Justice reforms often exclude people with charges involving violence, even though these are the same people most likely to be incarcerated and to be in the most need of the programs and treatment reform can bring. But a felony court in Manhattan is offering alternatives to incarceration, regardless of charge. Can a treatment-first approach be brought to scale inside of the same system responsible for mass incarceration in the first place?
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 Center for Court Innovation, in partnership with the New York State Unified Court System, Office for Justice Initiatives, Division of Policy and Planning, and the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, created this report, which identifies ways for opioid courts and other drug treatment courts to improve access to Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD).
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.
The first mental health court in New York City, the Brooklyn Mental Health Court seeks to craft meaningful responses to defendants with mental illness. Addressing both treatment needs and public safety concerns, the court links defendants who have serious and persistent mental illnesses (such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) or Neurodevelopmental disorders (such as Autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, and ADHD) who would ordinarily be jail- or prison-bound to long-term treatment in the community.
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.