This article presents results from a pilot case study comparing the effects of court security in two modern and highly respected metropolitan county court systems. Although federal and state courts have paid increasing attention to security in their buildings and operations, little formal evaluation has been conducted of the effects of heightened security on court operations or court users, including judges, litigants, lawyers, jurors, and the general public. The present research identified four common areas of concern, including inadequate signage and covered waiting areas at courthouse entry stations; disparities between the public’s expectations of security measures and the limits of implementation; inconsistent monitoring of security measures; and gaps between heightened public expectations of security and the realities of limited resources to accomplish these tasks. If even these courts presented issues of concern, there are likely additional courts that warrant greater attention to the effects of security.
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