Should Problem Solving Courts be Solution-Focused Courts?
Revista Juridica Universidad de Puerto Rico, Forthcoming
47 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2010 Last revised: 22 Jul 2013
Date Written: December 13, 2010
Drug courts, family violence courts, mental health courts, community courts and variations of these courts have commonly been considered to be problem-solving courts. Implicit in the concept of and literature on these courts is the idea that it is the court that solves participants’ problems, often with the assistance of a multi-disciplinary team. However behavioral science research suggests that positive behavioural change involves the individual’s own internal processes and actions, albeit often assisted by treatment and support services. Rather than seeking to solve participants’ problems, these courts should be taking a solution-focused approach, supporting participants’ own change processes and facilitating their involvement with treatment and support agencies as needed. Such an approach avoids coercion and paternalism, promotes participant involvement in decision making and problem-solving concerning their rehabilitation, uses persuasion and motivational interviewing techniques where appropriate and supports participant self-efficacy. This approach is more likely to promote long-lasting behavioral change than a problem-solving approach. However further research is needed concerning the efficacy of particular judicial processes in these courts.
Keywords: drug courts, problem-solving courts, family violence courts, community courts, mental health courts, mental health, offenders, criminal law, paternalism
JEL Classification: I00, I30, I31, K00, K1, K14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation