Institutional Mindset for people in court

Victor Quintanilla presented at Georgetown Law/American Bar Foundation on his research on people’s experience of courts. He’s measuring people’s social psychology while going through a justice journey – -including how they are treated by court and legal services staff & how it affects their sense of self.

One thing he highlighted was the notion of people’s Institutional Mindset.

What do systems think of you?

When people think of institutions being exclusionary, inequitable, and punishing — then this government service of the courts can transform from something that is supposed to ‘resolve a problem between people’ — and now is about ‘threatening you’.

What kinds of court and services designs can we create, that would reduce this sense of threat & punishment? That would transform the institutional mindset, and users’ perception of the court’s institutional mindset, towards something more supportive, collaborative, and problem-solving?

This is especially important in the design of SRL-friendly courts, that can address the needs of people who don’t have lawyers while going through the justice system.

The majority of people in state courts don’t have a lawyer, when they’re trying to deal with a civil justice problem around housing, money, family, work, and school problems