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 offender.
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 addiction 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:
- NIJ’s Multisite Evaluation of Veterans Treatment Courts that examines models (mentoring), processes (participant needs and services), recidivism, and other outcomes. Read the article "Identifying Those Who Served: Modeling Potential Participant Identification in Veterans Treatment Courts," in the inaugural issue of Drug Court Review, published by the National Drug Court Resource Center.
- NIJ’s completed Evaluation of Second Chance Act Adult Reentry Courts that examines program processes, impacts, and costs.
- Past evaluations of two community court programs, see A Community Court Grows in Brooklyn: A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Red Hook Community Justice Center, (Executive Summary) (pdf, 13 pages), and Dispensing Justice Locally: The Impact, Costs, and Benefits of the Midtown Community Court (pdf, 361 pages).