Drug courts bring together judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, treatment providers, and court staff in a collaborative effort to address defendants’ substance use disorders. Due in part to a groundbreaking study by researchers from the Center for Court Innovation, there is a broad consensus that drug courts reduce substance use and recidivism. In recognition of its work in this domain, the Center received the National Leadership Award from the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
Mental health courts similarly link participants who would ordinarily be prison-bound to long-term community-based treatment. They rely on thorough mental health assessments, individualized treatment plans, and ongoing judicial monitoring to address both the mental health needs of offenders and the public safety concerns of communities.
Brooklyn Mental Health Court
The Brooklyn Mental Health Court offers community-based treatment in lieu of incarceration to defendants with serious mental health diagnoses.
Brooklyn Treatment Court
The Brooklyn Treatment Court links defendants with substance use disorders to treatment as an alternative to incarceration.
Training and Technical Assistance
We provide training and technical assistance to treatment courts across the United States.
Statewide Strategic Planning for Problem-Solving Courts
We provide thoughtful planning and coordination for problem-solving courts to ensure best practices and the best possible outcomes.
This Urban Institute evaluation of two mental health courts in New York City finds that mental health court participants are significantly less likely to recidivate, as compared to similar offenders with mental illness who experience business-as-usual court processing.
An examination of factors associated with program compliance and recidivism in the Brooklyn Mental Health Court, this report documents that prior criminal history and having a co-occurring substance disorder predict noncompliance, mental health court failure, and re-arrest.
Drug courts face an obligation to rethink some core practices, chiefly the focus on abstinence and the use of jail. Our publication argues the best way for the courts to evolve is to integrate the principles of harm reduction—a person-centered, anti-racist approach to reducing the harms related to drug use. The authors offer 12 strategies to help drug courts re-align with their original mission: a therapeutic, health-based alternative to jail.
"The focus right now appears to be on safety and not just strict compliance monitoring,” says David Lucas, a clinical adviser at the Center for Court Innovation, on how drug courts across the country are responding to COVID-19.