Melody Kramer

How To Improve Jury Duty

16 Mar 2015

I recently had jury duty. I arrived to the courthouse in the morning and was called for a trial in the early afternoon, which means I had about five hours of sitting time in the jury duty waiting room. Luckily, I brought a book and my laptop.

But I was surprised by the number of people in the jury duty waiting room who didn’t bring a book or something to occupy their time while we waited for a possible trial. Some of the people watched CNN. But others just sat there, staring into space.

Jury duty is mandatory and I understand that some people just want to chill out. That’s fine. But I wonder if there’s a way to give people options and make them feel like their time is valued. For instance, could you:

  • Put out yarn, needles, and instructions and ask people to make hats for the local NICU
  • Put out recorders, children’s books, and tape and ask people to record books-on-tape for the local kindergartens and pre-K’s
  • Have computers out and ask people if they would like to offer feedback for a new feature on a local or federal government website
  • Offer meditation workshops
  • Provide a book cart from the local library
  • Have computers out and ask people if they would like to help sort data or clean data or surface data

I’m sure there are other really good ideas that could help people while waiting. In fact, what if we shorten the timeframe?

What could people do while waiting in a line? I often just look at Twitter, but I think I would be highly motivated if I knew all of my little bits of line time helped out something in a larger way. But what?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Email them and I’ll round them up and put them in a future newsletter.

Have a good night.



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