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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 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:

Date Created: March 13, 2013