New Reno community court will handle nuisance crimes

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RENO, Nev. (AP) - The Reno Municipal Court has been awarded a $200,000 grant to operate a downtown community court to handle misdemeanors involving nuisance crimes.

City officials say the specialty courts have been used effectively in other places under a format established by the Center for Court Innovation in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance.

They are intended to help ease other courts' caseloads involving low-level criminal activity that negatively impacts residents, businesses and tourism.

Instead of ordering jail time or fines, community court judges typically sentence offenders to same-day community service tasks such as sidewalk cleanup, campsite and park cleanup. Many of them are homeless.

In addition, local providers will provide information at each session about access to government benefits, health insurance, housing, workforce training and substance abuse and mental health treatment.

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