The Spectrum of Collaborative Justice Courts

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Adult Drug Court

A specially designed court calendar or docket, the purposes of which are to achieve a reduction in recidivism and substance abuse among nonviolent substance abusing offenders and to increase the offender’s likelihood of successful habilitation through early, continuous, and intense judicially supervised treatment, mandatory periodic drug testing, community supervision, and use of appropriate sanctions and other rehabilitation services (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2005).

DUI/DWI Courts

A DWI court is a distinct post-conviction court system dedicated to changing the behavior of the alcohol-dependent repeat offender arrested for driving while impaired (DWI). The goal of the DWI court is to protect public safety by using the drug court model to address the root cause of impaired driving: alcohol and other drugs of abuse. Variants of DWI courts include drug courts that also take DWI offenders, which are commonly referred to as “hybrid” DWI courts or DWI/drug courts. (Loeffler & Huddleston, 2003). DWI courts often enhance their close monitoring of offenders using home and field visits, as well as technological innovations such as Ignition Interlock devices and the SCRAM transdermal alcohol detection device (Harberts & Waters, 2006).

Family Dependency Drug Court

Family dependency treatment court is a juvenile or family court docket of which selected abuse, neglect, and dependency cases are identified where parental substance abuse is a primary factor. Judges, attorneys, child protection services, and treatment personnel unite with the goal of providing safe, nurturing, and permanent homes for children while simultaneously providing parents the necessary support and services to become drug and alcohol abstinent. Family dependency treatment courts aid parents in regaining control of their lives and promote long-term stabilized recovery to enhance the possibility of family reunification within mandatory legal timeframes (Wheeler & Siegerist, 2003).

Federal District Drug Court (Federal Re-Entry Court)

Federal district drug court is a post-adjudication, cooperative effort of the Court, Probation, Federal Public Defenders, and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to provide a blend of treatment and sanction alternatives to address behavior, rehabilitation and community re-integration for non-violent, substance-abusing offenders. These courts typically incorporate an early-discharge program designed to replace the final year of incarceration with strictly-supervised release into the drug court regimen. The Federal programs incorporate the Ten Key Components in a voluntary, but contractual, program of intense supervision and drug testing lasting a minimum of 12–18 months.

Juvenile Drug Courts

A juvenile drug court is a docket within a juvenile court to which selected delinquency cases, and in some instances status offenders, are referred for handling by a designated judge. The youth referred to this docket are identified as having problems with alcohol and/or other drugs… Over the course of a year or more, the team meets frequently (often weekly), determining how best to address the substance abuse and related problems of the youth and his or her family that have brought the youth into contact with the justice system. (National Drug Court Institute & National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2003, p. 7).

Homeless Courts

Homeless Courts are special court sessions held in a local shelter or other community site designed for homeless citizens to resolve outstanding misdemeanor criminal warrants (principally “quality-of-life” infractions such as unauthorized removal of a shopping cart, disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, and sleeping on a sidewalk or on the beach). Resolution of outstanding warrants not only meets a fundamental need of homeless people but also eases court case-processing backlogs and reduces vagrancy. Homeless people tend to be fearful of attending court, yet their outstanding warrants limit their reintegration into society, deterring them from using social services and impeding their access to employment. They are effectively blocked from obtaining driver’s licenses, job applications, and rental agreements.

Mental Health Courts

Mental Health Courts connect offenders who would ordinarily be prison-bound to long-term community-based treatment. They rely on mental health assessments, individualized treatment plans, and ongoing judicial monitoring to address both the mental health needs of offenders and public safety concerns of communities. Like other collaborative justice courts, mental health courts seek to address underlying problems that contribute to criminal behavior.

Mental Health Courts utilize mental health professionals, on-going counseling and substance abuse treatment, Crisis Intervention Teams, jail diversion, and specialized probation and parole caseloads to address the disproportionate number of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system.

 

Re-Entry Courts

Reentry drug courts utilize the drug court model, as defined in The Key Components, to facilitate the reintegration of drug-involved offenders into communities upon their release from local or state correctional facilities. Reentry drug court participants are provided with specialized ancillary services needed for successful reentry into the community. These are distinct from reentry courts, which do not utilize the drug court model, but work with a similar population (Tauber & Huddleston, 1999).

 

Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts

A Tribal Healing to Wellness Court is a component of the tribal justice system that incorporates and adapts the wellness concept to meet the specific substance abuse needs of each tribal community (Tribal Law & Policy Institute, 2003). The tribal healing to wellness court team includes not only tribal judges, advocates, prosecutors, police officers, educators, and substance abuse and mental health professionals, but also tribal elders and traditional healers. “The concept borrows from traditional problem-solving methods utilized since time immemorial…[and] utilizes the unique strengths and history of each tribe” (Native American Alliance Foundation).

Veterans’ Treatment Courts

Drug Courts around the country have seen rising numbers of veterans in their programs and sought to offer specialized services to address their unique needs. The Veterans Treatment Court model use veterans as mentors to help defendants engage in treatment and counseling as well as partner with local Veterans Affairs offices to ensure that participants receive proper benefits. Veterans Treatment Courts have garnered national media attention and widespread interest in the Drug Court field. There are currently over thirty states looking to implement a Veterans Treatment Court with many more sure to follow.

Back on TRAC (Treatment, Responsibility, Accountability on Campus)

The Back on TRAC clinical justice model adopts the integrated public health-public safety principles and components of the successful Drug Court model and applies them to the college environment. It targets college students whose excessive use of substances has continued despite higher education’s best efforts at education, prevention, or treatment and has ultimately created serious consequences for themselves or others. Back on TRAC operates within the confines of existing resources and without interrupting the student’s educational process. It unites campus leaders, student development practitioners, treatment providers, and health professionals with their governmental, judicial, and treatment counterparts in the surrounding community. (Monchick & Gehring, 2006).

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