December 2020
What's Happening at NDCRC?
New Features! Announcements and Blog

The NDCRC is excited to announce the addition of two new pages on our website! Visit the Announcements page for more details on upcoming events, webinars, and celebrations for the NDCRC and partner agencies. In addition, we've added the NDCRC Blog, featuring Beyond the Field resources, behind-the-scenes podcast peeks, podcast commentary, and more!

Episode 2 of Justice to Healing Released

The second episode of the Justice to Healing podcast will be available this week! Special guest Michelle Gunn joins Dr. DeVall and Dr. Lanier to discuss the importance and use of language in recovery and translating related research data into actionable goals. Listen now on streaming services and the NDCRC website.

As always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with the NDCRC. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for all of our webinar recordings and other videos.
Beyond the Field
Each month the NDCRC will feature a topic relevant to the work of treatment courts. This information is designed to give you “food for thought” regarding your treatment court program's structure and operations and provide supporting multimedia resources.
Therapeutic Jurisprudence & Empathy

by Dr. Kristen DeVall

It is widely acknowledged that therapeutic jurisprudence serves as the theoretical foundation for the treatment court model. This perspective “seeks to assess the therapeutic and anti-therapeutic consequences of law and how it is applied. It also seeks to affect legal change designed to increase the former and diminish the latter.” (Winick and Wexler, 2015:479). Treatment court scholars and practitioners recognize that treatment courts stand in stark contrast to traditional criminal courts in how they are structured as well as how they operate. Winick and Wexler (2015) assert that “an important insight of therapeutic jurisprudence is that, how judges and other legal actors play their roles has inevitable consequences for the mental health and psychological well-being of the people with whom they interact” (481). One strategy for putting therapeutic jurisprudence into practice is through the practice of empathy. Empathy is defined as “the ability to see a situation from someone else’s perspective—combined with the emotional capacity to understand and feel that person’s emotions in that situation.” (Colby, 2012:1945)

Drug Court Key Component #7 and Adult Best Practice Standard #3 highlight the critical role of judges in treatment courts and specifically the interaction between judges and participants during court review hearings. More specifically,

Judges…need to understand how to convey empathy, how to recognize and deal with denial, and how to apply principles of behavioral psychology and motivation theory. They need to understand the psychology of procedural justice, which teaches that people appearing in court experience greater satisfaction and comply more willingly with court orders when they are given a sense of voice and validation and treated with dignity and respect. (Winick and Wexler, 2015:482)

While judges are integral to the success of any treatment court program, less is written about the specific role of other interdisciplinary team members (e.g. prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, case manager, law enforcement, etc.) in adopting the principles of therapeutic jurisprudence in their work. It is vital for all treatment court team members to practice empathy when interacting with program participants. The below-listed multimedia resources provide additional insight into how treatment court practitioners can practice empathy within their work. According to scholar Jamil Zaki “empathy is like a skill. It's like a muscle. We can practice it like any other skill and get better at connecting with people” (Young, 2020).

Winick, Bruce J. and Wexler, David B. (2015) "Drug Treatment Court: Therapeutic Jurisprudence Applied," Touro Law Review: Vol. 18: No. 3, Article 6. p. 479-486.

Colby, Thomas B., "In Defense of Judicial Empathy" (2012). Minnesota Law Review. 422, p. 1945-2015.

Young, R. (2020, July 09). How Power Erodes Empathy, And The Steps We Can Take To Rebuild It. Retrieved November 25, 2020, from
Monthly Highlights
December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

The NDCRC hosts a repository of resources sorted by court type, including DWI/DUI courts. Explore foundational documents, operational forms, policy and procedure manuals, and participant handbooks here.

Visit the National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC) for more resources and the Impaired Driving Prevention Month toolkit, created by NADCP to help promote your court, engage with the community, and support participants during the holiday season.
TTA Collaborative Updates
National Association of Drug Court Professionals
NADCP is thrilled to announce that the RISE21 website is now live! The world’s preeminent conference on addiction, mental health, and justice reform will be held May 12-15, 2021, just outside Washington, D.C. at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

The education, collaboration, and inspiration found at RISE are needed now more than ever, so we are proceeding with holding RISE21 in person, as planned. We are working closely with the Gaylord and other contracted hotels to ensure appropriate safety protocols are in place. We will continually monitor local, state, and federal health guidelines to ensure they are followed to safeguard the health of all attendees, staff, and exhibitors.
Center for Court Innovation
The Center for Court Innovation, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance, will host the 2020 Community Courts and Public Safety Virtual Conference on Friday, December 4, 2020. Since 2010, the Center for Court Innovation and the Bureau of Justice Assistance have hosted biennial international conferences for community justice practitioners.

Community courts have been committed to harnessing the power of the justice system to address local problems and improve public safety for over 25 years. Contributing to a dynamic national dialogue about justice reform, the conference explores topics such as effective practices to reduce recidivism; addressing challenges at the nexus of homelessness and justice system involvement; building effective community partnerships; incorporating restorative justice into court programs; lessons learned from planning community courts; effective justice system responses to substance use disorder; and the future of community justice.
Tribal Law & Policy Institute
The Tribal Law & Policy Institute maintains a collection of alcohol and substance use resources specifically for tribal court practitioners and tribal law enforcement personnel.
Featured State

Georgia courts found a unified and effective way to manage accountability court programs by establishing the Council of Accountability Court Judges (CACJ). And while most states have a statewide coordinator that executes goals and objectives of these programs, CACJ took it a step further by creating an Executive Director position who, along with dedicated staff, provides to the courts extensive technical assistance, a peer review process, treatment fidelity monitoring, standards and certification, training, grant opportunities, data collection and repository, and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) expansion.

Read more about these changes here.
In Other News
Discovered Benefits of Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy

The Recovery Research Institute has identified evidence-based benefits of internet-delivered cognitive behavior therapy as a treatment option for alcohol use disorders.

Minnesota Makes a Difference

A Duluth court celebrates a DWI court participant rejoining efforts to keep the community safe.

St. Louis County, Minnesota’s DWI court Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program has reduced recidivism by 29% (11% at the county level compared to 40% throughout the state). The county is partnering with NPC Consulting to conduct a more in-depth evaluation; they will potentially expand this program to the rest of Minnesota.