Specialized Courts

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.​

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.]

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Other NIJ projects in this area include:

Date Modified: August 5, 2016​