Friday, May 3, 2013
Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law
The Philadelphia Lead Court (PLC) was created as an innovative law enforcement strategy to compel property owners to comply with city health codes to remediate their properties of lead hazards, which had led to elevated blood lead levels and lead poisoning in resident children. This study presents a detailed account of and analyzes the opinions of fifteen key informants drawn from the Philadelphia health and law departments and judicial system that staff and run the PLC in response to a fifteen-question structured survey. Main themes reviewed include the effectiveness of the PLC as compared with precourt law enforcement strategies and within the context of a specialized court, the use of fines, the impact of grant funding for remediation work, the major advantages and disadvantages of the PLC, and suggested changes to improve court function, followed by key recommendations. The article concludes that our informants found that the PLC has been very effective and successful. This model could be replicated by other cities with similar health code enforcement challenges.