American Judges Association



Greg Berman

Date of this Version

October 2002


Published in Court Review: The Journal of the American Judges Association, 39:3 (2002), pp. 4-13. Copyright © 2002 National Center for State Courts. Used by permission. Online at


Drug courts are the most prominent example of a wave of “problem-solving” innovation that has sought to change the way courts operate in this country. Alongside drug courts, domestic violence courts, community courts, family treatment courts, mental health courts, and other specialized courts are using the authority of the judicial branch in new ways—in an effort to improve outcomes for victims, communities, and defendants. These problem-solving courts employ new tools and new methods— such as requiring defendants to appear regularly before judges to report on their compliance with court orders, or adding social scientists, drug treatment counselors, and other service providers to the courtroom team.

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