Center for Court Innovation (New York NY)
This report should be required reading for anyone interested in or developing a domestic violence court. Eleven chapters follow an executive summary: introduction; review of relevant research; research design; domestic violence court goals; history, structure, and staffing; case processing laws and policies; victim safety and services; offender assessments and program mandates; supervision and court responses to noncompliance; additional insights from qualitative analysis; and conclusion and implications. Some major findings include: increasing victim safety is rated “extremely important” by the majority of the domestic violence courts; the majority of courts had dedicated victim advocates; the majority of courts did not assess offenders; and 62% of the courts offered probation supervision to offenders. A "National Compendium of Domestic Violence Courts" is also included.
This study documented the positive impact of drug courts in New York on re-arrest and re-conviction both. If you are looking for ways to implement an effective drug court program or are looking to improve one you already have then you will find some helpful strategies to guide your efforts. This report contains eight chapter following an executive summary: introduction; research design and methodology; profile of drug court participant characteristics; profile of drug court policy characteristics and constructs; the impact of New York State adult drug courts; differential effects based on target population; differential effects based in drug court policies and practices; and conclusions. A few of the key elements in effective drug courts are: be sure to serve a higher-risk population; maximize legal leverage; impose certain sanctions for noncompliance; and use cognitive behavioral therapy and other evidence-based practices (EBPs).
The authors “sought to document knowledge, attitudes, and practices among a national sample of U.S. criminal justice leaders. In particular, we sought to understand the prevalence of innovation; the use of data and evidence to inform practice; the responses to disappointing results; and the barriers to widespread adoption of innovative practices” (p. 1). Six chapters follow an executive summary: introduction and methodology; respondent characteristics; prevalence of innovation; data-driven decision-making; barriers to innovation; and sources of new ideas. Fourty-six percent of respondents always use evidence-based decisionmaking, with 85% getting new information about criminal justice programs and/or reform initiatives from their colleagues.
“In April 2009, New York State passed Rockefeller Drug Law Reform. The law eliminated mandatory prison sentences for most felony drug offenders. In addition, through a procedure defined as judicial diversion, the law provided judges with discretion to link an expanded array of felony-level drug and property offenders to treatment, primarily through specialized drug courts” (p. 1). This study determined the impact of judicial diversion on drug treatment participation and related cost savings. Four chapters follow an executive summary: introduction—a brief history of the Rockefeller Drug Law Reform, and drug courts and other court-ordered treatment options in New York; impact on treatment enrollment; impact on sentencing outcomes; and impact on costs and savings. Court-ordered treatment enrollment increased by 77% with a cost savings of $5,564 per diverted offender.
The effectiveness of domestic violence courts to positively impact court processing, case resolutions, and recidivism is examined. If you are planning to implement a domestic violence court in your jurisdiction or are looking for ways to improve it, then you should read this report. This study found that court policies “varied widely across several domains, including specific accountability measures (i.e., use of various sanctions for noncompliance), victim safety and services (e.g., use of protection orders, linkages to victim advocates, and courthouse safety measures), use of offender assessment tools, orders to batterer programs, and orders to other types of programs (e.g., substance abuse or mental health treatment)” (p. v). Findings also show that among convicted offenders domestic violence courts significantly reduce the total number of re-arrests for any charge and for additional domestic violence charges.