Thousands of veterans experience homelessness each year and many hundreds also find themselves in the justice system. Veterans treatment courts provide participants substance use treatment in lieu of jail and also provide support with benefits, employment and housing. A key partner in their work is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which created the Veterans Justice Outreach Program with a goal to end homelessness among veterans. In 2016, specialists with the Veterans Justice Outreach Program worked with 461 veterans treatment courts. By 2019, that number had grown to 601.
One of every four people killed by police is experiencing a mental health emergency. Changing how we respond to crisis in the moment—and to widespread, ongoing mental health needs—means deferring to the leadership of people with lived experience and putting racial equity at the center of every reform. On our New Thinking podcast, listening to the people who know how to fix systems, because they’re surviving those systems' harms.
Josie Duffy Rice says remaking the justice system is a generational struggle, but it's one progressives are winning. The well-known criminal justice commentator and activist, and president of the news site The Appeal, explains why she believes in the power of big ideas, and offers her take on the federal election, "defund the police," and the role of the media in promoting—or thwarting—change.
The movement to reform prisons is almost as old as prisons themselves. But what is the ultimate goal of reform of a system like the criminal justice system? On our New Thinking podcast, Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law explain why they think many of today's most popular reforms are extending, rather than countering, the justice system's harmful effects. Their new book is Prison By Any Other Name.
Due to COVID-19, the whole world was forced to be innovative in the ways we connect with one another. This document highlights some of the unique ways drug courts were able to stay engaged with clients throughout the pandemic. Some of these solutions have been so successful that the courts plan to integrate these practices even after social distancing restrictions have been lifted.
In response to the worsening overdose crisis and the intersecting risks of COVID-19, key regulations governing opioid agonist therapies have been loosened by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency. This document outlines guidance provided to opioid agonist therapy prescribers, treatment programs and clinics, as well as important changes concerning confidentiality of treatment health records with the expanded use of telehealth.
The threat of incarceration has long been seen in some quarters as the best incentive to ensure people’s engagement in court-ordered treatment. But what if that assumption is wrong? This research brief argues the central element governing the effectiveness of treatment is the quality of the human interaction that accompanies it.
In recent years, several U.S. states have adopted legislation aimed at decreasing sentences for drug offenses. These reforms represent a promising effort to reduce the use of unnecessary incarceration. But one consequence has been reduced enrollment in drug courts. This paper explores how drug courts can adapt themselves to sentencing reforms and continue serving as a powerful, lifesaving intervention for court-involved individuals with substance use disorders.
As we work urgently to adjust our programs in New York to meet the COVID-19 pandemic, our expert assistance team is also working with drug treatment court practitioners around the country. Our director of Treatment Court programs, Annie Schacher, discusses advice for practitioners to help them prepare and brainstorm alternatives to help participants maintain sobriety, even when courts and treatment programs are closed, and check-ins can no longer take place in-person.
The effectiveness of the drug treatment court model has been well-documented in the United States and Canada, and these reports explore applications of the model in Barbados, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago. Each country-specific report explores how key components of the model are adapted and offers recommendations for improvement and/or expansion.