As an experienced software vendor catering to the magistrate, circuit, and supreme courts for the past 25 years, I have identified a prevalent issue in Circuit Courts.
Staff shortages due to staff pay and competitiveness.
This causes high turnover rates and low application numbers. Adequate staffing is crucial for maintaining an efficient and effective circuit court that provides equal access to all individuals.
When turnover rates are high, it can lead to a shortage of court personnel, which in turn contributes to backlogs and delays in the resolution of cases. This backlog not only affects the efficiency of the justice system but also denies individuals timely access to justice, which is a fundamental right.
To address these challenges, several steps can be taken:
- Public Awareness and Outreach: Raising awareness about the importance of staffing shortages can help generate public support for measures to address the issue. Outreach programs, public forums, and educational initiatives can help inform the public about the functioning of the justice system and the need for adequate staffing.
- Recruitment and Retention: Efforts should be made to attract qualified candidates and retain experienced staff. This can be done through targeted recruitment campaigns, competitive compensation packages, and providing opportunities for professional development and growth.
- Technology and Innovation: Embracing technology such as one of the many case management systems available on the market today. Digitize documents to eliminate staff filing and locating case documents. Juror selection and management consume many hours of staff time. The Juror+ system can generate juror pools, and track each juror through the entire juror experience. Use an automated notification such as Juror Calling to reduce the time that court clerks must spend notifying jurors. Juror calling does not require any specific jury management system, which gives the court greater flexibility during the selection process. These innovative practices can help streamline judicial processes and reduce the burden on the staff.
- Professional Development: Offering continuous training and professional development opportunities for court personnel can enhance their skills, job satisfaction, and retention. This can include workshops, seminars, and mentorship programs to support their growth and effectiveness in handling cases.
By implementing these strategies, it is possible to improve staffing levels, reduce
turnover rates, and ensure that the circuit court operates efficiently, providing
equal access to justice for all individuals.
About the Author: Butch Evans has been involved with the Judicial System since 2007. His company, Software Computer Group, Inc., has provided case management applications to magistrate, circuit, and supreme courts. He now serves on the Board of Directors of Heads Up Holdings, a technology firm dedicated to finding better platforms for notification delivery.