Society relies on the judicial system to play numerous roles and achieve several important goals. It assesses criminal guilt or innocence, serves as a check on executive power over citizens, and helps to keep the public safe. It also adjudicates civil disputes, serving as a venue for negotiation and resolution of various problems. To effectively perform these roles, courts need to manage a wide range of issues, such as high caseloads, resource constraints, disparities in justice outcomes, and ensure appropriate information is available to other government agencies and the public. To adapt to challenges and take advantage of new opportunities, the court system needs to innovate. The related research report, Fostering Innovation in the U.S. Court System: Identifying High-Priority Technology and Other Needs for Improving Court Operations and Outcomes, identifies and prioritizes potential improvements in technology, policy, and practice for the court system.

The ranking of the innovation priorities in the report were dependent on the relative importance of policy goals (and how each priority on would contribute to achieving those goals). The ranking of the policy goals in the report reflects the collective views of the participants in the NIJ Courts Advisory Panel. However, opinions can legitimately differ about the importance of policy goals. Using information drawn from the report findings, this interactive tool for ranking court innovation needs allows users to re-prioritize the needs, based on their own views of the importance of different court system policy goals.

The research reported here was conducted in the Justice Policy Program, a part of RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment.

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