- Associated Press - Sunday, October 12, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A community court in Hartford that handles quality-of-life crimes like shoplifting, trespassing and breach of peace was recently named one of four “mentor courts” nationwide by The Center for Court Innovation and U.S. Justice Department.

The state Judicial Branch opened Hartford Community Court in 1998. Most defendants are sentenced to community service instead of jail, and many are offered social services.

Community courts in Dallas, San Francisco and Orange County, California, also were named model courts.

Officials at model courts are responsible for hosting visits, answering questions and participating in conferences to help others learn about their programs.

The Center for Court Innovation in New York says Hartford Community Court is the only one nationwide that serves both urban and suburban communities. The court serves Hartford and five surrounding towns.

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