• Open to the public

The Community Court as a Model for Developing Policy for Law Enforcement and Rehabilitation: Thoughts on the Dorner Commission Report

Israel Democracy Institute, 4 Pinsker St., Jerusalem

The first Community Court in Israel began operating last year in the Magistrate Court in Be'er Sheva. An additional Community Court began operating in the Magistrate Court of Ramla in September 2015. These courts, which have been established as part of a limited pilot project, are based on an innovative model that is designed to provide a variety of tools for dealing systematically with the problem of crime. This model focuses on cooperation between the courts and law enforcement, social welfare, and community authorities, and is designed to reduce recurring crime, to develop alternatives to incarceration, and to create comprehensive solutions to problems that ultimately lead to crime.

In November 2015, the Public Commission on Punishment Policy and Treatment of Criminals, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner, submitted its recommendations to the Israeli government. The report included a recommendation that community courts should be established as one of the ways to reduce the use of imprisonment and detention. The report includes additional recommendations for punishment policy, research, and activities that stem from the approach that believes that it extending the length of sentences does not advance the fight against crime and is therefore not justified. The report also asserts that in order to develop effective and appropriate punishment policies, a body should be set up to gather information and conduct research on law enforcement, with an emphasis on punishment, rehabilitation, and sentencing.

On Thursday, January 14, 2016 from 5:00–7:30 pm, IDI and JDC-Israel Ashalim will convene a roundtable at the Israel Democracy Institute that will focus on the development of punishment policy, against the backdrop of the Dorner Commission's recommendations and the recent establishment of Community Courts in Israel. The discussion will focus on the following:

  • The model of work that has been developed in the Community Courts. This discussion will relate to the Court's potential and the challenges that it faces, as well as the significance of partnerships between the Court, law enforcement agencies, and social welfare organizations during the criminal proceedings.
  • The Community Court as a model for developing policy for punishment and rehabilitation.
  • Development of policy for law enforcement and punishment based on research and information gathering. 
  • Participants will include key figures in policy-making regarding law enforcement and punishment in Israel, including former Justice Dalia Dorner, who headed Israel's Commission on Punishment Policy and Treatment of Criminals. They will be joined by several experts from the United States: Judge Alex Calabrese, the presiding judge at the Community Court in Brooklyn, which was the first Community Court established in the United States, and senior members of the research and development department of the New York State court system. 
  • Prof. Mimi Ajzenstadt
  •  Brigadier General Shimon Bar Gur
  •  Dr. Daniella Beinisch
  •  Hon. Judge Alex Calabrese
  •  Justice (Emerita) Dalia Dorner
  •  Prof. Oren Gazal-Ayal
  •  Adv. Aisha Greene
  •  Ms. Osnat Hemo
  • Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer 
  •  Adv. Raz Nizri
  •  Dr. Yoav Sapir
  •  Dr. Rami Sulimani
  •  Adv. Brett Taylor
  •  Prof. David Weisburd
  •  Colonel Ronit Zar