Newsletter
January 2022
What's Happening at NDCRC?
The NDCRC had a busy 2021 with the launch of our interactive maps, our Resources by Team Role and Publications databases, and getting to meet with practitioners during RISE21! We’re excited to continue bringing you new resources in 2022 with a new podcast series on treatment court team roles, publishing of the Painting the Current Picture monograph, and the next edition of the Drug Court Review journal.
Justice To Healing Episode 12, "State of the Field: Veterans Treatment Courts" Available Now!

Our latest installment of the State of the Field series on the Justice To Healing podcast features hosts Kristen DeVall, Ph.D. and Christina Lanier, Ph.D. as they welcome Dr. Julie Baldwin, Research Professor in the Department of Justice, Law, and Criminology at American University, for discussion regarding the state of veterans treatment courts (VTCs). Listen as they discuss the history of VTCs, the differences between adult drug court and veterans treatment court, target population, risk assessment tools, challenges among programs, research, and much more.
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.
Trauma-Informed Spaces and Courtrooms

By Dr. Sally MacKain & Dr. Kristen DeVall

When you go into a court you don’t know what’s going on because you’re terrified. There are guns, they’ve got you chained up, and you’re under the influence. All these things are happening at once. — Trauma Survivor (SAMHSA et al., 2013).

People who have experienced trauma can be easily and suddenly overwhelmed, hypersensitive to sounds, confined spaces and objects. They may reflexively respond to these as life-threatening and can’t attend to or remember essential court proceeding or treatment-related information.

The field of Environmental Psychology studies how the physical environment, such as building design, floorplans, signage, and other features of buildings impact our behavior. Designs that provide privacy and a sense of safety are ideally suited for people who have experienced trauma (Garcia, 2020).

Of course, few courts, probation departments, treatment providers, etc. have the luxury of designing their own buildings. However, SAMHSA and other collaborators (2013) compiled tips for treatment court professionals that can help prevent or offset negative impacts of these often-intimidating spaces and promote a sense of safety and respect in participants. They highlight aspects of the physical environment that treatment courts can consider without great expense or delay.

Does your courtroom have seating that provides easy access to aisles and exits? If not, can seats be reserved near aisles? Where does the judge sit? DO they loom above the court, making eye contact and respectful connection difficult? Are people placed in handcuffs and shackled where all in attendance can see? Are the bathrooms where drug tests take place well lit? Is there a space where people can get some privacy if they need a space to calm down? Is the signage posted respectful? OR does it just instruct people what NOT to do?

The article provides a table that describes potential triggers in the environment, the possible reactions of a trauma survivor, and a more trauma-informed approach that treatment courts may take. According to Garcia (2020), “The goal of trauma-informed design is to create environments that promote a sense of calm, safety, dignity, empowerment, and well-being for all occupants. These outcomes can be achieved by adapting spatial layout, thoughtful furniture choices, visual interest, light and color, art, and biophilic design.” It would behoove treatment court teams to assess the physical spaces where participants engage in program-related activities with a critical eye toward minimizing trauma.



References

Garcia, A.M. (September 4, 2020). Empathy in Architecture: Using Trauma-Informed Design to Promote Healing. Environments 4 Health Architecture. https://e4harchitecture.com/empathy-in-architecture-using-trauma-informed-design-to-promote-healing/

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA’s National Center on Trauma-Informed Care and SAMHSA’s National GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice, (2013). Essential Components of Trauma Informed Judicial Practice. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://www.nasmhpd.org/sites/default/files/DRAFT_Essential_Components_of_Trauma_Informed_Judicial_Practice.pdf
Funding Opportunities

The Coordination Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS) provides federally recognized tribes and tribal consortia an opportunity to apply for funding to aid in developing a comprehensive and coordinated approach to public safety and victimization. Purpose Area 8 (PA #8) is specific to Juvenile Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts, with funding provided by OJJDP. For assistance in completing this application, attend one of DOJ CTAS webinars.

Closing Date: March 15, 2022
Posting Date: December 14, 2021
TTA Collaborative Updates
The Training & Technical Assistance (TTA) Collaborative comprises four entities: The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), Center for Court Innovation (CCI), Tribal Law & Policy Institute (TLPI), & the National Drug Court Resource Center (NDCRC). Monthly updates from our TTA Collaborative partners are featured below.
Tribal Law & Policy Institute
On behalf of the TLPI Staff and Board of Directors, we wish you a Happy Winter Solstice and Holidays. As we move into the New Year, we are reflecting on an incredible 25 years of service to Indian country. Thank you for joining us on this journey. We honor you for being a good relative and helping to work towards our vision of a future that ensures the safety and wellbeing of Native women, children, and LGBTQ relatives, as well as uplifting and preserving culture. In the spirit of giving and being a good relative, we hope you will join us in a final year end effort to raise $5,000 for five Native organizations doing incredible work in Indian Country. Our growth and impact in Indian country is only possible with this community of relatives and friends. Have a blessed New Year!

In community,

The Tribal Law and Policy Institute
Center for Court Innovation

With the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, courts across the country shifted urgently to remote, rather than in-person, operations. It amounted to an unprecedented large-scale experiment. As courts prepare for a post-pandemic future, we looked in depth at both the harms of remote justice and at which practices might be worth continuing, with the overall goal of promoting fairness and equity for people facing charges and crime victims alike, and decreasing the use of incarceration.

Using New York City as a case-in-point, and drawing on interviews with a range of court-based actors, the report makes ten principal recommendations relevant to courts across the country—everything from reinstituting in-person arraignments as soon as possible, to maintaining at least some forms of remote supervision, while addressing inequities related to access to technology.
National Association of Drug Court Professionals
NADCP is Now Accepting Applications for Standard IV

NADCP is now accepting applications for training on Standard IV of the Adult Drug Court Best Practice Standards: Incentives, Sanctions, and Therapeutic Adjustments (ISTA). Designed to provide knowledge and skills practice, the ISTA training will help treatment court teams coordinate an effective, research-based strategy and integrated response to participant behaviors and compliance. Over the course of two days, your team will receive instruction in the theory and application of behavior modification principles as they apply to an effective treatment court. The application deadline is Friday, January 28, 2022.
Equity and Inclusion Training, based on NADCP's Adult Drug Court Best Practice Standard II, is designed for jurisdictions interested in addressing racial disparities and bias to ensure equivalent access, retention, treatment, incentives and sanctions, and dispositions. Applicants must have commitment from their full, multidisciplinary team to be considered. The application deadline is Friday, December 17, 2021.
Featured Tribe
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
Established in 2009, The Waabshki-Miigwan (White Feather) Program is the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Adult Healing to Wellness Court (HWC). It is a collaborative partnership among the community, service providers, court and adults with substance abuse challenges in order to restore holistic balance using Odawa values and teachings in order to ignite healing and rehabilitation. Learn more about the structure of this HWC and their relationship with the state of Michigan.
In Other News
The Ohio Supreme Court’s Office of Court Services has designed an app called “OH VTC Statewide.” Its purpose is to provide tools for Veterans Treatment Court teams, certification guidance, contact information, training notices, and other resources.
 
When Oregon implemented its new drug reform policy, it reduced drug possession to a ticketable offense, while in many other states, it remains a felony charge. The Chicago Sun-Times interviewed several stakeholders (including NDCRC Advisory Board Member John Haroldson) and citizens who have been affected by this policy to evaluate positive and negative outcomes, including the changes to path to treatment for those affected by substance use disorders.

With funding from the American Rescue Plan, the US Department of Health and Human Services has announced an opportunity for states to expand their Medicaid options to include access to community-based crisis intervention resources for people with mental health and substance use disorders.