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.
"Veterans Treatment Courts are one of the fastest growing criminal justice programs in the United States. Since 9/11, more than 2.5 million Americans have served our country in uniform. Many of them have deployed several times. And many of these men and women in uniform are coming home and struggling not only with the physical wounds of war, but also its “invisible” wounds: post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Since the inception of the first Veterans Treatment Court by Judge Robert Russell in Buffalo, NY in 2008, there are now more than 300 veterans treatment courts across the country. These courts account for veterans’ military service and provide diversion and treatment alternatives specific to their needs. The development of a screening tool specific to veterans is now underway through partnership between the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Center for Court Innovation (CCI). The assessment tool factors in the latest research on trauma and will support an accompanying case planning protocol. This Veterans Treatment Court Enhancement Initiative is a three-year project that will include implementing the tool and protocol in two pilot sites. The pilot site solicitation opportunity will be released in November 2015."
“In the past decade, the Supreme Court has transformed the constitutional landscape of juvenile crime regulation. In three strongly worded opinions, the Court held that imposing harsh criminal sentences on juvenile offenders violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. In combination, these cases create a special status for juveniles under Eighth Amendment doctrine as a category of offenders whose culpability is mitigated by their youth and immaturity, even for the most serious offenses. The Court also emphasized that juveniles are more likely to reform than adult offenders, and that most should be given a meaningful opportunity to demonstrate that they have done so. In short, because of young offenders’ developmental immaturity, harsh sentences that may be suitable for adult criminals are seldom appropriate for juveniles. These opinions announce a powerful constitutional principle—that “children are different” for purposes of criminal punishment … This report addresses the key issues facing courts and legislatures under this new constitutional regime, and provides guidance based on the Supreme Court’s Eighth Amendment analysis and on the principles the Court has articulated” (p. 1). The accompanying briefs to the report are: “Overview Brief: The U.S. Supreme Court and the Transformation of Juvenile Sentencing”, “Juvenile Sentencing in A Developmental Framework: The Role of the Courts”, and “Practitioner Brief: Applying a Developmental Framework to Juvenile Sentencing—What Forensic Experts and Attorneys Should Know” all three by Scott, Grisso, Levick, and Steinberg.
This website is an excellent resource for information about Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts. "[A] Tribal Healing to Wellness Court brings together alcohol and drug treatment, community healing resources, and the tribal justice process by using a team approach to achieve the physical and spiritual healing of the individual participant, and to promote Native nation building and the well-being of the community." Points of entry include: about the Tribal Law and Policy Institute (TLPI); Wellness Court resources—Tribal 10 Key Components of a Healing to Wellness Court, Healing to Wellness Court Publication Series (including "Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts: The Key Components", and the "Overview of Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts"), webinar series, "Annual Tribal Healing to Wellness Court Enhancement Training", operations (team member roles, screening and assessment, policies and procedures, legal issues, sanctions and incentives), research (tribal drug court research, alcohol and drug abuse, and other drug court technical assistance resources), funding and sustainability, data and evaluations, target populations (such as juvenile, family, DWI, Co-Occurring Disorders, and Veterans Healing to Wellness Courts), planning a Healing to Wellness Court, healing (treatment, and incorporating culture and tradition), and restorative justice; drug court partners; and federal funding agencies.
"Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts, also known as drug courts, have proliferated within Indian country during the last two decades. The drug court model, beginning within state courts, was later adapted for tribes to better allow for the diversity of cultures, languages, needs, governance structures, and laws. Essentially, a Tribal Healing to Wellness Court, like a state drug court, integrates substance abuse treatment with the criminal justice system to provide substance-abusing offenders judicially supervised treatment and transitional services through the use of intense supervision, sanctions and incentives, and drug testing in a non-punitive setting. Healing to Wellness Court is the coming together of agencies and systems that do not traditionally interact. Agencies have different goals, priorities, and structures. It is therefore essential for the Wellness Court to have its own strong foundation. By documenting the structure and procedures of the Wellness Court, the policies and procedures manual aids in securing the long-term future of the Court … A policies and procedures manual is a necessary tool to successfully implement and operate a Tribal Healing to Wellness Court. From the court’s outset, a policies and procedures manual, adopted through the formal tribal governmental process, can officially establish the Healing to Wellness Court (Wellness Court) and describe the type of court. Upfront designations assist in determining whether a participant is appropriate for the Wellness Court. A policies and procedures manual describes the target population, such as adult, juvenile, or parents involved in dependency court, also known as family Healing to Wellness Court. The manual also documents the agencies, team member roles, and services that will be provided to the target population by team members" (p. 1, 3). This manual is comprised of thirteen chapters: the big picture and target population; entry into Wellness Court and Team and participant rules; Team roles and responsibilities; treatment and phase systems; the judge and Wellness Court staffing and hearings; probation, case manager, or other supervision; alcohol and drug testing; data tracking and evaluation; wellness team; appendices to Tribal Policies and Procedures Manual; Participant Handbooks; statutory provisions; and agreements.
"Children in far too many states are forced to appear in court shackled – often wearing handcuffs, leg irons, and belly chains connecting ankle and hand restraints … In this [excellent] webinar, co-sponsored by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, presenters David Shapiro of the Campaign Against Indiscriminate Juvenile Shackling and George Yeannakis of the Washington State Office of Public Defense and NJJN member TeamChild, discussed the practical, policy, and constitutional reasons to reform universal shackling practices and successful strategies for reforming shackling policies." You can get the following resources at this website: policy update "Unchain the Children: Policy Opportunities to End the Shackling of Youth in Court"; a recording of the entire webinar; PowerPoint presentation; and "GR 9 COVER SHEET Suggested Amendment JUVENILE COURT RULES JuCR 1.6 – Physical Restraints in the Courtroom".
This map shows the locations of veteran treatment courts throughout the United States.
"This white paper is based on a series of interviews, buttressed by personal observations, of key players in half a dozen jurisdictions where Veterans Treatment Courts have been operating with marked success. Neither graphs nor charts nor a plethora of statistics are employed to illustrate the protocols and practices of these therapeutic courts. Instead, proponents and practitioners intimately involved in the founding and operation of these courts relate how they are “the right thing to do” for combat veterans who commit certain crimes that are associated with the lingering legacy of their wartime experiences. They describe, in often exquisite detail, what their roles are and how they have come to embrace the concept that these courts, which use a carrot-and-stick approach to rehabilitate rather than overtly punish veteran defendants, represent what one of the individuals responsible for the introduction of the first of these diversionary courts has called “the most profound change in the attitude of our criminal justice system towards veterans in the history of this country” (p. iii).
This publication is comprised of fifteen chapters: so, you're (thinking of) starting a veterans treatment court; nobody returns from a combat zone unaffected, unscathed, unchanged; PTSD by any other name … can still wreck lives; a brief history of veterans treatment courts; Judge Robert Russell—"godfather" of the veterans treatment court movement; Buffalo Veterans Court—they're number one; the "top ten" components of a veterans treatment court; the mentor program—helping vets through the labyrinth; in the beginning—first set up your game plan; role of the players; Judge Marc Carter—what justice is; elements of the process; Michelle Slaterry—maven for research; success stories—in their own words; and questions and answers.
"Although veterans treatment courts themselves are a recent and developing innovation, veteran status and its intersection with criminal sentencing considerations has an increasingly substantial legal basis to draw on. Prior to the expansion of problem-solving courts to reach veterans, many state-level trial court judges already considered military service-related disorders as potential mitigating factors. More recently, several states have either passed or proposed legislation designating veteran or active military status as a statutory mitigating factor, and current federal sentencing guidelines follow a 2009 Supreme Court decision affirming the proper role of a defendant’s military history in the penalty phase. Given the weight of political and legal decisions supporting veteran status as a mitigating factor in criminal cases, veterans treatment courts might ultimately demonstrate the advantages of treatment as an alternative to incarceration" (p. 310). This paper is divided into five parts. Part I—Introduction. Part II—development of veterans treatment courts; the veterans treatment court model; policy rationale for veterans courts; and controversy. Part III—state statutes in North Carolina, California, Minnesota, and other notable state bills; federal courts' consideration of veteran status—Porter v. McCollum, Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and non-statutory state sentencing practices. Part IV—Analysis: veterans treatment courts are correspond with current criminal sentencing; veterans treatment courts are good public policy; and how veterans treatment courts should proceed in consideration of criticisms. Part V—Conclusion.
"The program examined Veteran’s Courts, a component of the highly successful drug court concept. Veteran courts are growing rapidly throughout the United States with early indications of success."