Madison County Circuit Court Judge Barbara Crowder has been named as the third vice-president of the Illinois Judges Association (IJA) at its recent annual meeting.
Crowder, a member of the association for nearly two decades, is a former president and treasurer of the organization and has served four terms on its board of directors.
She was installed at a meeting earlier this month at Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Crowder said she believes her work is about problem solving, both in the court room and outside.
"All judges that I know are just so interested in their communities," the judge told the Record. "Our day jobs are wonderful but we want to see people to resolve their problems."
One of her roles as a member of the IJA is speaking to school children from kindergarten to 12th grade.
The community outreach means going to schools to talk to students about the consequences of some of their acts, and essentially to stop them from getting arrested, she indicated.
It also means addressing organizations such as Rotary, explaining how the justice system functions as problem solver, though often dealing with problems after the fact.
Problems exist on every economic level, every strata of society, because, Crowder said, for example, drugs are rampant in the community.
"We want to talk to children everywhere, because everybody can have the same problems in their house holds," Crowder said. "Drugs are rampant in every strata of society."
Part of the outreach is speaking to younger students. The judges often go to elementary school armed with the book, Abe Lincoln's Hat, the central story line of which is that the president keeps reminders of things to do under his signature head gear.
"Younger kids mainly want to know about your gavel, but will be quiet and will listen," Crowder said.
In partnership with the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois State Historical Society, Crowder is involved in the Illinois state bicentennial. Recently, an 1860 portrait of Lincoln was placed in the Madison County courthouse, something that will be repeated in every one of the state's county courthouses.
Crowder also is a member of the Family Violence Prevention Council, which she said wants to help protect all victims.
"The point is protection of the victim and accountability for the abuser," Crowder said.
The IJA, which represents 1,250 active and retired Illinois state court judges, was founded in 1972 to provide services, support, and education to its member judges and to improve public understanding of the Illinois judicial system, according to a press release issue by the organization.
Crowder has been a judge since 1999, and served four terms on the IJA board of directors.
She is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and is chair of its civil practice and procedure section council, and a member of the Madison County Bar Association.
Further, Crowder is the chair of the Third Judicial Circuit pro bono committee and co-chair of its local Family Violence Prevention Council.