Seattle Municipal Courts
Focus Groups & healing Circles
The Vida Agency conducted a series of five focus groups on behalf of the Seattle Municipal Court to help improve equity, fairness, and accessibility. Participant groups included community members who had infractions or criminal cases before the Court in the previous year as well jury participants, and findings are currently being utilized to develop healing circles and restorative justice methods at the Court.
Better understand the perspectives of people most affected by our local criminal justice system and to develop criminal justice policies that better reflect the values of the community.
Recruitment included both outbound phone calls and physical mailers to individuals who had interacted with the Court in the previous year. The Vida Agency screen interested participants to ensure a diverse range of perspectives, and provided phone and email preparation support for participants. A 30-minute tech support window was provided in advance of each session for participants that desired additional support. In appreciation for their time and insight, each participant received an honorarium.
The originally planned in-person focus groups were transitioned to virtual sessions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 90-minute virtual focus groups were hosted on Zoom with a Miro virtual whiteboard for visual facilitation and brainstorming. Findings and recommendations were delivered to the Court, and The Vida Agency is currently working with Court staff and community members to apply findings to restorative justice and communications methods.