Have you ever gone to court, nervous about why you’re there? Then, from the parking, to the security, to finding what courtroom you need to be in, your day can get off to a rough start well before you even see a judge. Well, the folks who run our state courts want to make your experience better.
Gone will be the bulletin boards that look like a college dorm room, peppered with paper signs containing outdated and incorrect information. There will be no more instructions taped to the tops of chairs or pen markings directly on the courtroom doors themselves.
“When you come in to a courthouse that has inadequate signage, what we are doing is adding to the level of stress that the individual, the litigant, may have,” said Stephen Ment, deputy director of external affairs for the Connecticut court system.
And the problem extends from the inside out.
“Not only did people have trouble finding the right courtroom, but they had trouble finding the right courthouse,” said Ment.
The law mandates that the public have access to the courts. But, this isn't about not having access. It's about making that access easier with signs that are more official looking and clearer to read, especially in older courts, such as in Bridgeport and Bantam.
The new judicial branch approach is aiming for a standard uniform template for signs that can be used in every court in the state, along with “airport style” electronic boards that tell people which court they need to be in.
The directive also revamps each court’s website, some of which have outdated directions.
“There may have been a landmark noted in the directions that no longer is in existence or perhaps the road has changed,” said Ment.
Court employees are field testing the directions and the goal is to have accurate directions, along with maps, links to public transportation and parking instructions, by the end of the year. They know that putting in extra work now will make their jobs easier in the long run.
“The impact it has on the clerk’s office is statewide. It's huge,” said Brandon Pelegano, chief clerk of the Litchfield district.