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Specialized Courts

Date Published
March 13, 2013

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

The Specialized or Problem-Solving Court Model

Specialized 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 specialized 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:

National Institute of Justice, "Specialized Courts," March 13, 2013, nij.ojp.gov:
https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/specialized-courts
Date Created: March 13, 2013