U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Problem-Solving Courts

Date Published
February 20, 2020

The scope of criminal court research and evaluation has grown with the advent of problem-solving courts. Examples of problem-solving courts include drug courts, domestic violence courts, reentry courts, and veterans treatment courts.

The Problem-Solving Court Model

Problem-solving courts differ from traditional courts in that they focus on one type of offense or type of person committing the crime.

An interdisciplinary team, led by a judge (or parole authority), works collaboratively to achieve two goals:

  • Case management to expedite case processing and reduce caseload and time to disposition, thus increasing trial capacity for more serious crimes.
  • Therapeutic jurisprudence to reduce criminal offending through therapeutic and interdisciplinary approaches that address substance use disorders and other underlying issues without jeopardizing public safety and due process.

The most common problem-solving courts are drug courts, but several other types of programs apply similar approaches to address violent and repeat offending, and returns to incarceration. [Note: Repeat offending is often referred to as "recidivism" in criminal justice research.]

Learn more about:

Other NIJ projects in this area include:

Date Published: February 20, 2020