include the Judiciary, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of Defense Services, the Governor’s Office, the Mayor’s Office, Wilmington City Council, Wilmington Police, New Castle County Police, the Department of Labor, the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, and many more.
In Spring 2019, a needs assessment was conducted for the City of Wilmington, in partnership with Delaware State University, to help guide the planning of a Wilmington Community Court. A Community Resource Center was established, and a plan was created for a two-phase implementation of Community Court. Two Community Resource Center Fair’s were held at the Courthouse, one in 2018 and one in 2019. The 2019 event marked the opening of the Community Resource Center and the launch of Phase I of Community Court. Phase I of Community Court ran through October 2020, when Phase II started. Community Court currently serves New Castle County.
The Community Court and Community Resource Center continue to be funded in part through the Delaware Criminal Justice Council by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program, subgrant DB19-2618.
Hours & Contact Information
Monday—Thursday: 9:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Friday: 9:00AM - 4:30PM