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The Politics of Problem-Solving: An Overview of the Origins and Development of Therapeutic Courts

McCoy, Candace
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) American Criminal Law Review. 40: 1513-1534.

Therapeutic justice, according to Candace McCoy, is a growing intellectual and socio-political movement. It has diverse sources, influences, and goals. Perhaps because of this, there are conflicting opinions about what the goals of therapeutic justice are and what would constitute success in achieving them. Hence, McCoy submits that it is time to think carefully about the various strands of political opinion and criminological theory that come together in the development of therapeutic courts. In this paper then, McCoy examines, with awareness of the history of various criminal justice and court reforms in recent decades, what problem is meant to be solved in a problem-solving or therapeutic court, and what methods are to be used in addressing the problem. Her point is that there must be agreement on these matters before any meaningful reforms may be implemented and evaluated.


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