About Community Court
The Downtown Austin Community Court (DACC) was established in 1999. It was the eighth community court established in the United States, and the first established in Texas.
The purpose of the Downtown Austin Community Court is to collaboratively address the quality of life issues of all residents in the downtown Austin community through the swift, creative sentencing of public order offenders.
The court operates as a problem solving and rehabilitative court and provides referrals to supportive services for offenders. A majority of the offenses adjudicated through DACC are committed by defendants who are homeless, and a disproportionate number of offenses are committed by a small number of defendants who cycle through the criminal justice system at a high cost to all community services systems.
What is Community Court?
The purpose of the Downtown Austin Community Court is to administer justice equitably and compassionately to foster trust and accountability, and to utilize a client-centered and housing-focused intensive case management model to help individuals experiencing homelessness achieve long-term stability.
DACC is contributing to the accountability, fairness, equity, impartiality, and transparency of justice processes for residents that engage with the Community Court. DACC works to expedite court cases by offering alternative forms of adjudication in lieu of monetary penalties, for those not able to pay, in order to avoid incarceration or additional penalties. For individuals experiencing homelessness, these alternative forms of adjudication can include participating in Intensive Case Management Services to obtain identification documentation, sign up for public benefits they qualify for, complete a Coordinated Assessment, and/or participate in social services that meet their needs.
Outside of the court processes, DACC also assists individuals experiencing homelessness who request assistance, and DACC accepts referrals coming directly from the Homeless Outreach Street Team (HOST) for individuals in need of ongoing case management and support. DACC seeks to build strong partnerships with community stakeholders in order to meet the needs of its priority population while also collaborating with the individuals it serves and utilizing their perspectives in ongoing program and service improvements.
What kind of offenses does the court adjudicate?
- Public order offenses committed within Downtown, East Austin, and the West Campus areas. Click here to see a detailed map of the jurisdiction.
Community Court initially focused on the downtown area; 44% of public order offenses committed in Austin occurred in this area. After successfully handling of the downtown area, the city added East Austin and the West Campus area to the Community Court's jurisdiction.
Annual projected caseload for the Court is approximately 12,000.