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.
The Brooklyn Mental Health Court represents the Center for Court Innovation's commitment to offering treatment rather than incarceration to people with mental illness who have been convicted of a crime. In 2019, the court commemorated the graduation of its thousandth successful participant.
As opioid intervention courts launch across the country, it is increasingly important to define the model and identify the core practices these courts should include. This publication is intended to help urban, suburban, rural, and tribal jurisdictions develop programs that incorporate the practices most likely to prevent overdoses and save lives.
New justice system approaches are needed respond to the opioid crisis and prevent overdose deaths through immediate access to evidence-based treatment—including medication-assisted treatment—and wraparound supports. This document provides a snapshot of some of the strategies being used by courts and justice system practitioners around the country to prevent overdose deaths and save lives.
The movement to elect reform-minded prosecutors has been around long enough and scored enough victories that progressive D.A.s now have their own support network: Fair and Just Prosecution. Miriam Krinsky, its executive director, explains why she thinks "starry-eyed idealists" who want to transform the justice system need to get the message that "the biggest difference they can make is to go and work in a prosecutor's office."
The Allegheny County (Pennsylvania) Mental Health Court has served as a dedicated criminal court docket for defendants with underlying mental health diagnoses since 2001. During the period from 2010 through 2016, this evaluation found mental health court participants had significantly fewer new arrests in the three years following the conclusion of their cases than similar defendants who went through traditional court. The evaluation concludes with lessons and recommendations, part of a planning process undertaken by the court with technical assistance from the Center for Court Innovation,
How effective is therapy or treatment when it's used instead of incarceration, and what are the challenges to conducting it inside the coercive context of the criminal justice system? New Thinking host Matt Watkins is joined by clinical psychologist Jacob Ham who works with justice-involved young people affected by trauma, and John Jay College's Deborah Koetzle who evaluates programs aiming to help participants rebuild lives outside of the justice system.