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.
Family Court, which addresses complex issues involving some of the most vulnerable populations, is not exempt from the effects that COVID-19 are having on court operations across the country, forcing many to close courthouses, reduce or delay hearings, or conduct business remotely. Family Court is limited to “essential” business, and Kate Wurmfeld, our director of Family Court Operations, talks about the challenges and changing circumstances for families dealing with remote hearings, coordinating visitation, and accessing services.
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.
Each year, our work touches the lives of tens of thousands of people. Through stories and numbers, our annual report provides a snapshot of our activities, with overviews of our operating programs, research, and the assistance we provide reformers around the globe.
In this episode of In Practice, Kathryn Ford, the Center for Court Innovation’s director of Child Witness Initiatives, discusses child homicide in the context of domestic violence with Dr. Peter Jaffe, a psychologist at Canada's Western University and an expert on children’s exposure to domestic violence. Among the topics they cover are the prevalence of child domestic homicide, the indicators of a high-level of risk to children, and the implications for justice-system practitioners.
Courts across the country are developing new and unique ways to address sex trafficking. Given the differences in local laws, culture, and available resources, there is no universally applicable model, and instead, human trafficking courts rely on shared strategies and goals. In this video resource, practitioners from courts around the country explain and discuss five key principles that animate their work in human trafficking courts.
The Minority Youth Violence Prevention Initiative works to engage public health organizations, law enforcement agencies, and community-based groups in an effort to curb violence and reduce disparities in access to public health among at-risk minority youth. Containing lessons learned from across the initial program sites along with sample documents, this guide is intended as a road map for organizations looking to establish a similar local program.
Our video captures a week in the life of Judge Carroll Kelly and the Miami-Dade County Domestic Violence Court, highlighting efforts to keep victims safe, hold offenders accountable, and coordinate an effective community response to domestic violence.
Across the country, the movement to reduce jail populations and close ageing facilities has scored some notable victories. But where the tide of confinement has receded, it has exposed a significant tension: what to do about the people still behind bars? Can efforts to improve their conditions of confinement be pursued in tandem with work to stem the flow of people into the facilities detaining them?
In 1996, 16-year-old Reginald Dwayne Betts was sentenced to nine years in prison for a carjacking. He spent much of that time reading, and eventually writing. After prison, he went to Yale Law School and published a memoir and three books of poems. But he’s still wrestling with what “after prison” means. This is a conversation about incarceration and the weight of history, both political and personal. Betts's most recent collection of poems is Felon.