Problem Solving Courts: A Measure of Justice

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9781442200807: Problem Solving Courts: A Measure of Justice
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Problem Solving Courts explores a relatively new approach to criminal justice―one that can have a powerful impact on how convicts connect with their communities. Problem solving courts, born out of the drug court movement in the 1980s, are run by judges who, with the assistance of law enforcement agents and mental health workers, meet with convicts on a weekly basis to talk about their treatment. Treatment programs often include therapy, in addition to the possibility of incarceration or early "parole" in which an offender can complete his or her sentence under the jurisdiction of the court. In this unique collaboration, scholar JoAnn Miller and judge Donald C. Johnson, creators of three successful problem solving courts themselves, address the compelling needs for alternatives to prisons, analyze problem solving courts in depth, and assess the impact problem solving courts can have on convicts and their communities.

Problem solving courts can include: community courts that seek to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods struggling with crime and disorder; drug treatment courts that link addicted offenders to drug treatment instead of incarceration; family treatment courts that seek to stop the cycle of drugs, child neglect, and foster care; and domestic violence courts that emphasize victim safety and defendant accountability.

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About the Author:

JoAnn Miller is associate dean for the College of Liberal Arts and professor of sociology at Purdue University. She is the author of several books, most recently Family Abuse and Violence. She is president (2010) of the Society for the Study of Social Problems and has been the co-creator, with Donald C. Johnson, of problem solving courts.

Donald C. Johnson has implemented and run three problem solving courts in Indiana―one for offenders with mental illness and addictions problems, another for incarcerated felons, preparing to reenter society; and a program for sex offenders. He was three times elected as a superior court judge in Indiana, following a fifteen year legal practice. He was a special agent for the FBI, and served as deputy prosecutor.

Review:

Miller and Johnson's Problem Solving Courts is a fascinating introduction and examination of the possibilities and limitations of problem solving courts as 'blended institutions' that seek to reduce recidivism and protect the community by addressing offenders' underlying behavioral, socio-emotional, and human capital deficits. (Jeffery Ulmer, Penn State University)

Problem solving courts (PSC) have exploded onto the criminal justice scene in the last twenty years....JoAnn Miller and Donald C. Johnson in Problem Solving Courts dig past recidivism studies by reporting their findings from a three-year institutional ethnographic study of three different types of PSCs....The important question they address is, why do some specialty courts seem to work better than others? Miller and Johnson's study helps us understand that the problems faced by PSCs are not just tough-to-reform defendants, but tough-to-reform agencies. (Contemporary Sociology)

The authors present detailed case studies and research showing how the theater of law can provide alternatives to incarceration and end the tragic cycle of recidivism. (Think Magazine, (Purdue University))

This book is creative and fresh in its approach. The authors cover the length and breadth of socio-legal studies related to Problem Solving Courts. By including the voices of repeat offenders, classical social scientists, and cultural giants such as Shakespeare, they go far beyond the conventional. This book poses an intellectual challenge to students, legal practitioners, and social scientists to draw upon a breadth of perspectives in their conception of the justice process. The book provides a behind the scenes look at Problem Solving Courts, and is required reading for anyone interested in understanding contemporary jurisprudence. (Glenn W. Muschert, Miami University, Ohio)

“According to Miller, part of re-entry court’s success was the enthusiasm of everyone involved—for instance, a doctorate student at Purde who was on the team started a reading program for the recently released prisoners”

“Miller said she could count on one hand the number of participants who re-offended. And in those cases, they either violated probation or program rules or committed minor crimes, such as one man found intoxicated and asleep in his vehicle” (Courier–Journal)

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9781442200814: Problem Solving Courts: A Measure of Justice

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