Drug Court Research
- Tribal-Specific Healing to Wellness Court Research
- Drug Court Research
- American Indians/Alaska Natives and Substance Abuse
- Restorative Justice
Healing to Wellness Courts: Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Joseph Thomas Flies-Away & Carrie E. Garrow, 2013 Mich St. L. Rev. 403 (2013).
This law review article by two experienced Healing to Wellness Court Judges and technical assistance providers explores Healing to Wellness Courts as a less adversarial approach concerned with healing (treatment), personal responsibility, and accountability. Part I defines Healing to Wellness Courts as tribal renditions of drug courts and describes the connection to therapeutic justice. Part II describes and discusses plus (+) spirituality. Part III depicts the correlation between Healing to Wellness Courts and human rights. Finally, Part IV contends that tribal governments and the federal government must support, build, and systematically institutionalize Healing to Wellness Courts.
Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts: Needs Assessment Report - (2010) - As part of a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to provide training and technical assistance for Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts, the Tribal Law and Policy Institute (TLPI) send out a Needs Assessment Survey in November of 2009. The survey was sent to over 90 tribes that either currently have an active Wellness Court, or have had a Wellness Court at some time in the past but it is no longer functioning. Attention was given to ensure that the current 13 BJA Wellness Court grantees completed the survey. The primary purpose of the survey was to gain insight into the most pressing needs among active Wellness Courts, as well as to determine the needs of courts that are no longer functioning, so that TLPI could focus our efforts on the most relevant training and technical assistance. This report summarizes the results of this survey and provides an analysis of the implications for training and technical assistance, BJA, and Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts.
Gottlieb Study - (2005) - The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funded a process and outcome evaluation of the four initial Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts. All six parts of the final report from this 2005 NIJ study are now posted on the National Criminal Justice Reference Service:
- Executive Summary - Provides a detailed overview of this NIJ study. Process and Outcome Evaluations in Four Tribal Wellness Courts, NIJ-Sponsored, December 2005, NCJ 231167.
- Lessons Learned - Provides very helpful "lessons learned" based on the First Four Tribal Wellness Courts, NIJ-Sponsored, December 2005, NCJ 231168.
- Process and Outcome Evaluations of the Blackfeet Alternative Court, NIJ-Sponsored, December 2005, NCJ 231161.
- Process and Outcome Evaluations of the Fort Peck Tribes Community Wellness Court, NIJ-Sponsored, December 2005, NCJ 231162.
- Process and Outcome Evaluations of the Hualapai Wellness Court, NIJ-Sponsored, December 2005, NCJ 231165.
- Process and Outcome Evaluations of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Drug Court, NIJ-Sponsored, December 2005, NCJ 231166.
The Duckwater Shoshone Drug Court, 1997-2000: Melding Traditional Dispute Resolution With Due Process, Ronald Eagleye Johnny. 26 American Indian Law Review 261.
From the perspective of a presiding judge, this article examines the development of the Duckwater Shoshone Drug Court and the similarities between therapeutic jurisprudence and traditional dispute resolution, including from the perspective of federal Indian policy and the overall development of tribal law.
Tribal Judge Statements on Healing to Wellness Courts and Restorative Justice
Healing and Community Justice Policy of the Judicial Branch of the Navajo Nation: Remarks of the Honorable Robert Yazzie, Chief Judge of the Navajo Nation, on Traditional Navajo Peacemaking and its Role in the Current Navajo Judicial System, May 1, 1998.
In this law review article, Justice Yazzie describes the successful role of peacemaking within the Navajo Nation’s court systems. Justice Yazzie describes the program from entry (including the unanticipated number of litigants who entered voluntarily) to due process, to the integration of substance abuse treatment into peacemaking. Justice Yazzie notes, that while the peacemaking court may look like a drug court, it has unique elements as well.
Prepared Statement of Chief Judge Don Sollars, Blackfeet Tribal Court, Submitted to the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs - Tribal Justice Issues Hearing, June 3, 1998.
In this testimony transcript, Judge Don Sollars testifies to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs concerning the development of tribal wellness courts. Tribal courts have historically been under-funded and alcohol and substance abuse cases comprise the majority of tribal court dockets. However, the drug court concept must be adapted for tribal communities. Therefore, Congress needs to (1) increase tribal drug court funding, (2) allow communities the flexibility to develop a program that meets their needs, and (3) provide adequate funding for training and technical assistance.
The Navajo Response to Crime, Honorable Robert Yazzie Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation, prepared remarks for Concepts of Restorative and Reparative Justice, The American Judicature Society session. November 1997.
In this transcript of a talk given at the National Symposium on Sentencing, Chief Justice Yazzie describes traditional dispute resolution at Navajo Nation, including peacemaking and the “traditional probation officer.” These concepts are juxtapositioned against western stereotypes of “wild west” justice, and the opportunity to use traditional methods in modern courts.
The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) is the principal organization of professionals involved in the development and implementation of treatment-oriented drug courts. Organized in 1994, NADCP's members include judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, treatment providers and rehabilitation experts, law enforcement and corrections personnel, educators, researchers, and community leaders. Find more information on NADCP Training and Technical Assistance, News and Events, Publications, Mentor Court Network.
Also see State Drug Court Resources.
Drug Court Standards
The Standards bring to bear over two decades of research on addiction, pharmacology, behavioral health, and criminal justice and include lessons that will not only improve Drug Court, but will help improve the way the entire system responds to offenders living with addiction or mental illness. Volume I standards include target population; historically disadvantaged groups; roles and responsibilities of the judge; incentives, sanctions, and therapeutic adjustments; and substance abuse treatment.
The Standards bring to bear over two decades of research on addiction, pharmacology, behavioral health, and criminal justice and include lessons that will not only improve Drug Court, but will help improve the way the entire system responds to offenders living with addiction or mental illness. Volume II standards include complementary treatment and social services; drug and alcohol testing; multidisciplinary team; census and caseloads; and monitoring and evaluation.
Drug Courts Work
Painting the Current Picture: A National Report on Drug Courts and Other Problem-Solving Courts in the United States, Douglas B. Marlowe, J.D., Ph.D., Carolyn D. Hardin, M.P.A., and Carson L. Fox, J.D. National Drug Court Institute (2016).
Painting the Current Picture is an ongoing series attempting to provide a snapshot of drug courts and other problem-solving courts in the country. Key findings include the interest of numerous and diverse jurisdictions, the higher representation of African-Americans in drug courts than in the general population, and the prevalence of cocaine/crack, alcohol, cannabis, and methamphetamine among drug court participants.
Fact Sheet--Drug Courts: A Smart Approach to Criminal Justice, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Executive Office of the President (May 2011).
Drug court programs have a tangible effect on criminal recidivism. A study funded by the Department of Justice examined re-arrest rates for drug court graduates and found that nationally, 84% of drug court graduates have not been re-arrested and charged with a serious crime in the first year after graduation, and 72.5% have no arrests at the two-year mark. Additionally, drug courts provided $2.21 in benefits to the criminal justice system for every $1 invested. When expanding the program to all at-risk arrestees, the average return on investment increased even more, resulting in a benefit of $3.36 for every $1 spent.
The Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation, Shelli B. Rossman, M.A. and Janine M. Zweig, Ph.D., NADCP Need to Know (May, 2012).
In 2011, this evaluation compared the longitudinal process, impact, and cost evaluation of 23 adult state drug courts. The evaluation sought answers to "do drug courts work?" and "for whom do drug courts work best?" Additionally, the comparison revealed several best practices and recommendations, including highlighting the importance of the role of the judge, sanctions and incentives, and case management.
Assessing the Effectiveness of Drug Courts on Recidivism: A Meta-Analytic Review of Traditional and Non-Traditional Drug Courts, Ojmarrh Mitchell, David B. Wilson, Amy Eggers, Doris L. MacKenzie, Journal of Criminal Justice 40 (2012) 60-71.
The vast majority of adult drug court evaluations, even the most rigorous evaluations, find that participants have lower recidivism than non-participants. The average effect of participation is analogous to a drop in recidivism from 50% to 38%; and, these effects last up to three years. Evaluations of DWI drug courts find effects similar in magnitude to those of adult drug courts, but the most rigorous evaluations do not uniformly find reductions in recidivism. Juvenile drug courts have substantially smaller effects on recidivism. Larger reductions in recidivism were found in adult drug courts that had high graduation rates, and those that accepted only non-violent offenders.
The Verdict on Drug Courts and Other Problem-Solving Courts, Douglas B. Marlowe, J.D., Ph.D., 2.1 Chapman Journal of Criminal Justice, 57 (2011).
This law review article by well-known drug court research Dr. Douglas Marlowe, reviews current research findings on the effects of drug courts for drug-abusing or addicted individuals involved with the justice system. Dr. Marlowe attempts to place scientific standards of proof in a context of legal burdens of proof in order to find common ground between legal and scientific standards for judging the merits of court-based treatment programs.
Research Updates on Adult, DWI, Juvenile, and Family Drug Courts
Research Update on Family Drug Courts, Douglas B. Marlowe, J.D., Ph.D., and Shannon M. Carey, Ph.D., NADCP Need to Know (2012).
This small summary provides a review of the research currently conducted on family drug courts, including their effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, target population, and best practices.
Research Update on Adult Drug Courts, Douglas B. Marlowe, J.D., Ph.D., NADCP Need to Know (2010).
This small summary provides a review of the research currently conducted on adult drug courts, including their effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, target population, fidelity to the ten key components, and recommendations.
Research Update on Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts, Douglas B. Marlowe, J.D., Ph.D., NADCP Need to Know (2010).
This small summary provides a review of the research currently conducted on juvenile drug courts, including their effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and recommendations.
Research Update on DWI Courts, Ashlet Harron, J.D., Psy.D., National Association of Drug Court Professionals, and Judge J. Michael Kavanaugh (Ret.), National Center for DWI Courts, The Bottom Line, National Center for DWI Courts (2015).
This small summary provides a review of the research currently conducted on DWI courts, including their effects of recidivism,duration of effects, motor vehicle crashes, and cost-effetiveness.
National Drug Court Institute's (NDCI) Adult Drug Court Best Practices Standards, Vol. I, (2013). Adult Drug Court Best Practices Standards, Vol. II, (2014).
After ten years of research through a multi-disciplinary committee, NADCP has developed standards of practice. They define the bounds of acceptable and exceptional practices of drug courts, aimed towards giving guidance as to how to operationalize the 10 key components. These standards include target population; historically disadvantaged groups; roles and responsibilities of the judge; incentives, sanctions, and therapeutic adjustments; and substance abuse treatment. Appendices include validated risk and need assessment tools.
Quality Improvement for Drug Courts: Evidenced Based Practices, Carolyn Hardin, M.P.A. and Jeffrey N. Kushner, M.A., NDCI Monograph Series 9 (2008).
In an effort to meld all of the available research on drug courts to guide drug courts in their efforts to increase retention and graduation rates. Evidence-based practice topics includes screening, evaluating treatment, relapse prevention therapy, medication-assisted treatment, cultural competency, co-occurring disorders, gender-responsive drug treatment, case management, motivational incentives, and application of sanctions.
Evidenced-Based Sentencing for Drug Offenders: An Analysis of Prognostic Risks and Criminogenic Needs, Douglas B. Marlowe, J.D., Ph.D., 1 Chapman Journal of Criminal Justice 167 (2009).
This law review article explores the array of sentencing options that will optimize outcomes for substance-abusing offenders at the least cost to taxpayers and with the least threat to public safety. Dr. Marlowe then advocates for drug courts as an evidence-based sentencing that attempts to match drug offenders to dispositions that optimally balance impacts on costs, public safety, and the welfare of the offender. Dr. Marlowe then offers specific recommendations for the clinical and supervisory interventions that should be included in sentencing orders for each offender subtype.
Helpful Link: SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices
The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) is a searchable online database of mental health and substance abuse interventions. All interventions in the registry have met NREPP’s minimum requirements for review and have been independently assessed and rated for Quality of Research and Readiness for Dissemination. The purpose of NREPP is to help the public learn more about available evidence-based programs and practices and determine which of these may best meet their needs.
Rural Drug Court Issues
Webinar: Drug Court Treatment Issues in Rural America, School of Public Affairs, American University, Originally Aired on January 29, 2014.
Questions and Responses from Drug Court Treatment Issues in Rural America webinar.
American Indians/Alaska Natives and Substance Abuse
See also Alcohol and Drug-Specific Research
"It Runs in the Family": Intergenerational Transmission of Historical Trauma Among Urban American Indians and Alaska Natives in Culturally Specific Sobriety Maintenance Programs, Laurelle L. Murha, MS, LMFT, 18, 2 American Indian and Alaska Native Health Research 17 (2011).
The aim of this exploratory study, which was informed by ethnrographic principles, was to better understand the intergenerational transmission of historical trauma among urban American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) in culturally specific sobriety maintenance programs. The results of the study were organized into 3 overarching categories, which included 10 themes that emerged contextually in relation to participants' lived experiences of historical and associated traumas, substance abuse, and current involvement in a culturally specific sobriety maintenance program.
Promising Practices and Strategies to Reduce Alcohol and Substance Abuse Among American Indians and Alaska Natives, American Indian Development Associates, prepared for the Office of Justice Programs (Aug. 2000).
While the impact of alcohol is devastating, recent research sheds light on our understanding of alcohol abuse among American Indian tribes. Fewer Indian people drink and they drink less than non-Indian people do. The most successful intervention and prevention programs build upon local tribal values and traditions. This publication includes promising practices that highlight effective solutions developed within the tribal community that combine western and traditional approaches, building upon the strengths of the respective Indian communities. Sections describes the efforts of nine different tribal and non-tribal programs working with Indian people in various settings. Section II provides a very brief summary of the literature about alcohol and substance abuse among American Indian and Alaska Natives. Section III provides ample information to find resources for funding, technical assistance and training, web sites, and accessing educational materials and publications.
The Implications of Cultural Orientation for Substance Abuse Among American Indians, Mindy Herman-Stahl, Ph.D., Donna L. Spencer, M.A., and Jessica E. Duncan, M.P.H., 11, 1 American Indian and Alaska Native Health Research 46 (2002).
American Indians were interviewed about their participation in traditional culture and their substance use behaviors. Analyses indicated that cultural orientation differed by age and employment status. Bicultural or less Indian oriented individuals were more likely to misuse alcohol than their more Indian oriented counterparts. The implications of cultural orientation for substance use behaviors are discussed. The need for more precise conceptualization and measurement of acculturation is recommended.
Practice-Informed Approaches to Addressing Substance Abuse and Trauma Exposure in Urban Native Families Involved with Child Welfare, Lucero, N.M., & Bussey, M., 94(4), Child Welfare League of America, 97-117 (2015).
Practice-based evidence indicates that the trauma-informed and culturally responsive model developed by the Denver Indian Family Resource Center (DIFRC) shows promise in reducing out-of-home placements and re-referrals in urban Native families with substance abuse and child welfare concerns, while also increasing caregiver capabilities, family safety, and child well-being. This article provides strategies from the DIFRC approach that non-Native caseworkers and supervisors can utilize to create an environment in their own agencies that supports culturally based practice with Native families while incorporating a trauma-informed understanding of service needs of these families.
Expert Working Group Report: Native American Traditional Justice Practices, Maha Jweied, Access to Justice Initiative, U.S. Department of Justice (Sept. 2014).
In April 2013, an Expert Working Group convened on the use of traditional Native American justice interventions to respond to criminal and delinquent behavior. That meeting was held in furtherance of the Tribal Law and Order Act’s mandate that both the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of the Interior work with Tribal court systems to develop a plan to address alternatives to incarceration. This report provides an overview of the Expert Working Group’s discussions and recommendations.
Problem-Solving Justice: Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Public Safety, A White Paper, Hon. Ginger Lerner-Wren, 1 Nova L. Rev. 1 (2013).
A white paper on why criminal justice and public health systems need to work together to reduce recidivism.
Therapeutic Jurisprudence and the Drug Treatment Court Movement: Revolutionizing the Criminal Justice System's Response to Drug Abuse and Crime in America, Notre Dame Law Review, Volume 74 Number 2, January 1999.
This article advocates for drug courts as the jurisprudential foundation of therapeutic justice. This article attempts to give due attention to drug courts, an otherwise neglected field in scholarly academia. The article examines the drug court movement to promote its offering of new tools and methods for dealing with the problems of crime and drug abuse, with the ultimate hope of encouraging wider application of therapeutic jurisprudence analysis to our current legal systems and practice.
Learn more at Wellness Court Resources