" [We] hold court actors accountable to ending the injustices in the criminal legal system that target Black, brown, indigenous, immigrant/migrant, queer, and TGNC communities.
WAMI’s CourtWatch CT program is the only formal court watching organization active in the state of Connecticut. Our base of courtwatchers is primarily comprised of volunteers, and we a longstanding relationship with groups of students at Yale University, who are some of our active volunteers.
Our goal is to harness the power of the people to organize for transformative change toward abolition. We watch court proceedings, shift power in the courtroom, report what we see, and hold court actors accountable to ending the injustices in the criminal legal system that target Black, brown, indigenous, immigrant/migrant, queer, and TGNC communities.
WHY IS THIS PROJECT IMPORTANT?
Court watching is an organizing tool that puts everyday people in the courtroom, and helps the public keep the actors and actions of the courts accountable. We watch what goes on in criminal court, and collect data based on our observations. The actions, reports, and campaigns that come from our data and observations aim to shift power in the courtroom and build up community power.
Our primary targets are the District Attorneys (DAs) of each judicial district, as well as the courts’ judges. District Attorneys are the district’s chief prosecutors, and they are very powerful actors in the courtroom as they have the power to decide whether or not to prosecute a case, what charges to bring, whether to request bail, whether to permit a plea, and what sentence to seek. Under each District Attorney works several Assistant District Attorneys, who do the same.
"The actions, reports, and campaigns that come from our data and observations aim to shift power in the courtroom and build up community power."
Our courtwatching program also informs WAMI’s participatory defense work, which you can learn more about at our participatory defense page. If you are interested in learning more about courtwatching, or starting to volunteer for us, please contact WAMI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wrote Introductory letters for students, schools, courts, police, and the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee.
Met with entities such as the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee and the Center for Justice Innovation.