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Challenges in mainstreaming specialty courts.

Bartels, Lorana
June 4, 2015

Source: (2009) Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 383. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.

Problem-oriented justice seeks to incorporate innovative court practices to tackle offenders’ behaviour and problems associated with offending. Over the last decade, the primary means of implementing such practices has been through the development of specialty courts. This paper presents an overview of the challenges associated with implementing aspects of specialty courts in the mainstream criminal justice system. The key issues explored are the need to promote equity of access, resourcing and the role of the judicial officer. Generic court intervention orders, such as the Victorian Court Integrated Services Program, are reviewed and the advantages of such approaches discussed. The paper also explores the means of promoting more cost-effective delivery of justice; the issues that can arise when judicial officers adopt a more therapeutic role in the administration of justice; and the need for comprehensive evaluation of court innovations. Finally, the need for cohesive policies on the development of problem-oriented justice, whether in the mainstream criminal justice system or specialty courts, is examined. (author’s abstract)


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