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Good Courts: The Case for Problem-Solving Justice

Berman, Greg
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) New York, NY: New Press

This book describes problem-solving courts in America and examines the data supporting their use. During the past decade, public confidence in the American criminal justice system has plummeted. In the wake of public dissatisfaction, the criminal justice system has been quietly undergoing a number of changes ranging from restorative justice practices to specialized, problem-solving courts. The focus of this book is on those problem-solving courts that are changing the way criminal justice is handled in America by addressing the underlying reasons individuals break the law. These alternative courts range from drug courts that mandate substance abuse treatment to domestic violence courts that require offenders to complete intervention and treatment programs. The authors describe problem-solving courts, presenting several different models, and examine the data that has been generated through evaluations of their functioning and outcomes. The authors draw on their experience setting up New York’s Midtown Community Court and the Red Hook Community Justice Center to demonstrate the work of problem-solving courts and how they operate. The authors also recount the stories of four individuals who benefited from a community court, a drug court, and a domestic violence court. The book addresses the issue of fairness within the problem-solving court model, with a focus on the impact these courts have on individual rights. Finally, the future of problem-solving courts is considered as the authors predict that the alternative courts of the future will focus on mental health, gun violence, repeat misdemeanor offenders, probation violators, housing, and community reentry for offenders released from prison. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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