This report identifies a set of universal performance indicators for specialized "problem-solving courts" and related experiments in problem-solving justice. Traditional performance indicators related to caseload and processing efficiency can assist court managers in monitoring case flow, assigning cases to judges, and adhering to budgetary and statutory due process guidelines. Yet, these indicators are ultimately limited in scope. Faced with the recent explosion of problem solving courts and other experiments seeking to address the underlying problems of litigants, victims, and communities, there is an urgent need to complement traditional court performance indicators with ones of a problem-solving nature.
With funding from the State Justice Institute (SJI), the Center for Court Innovation conducted an investigation designed to achieve three purposes. The first was to establish a set of universal performance indicators against which to judge the effectiveness of specialized problem-solving courts, of which there are currently more than 3,000 nationwide. The second purpose was to develop performance indicators specific to each of the four major problem-solving court models: drug, mental health, domestic violence, and community courts. The third purpose was to assist traditional court managers by establishing a more limited set of indicators, designed to capture problem-solving activity throughout the courthouse, not only within a specialized court context.