About the Courts Program

As an independent branch of government, courts play many critical roles in criminal justice policy and practice. With state court criminal caseloads topping 20 million1, the decisions and practices of judges, attorneys, and court staff have significant implications not only for the individuals involved, but also for the use of increasingly scarce government resources for courts, corrections, and public health. Of particular concern is the overrepresentation of individuals with mental health and substance abuse needs in the criminal justice system.

The CSG Justice Center’s Courts Program works with judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, court administrators, and others working with and for the judiciary across the country to develop and implement criminal justice policy in all of the Justice Center’s areas of work.

Courts Program staff coordinate in-depth research projects, develop training curricula, provide training and technical assistance to U.S. Department of Justice grantees, author publications, and convene stakeholders to share ideas and build partnerships. While Courts Program initiatives address a variety of issues, all promote the use of data to inform planning and implementation efforts that incorporate the best available social science research with principles of justice and equity.

Our Partners and Funders

Courts staff work closely with outside partners to leverage the best expertise in criminal justice and court operations. Partner organizations include:

  • American Probation and Parole Association 
  • American Psychiatric Foundation
  • Annie E. Casey Foundation 
  • Center for Court Innovation
  • Justice Management Institute 
  • Laura & John Arnold Foundation
  • Association of Prosecuting Attorneys 
  • National Association of Counties
  • National Association of Court Managers 
  • National Center for State Courts
  • National Judicial College 
  • National Legal Aid & Defender Association
  • Pretrial Justice Institute 
  • Policy Research Associates
  • U.S. Department of Justice


  1. Court Statistics Project, “Criminal Caseloads Continue to Decline,” available at http://www.courtstatistics.org/Criminal/20121Criminal.aspx (accessed March 28, 2013).

Judge Jan Jurden (DE) and Dr. Tracee Burroughs (MD) take part in a panel on practical strategies for working with individuals with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system at the 2013 Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program National Training and Technical Assistance Event.

Greg Rowe (PA) of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and Jo-Ann Wallace (DC) of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association participate in the March 15, 2013 summit Applying the Latest Research to Improve Outcomes for Adults with Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Involved in the Justice System, coordinated by the CSG Justice Center and hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs.

Judge Steven Leifman (FL), Co-Chair of the Judges’ Leadership Initiative, gives a presentation on innovative responses to criminal justice-involved individuals with mental illnesses in his home Miami-Dade County at the 2011 Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program National Training and Technical Assistance Event.