Saturday, August, 5, 2017
The Fallsburg Justice Court found a way to make handling their case load far more efficient than ever before. Recently, it took them an hour and a half to get through 44 cases. This newfound efficiency is all due to a mediation program that is offered through the Dispute Resolution Center.
According to Town Judge Amanda Ward, “It helps to streamline the court calendar and the system”.
The program is overseen by 10 trained mediators. All work on a volunteer basis. They help with civil court cases, including business disputes, neighborhood disputes, landlord-tenant disputes, and small claims cases. There are also family court cases related to custody, parent-child disputes, and divorce cases handled through the mediation program.
The program had been used before, about a dozen years ago. In two months it is already made a difference in the case load. Two court clerks went so far as to call the changes the program has brought “dramatic”.
In addition to freeing up resources for the court, it is also helping those involved in these cases. Mediators help people involved in disputes understand their options and come together to find the best way to resolve their problems.
All of the mediators involved in the program have a desire to give back to their community through conflict resolution. Each is involved in 32 hours of training, as well as an apprenticeship program before they begin working with dispute participants.
Program coordinators are looking for additional mediators to add to the program and encourage anyone interested to register for the upcoming mediation training that is scheduled to take place in September.