What Are Some Specialized Court Programs?

Our criminal justice system has developed multiple different court programs to help offenders find more lasting and holistic approaches to their criminal problems than just punishment. Some of these programs include drug courts, veteran treatment courts, and problem-solving courts. There are thousands of examples found all over the country, with multiple different organizations involved in the legal process.

Drug courts are designed to help individuals get to the root of their problems by addressing their addictions, not just their criminal behaviors. The idea is that there needs to be a more comprehensive and holistic approach to keeping people from relapsing, from repeating criminal patterns, and from continued recidivism, or recurring jail sentences. Drug courts are problem-solving courts, meaning their focus is on identifying and solving the problems faced by individuals and neighborhoods, rather than uniformly handing down criminal sentencing. Drug courts have a focus on public health, with their approach combining involvement from law enforcement officials, mental health and addiction recovery treatment programs, and social service resources. The idea is to divert people away from recurring patterns of criminal behavior and into recovery programs.

Veteran treatment courts are alternative sentencing programs for veterans struggling with mental illness. Criminal defendants with mental illness are often lacking important recovery strategies, life skills, and emotional coping skills that they need to function in their everyday lives. Their mental health issues can be debilitating and even fatal. Veteran treatment courts operate under the idea that improving people’s mental health outcomes and helping them to heal holistically from mental illness and addiction will make them more likely to avoid criminal behavior in the future. Veterans are given support, helpful networks, and critical resources, all of which bolster their chance of staying sober, healing from their mental health issues, and staying out of the court systems. 

Problem-solving courts, which can include drug courts and other specialized court programs, are diversion programs, meaning their mission is to actively, intentionally divert people away from the issues that are bringing them into the court system in the first place. With problem-solving courts, people are directed towards the resources and programming that can help them avoid problems with the law down the line. Legal issues are often the result of overall life challenges. Problem-solving courts are especially helpful when legal problems, social and societal issues, and life difficulties overlap, and we need support to help us recover and to strengthen our communities.

Riverside Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment center located in Tampa FL offering a full continuum of care for people suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.