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Transferability of the Anchorage Wellness Court Model

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2008
232 pages
This study examined whether the Anchorage Wellness Court program, a full-scale therapeutic court entered voluntarily in exchange for reductions in jail terms and fines, was transferable to other jurisdictions in Alaska and elsewhere, based on interviews with those mostly closely involved with the Anchorage Wellness Court and other therapeutic court programs.
Many aspects of the Anchorage Wellness Court model are transferable, and new therapeutic courts based on the Anchorage Wellness Court have already successfully "transferred" to other locations in Alaska. Some communities without therapeutic courts are exploring ways to develop them. The proven success of many aspects of the model and the established administrative structure to support the therapeutic courts should be encouraging to any community interested in finding ways to incorporate therapeutic justice. Some distinctive components of the Anchorage Wellness Court model appear to be particularly transferable. These include the use of the cognitive-behavioral treatment module known as moral reconation therapy (MRT), which is effective, low-cost, and requires little training to implement. The use of naltrexone, whether as a required element or as an as-needed supportive tool, is useful provided appropriate medical services are available. Intensive supervision, combined with MRT, is easily transferable with the advent of technologies that facilitate the monitoring of individuals' locations and illicit substance use. Therapeutic courts require significant resources, especially substance abuse treatment resources, which are not readily available in all areas of the State. They also require significant case management, monitoring, and legal resources. These would all need to be increased for a full-scale replication of the program. Pared-down models, however, may provide an alternative. Another alternative is to apply therapeutic-court principles and methods in conventional settings. Beginning in 2004, interviewers conducted 116 formal interviews with stakeholders and policymakers involved in the Anchorage Wellness Court and other therapeutic courts. 54 references and appended methodology and annotated bibliography

Date Published: January 1, 2008