Collaborative Justice Courts offer hope and support to those who traditionally were considered beyond hope. Collaborative Justice Courts, developed since 1989, provide an environment where impacted individuals receive life-changing treatment. Rather than being stereotyped and discarded, they receive compassion and assistance. Instead of punishment, these offenders are given accountability and meaningful consequence, an opportunity to address their underlying needs, and time to practice their sobriety.
Collaborative justice is the commitment of the criminal justice team to recognize the humanity, value, and promise of addicted offenders and to assist in the process of helping those individuals recognize the same in themselves.
A Collaborative Justice Court is a court specifically designated to administer cases referred for judicially supervised drug treatment and rehabilitation within a jurisdiction. The principles (see The Ten Key Components) of Collaborative Justice Courts include
- Immediate referral to and intervention by a court-directed supervision and treatment program;
- Frequent substance abuse testing;
- Supervision contacts with the court;
- Comprehensive drug treatment and aftercare;
- Graduated sanctions and incentives.
Drug Courts provide judicially supervised treatment to nonviolent offenders (i.e. participants) who have committed substance abuse-driven crimes. Drug Courts are vital partnerships that together allow all partners to be at their most effective. Team members working to actively break the cycle of substance abuse, addiction, and crime include:
- Defense bar
- Law enforcement
- Mental health
- Social services
- Substance abuse treatment providers
It is the judicial authority which keeps participants returning to treatment especially during the early phases when sobriety has not been achieved. The unique relationship between judge and Collaborative Justice Court participants results in engagement in treatment and accountability. The participant undergoes an intense regimen of:
- Substance abuse and mental health treatment
- Case management
- Drug testing
- Probation supervision
- Regularly-scheduled status hearings before a judge with specialized expertise in the drug court model.