November 2020
What's Happening at NDCRC?
NDCRC Justice to Healing Podcast Cover Art
New! Justice to Healing Podcast

The NDCRC is proud to release the first episode of the original Justice to Healing podcast! This 18-minute segment covers a brief history of treatment courts in the United States and an introduction to the NDCRC. Learn more about our goals for the center, our most pressing research questions, and Dr. DeVall’s and Dr. Lanier’s favorite parts about directing the NDCRC. Let’s continue the conversation on the Justice to Healing board in the NDCRC discussion forum!
Listen here or subscribe on these platforms: Spotify, Apple Podcasts

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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.
Developing Good Habits

by Dr. Kristen DeVall

According to Knottnerus (2005) “. . . daily life is normally characterized by an array of personal and social rituals. Such rituals help create stability to social life while expressing various symbolic meanings that give significance to our actions” (p. 8). Both positive and negative behaviors are part of daily life and when practiced often enough become ritualized. Individuals in recovery often report that certain “people, places, or things” can elicit behavioral responses without conscious awareness or intention. This reality underscores the need for the recovery process and programming to include an emphasis on individuals recognizing negative rituals and replacing them with positive (or prosocial) rituals.

We know from research that this behavioral change must be predicated on a change in attitudes/beliefs, an increase in knowledge regarding the behavior and associated consequences, as well as ample time to practice new behaviors within a structured and supportive environment. Changing ritualized behavior can be a difficult process and feel very foreign no matter how positive the results may be. Researchers, Van de Poel-Knottnerus and Knottnerus (2011), assert that “. . . when patterned, ritualized modes of behavior are severely disrupted, this is a very difficult and problematic situation for human beings” (p. 108). To this end, understanding how ritualized behavior forms, as well as how it can be effectively changed, is central to the work of treatment court practitioners and researchers. Understanding the specific mechanisms by which programs affect behavior change among various target populations, and sub-populations, is crucial to success and sustainability.

We hope the below-listed resources encourage you to take inventory of the ways in which your treatment court program facilitates and supports participants in their work to replace negative habits with positive ones. Also, we hope this information provides you with ideas as to how your program can work to do more in this area. While Dr. Clear’s work is not specific to treatment courts, the ideas are very much applicable to the behavior change process that is central to the treatment court model. The article by Drs. Lanier and DeVall applies Structural Ritualization Theory to adult treatment courts specifically.

Join us on NDCRC’s Beyond the Field discussion board for continued dialogue about how your program facilitates positive habit development among participants and/or ideas you have for doing so.

Creatures of Habit featuring Dr. James Clear on Making Sense with Sam Harris podcast (33 mins.)

Recommended Readings:

Lanier, C. & DeVall, K.E. (2017). How’d You Do It? Applying Structural Ritualization Theory to Drug Treatment Courts. Journal of Drug Issues, 47(2): 289-308. doi: 10.1177/0022042616687119

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Referenced Articles:
Knottnerus, J. D. (2005). The need for theory and the value of cooperation: Disruption and deritualization. Sociological Spectrum, 25, 5-19. doi:10.1080/027321790500130

Van de Poel-Knottnerus, F., & Knottnerus, J. D. (2011). Disruption and deritualization: Concentration camp internment and the breakdown of social order. In J. D. Knottnerus (Ed.), Ritual as a missing link: Sociology, structural ritualization theory and research (pp. 107-131). Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.
Monthly Highlights
2020 National Conference on Juvenile Justice

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) presents the 2020 National Conference on Juvenile Justice, now virtual! Join NCJFCJ November 8-11, 2020 for educational opportunities on gaps in services, research and practice updates, and other hot topics specific to juvenile and youth courts. Learn more and register below.
Series: Integrating a Trauma-Informed Approach in Behavioral Health Settings

Join SAMHSA’s Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network for this 7-week series to improve outcomes for participants who have experienced trauma. Every Tuesday, November 3 - December 15, 2020, review components of and reactions to trauma, trauma-informed practices, and treatment planning for trauma while earning continuing education credits.
TTA Collaborative Updates
National Association of Drug Court Professionals
Veterans Day Toolkit

Help your court recognize Veterans Day, November 11! November is the ideal time for veterans treatment courts to engage their community. The NADCP Veterans Day Toolkit contains a wealth of resources to help you plan and execute events, as well as educate your elected officials and the media on the lifesaving work of your program. Download the toolkit

Closing Soon: Foundational Training for Treatment Courts

Registration closes November 6 for NADCP’s Foundational Training Program for adult drug courts, tribal healing to wellness courts, and veterans treatment courts in 2021. These trainings teach the fundamentals of treatment courts to programs not yet operating, teams that have had significant staff changes, or teams that have never attended an implementation training before. The Foundational Training Program is FREE to courts that apply. Learn more and register.
Center for Court Innovation
Taking Action: Treatment Courts and COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, the whole world was forced to be innovative in the ways we connect with one another. This new publication from CCI highlights some of the unique ways drug courts were able to stay engaged with clients throughout the pandemic. Some of these solutions have been so successful that the courts plan to integrate these practices even after social distancing restrictions have been lifted.
Tribal Law & Policy Institute
TLPI hosted the 10th Annual Tribal Healing to Wellness Court (THWC) Enhancement Training virtually on September 28 - October 2, 2020 with over 600 participants! The agenda, webinar recordings of all Enhancement Training sessions, PowerPoints, and session materials are available at You can view 2012-2019 presentation materials at the Prior Materials page.

TLPI offered 23 workshops in the General Wellness, Juvenile Wellness, Veterans, and Law Enforcement tracks. Tribal and state courts, mental health treatment providers, scholars, researchers, and technical assistance providers came together for issues unique to Indian country including the incorporation of custom and tradition into the phases and peer-to-peer sharing of successful THWC models in operations. 96% of evaluation respondents indicated they learned at least one new skill and 99% said they would attend the training again. 

Join TLPI’s email distribution list for notice of future trainings and events!
Featured State

Ohio is undergoing a major overhaul of its rules for specialized dockets. Language and procedure have been updated to reflect best practice standards, more clearly outline certification requirements, and improve adaptability for the needs of each community. Read more about specialized docket changes in Ohio here.
In Other News
Claremont to Host State's First Family Treatment Court

According to the Union Leader, Sullivan County in New Hampshire recently received a grant of $1.75 million to establish the first family treatment court in the state, with the goal of healing parents and reuniting families.

Veterans Treatment Court Set Up in Otero and Lincoln Counties

The 12th Judicial District Court in New Mexico received a federal grant to establish Veterans Treatment Courts in two counties. For veterans who have given so much, these courts will provide treatment for addiction, important mental health services, and assistance with unemployment and homelessness.