Resource Problem Solving in Therapeutic Courts

Mental Health Law & Policy Journal Vol 2, 117-151 (2013).

35 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2014

Date Written: January 11, 2014


The therapeutic jurisprudence movement began almost twenty-five years ago with the opening of the first drug court in 1989. Since that time, thousands of courts like it and many more incarnations have sprung up around the country. These courts proliferate because they lower recidivism and are often a more affordable and humane alternative to traditional criminal justice. Therapeutic courts are not hard to run successfully if the right elements are in place. However, even when jurisdictions have a compassionate judge, eager participants, a cohesive therapy team, and a supportive community, therapeutic courts may still have difficulty getting started, maintaining continuity, or planning for the future due to uncertainties related to funding and resources.

This article examines the resource and funding challenges that drug and mental health courts face. It discusses the importance of documenting operational costs and the role that diversification of funding plays in the long-term success of therapeutic courts, with an emphasis on how these two practices affect drug courts. The article also focuses on mental health courts and the need for innovation in obtaining resources in communities where they may be lacking. The author hopes by spotlighting therapeutic court challenges and innovation, struggling or new therapeutic courts might develop ideas related to funding and resource acquisition.

Keywords: therapeutic jurisprudence, mental health law, drug courts, mental health courts, criminal law, criminal procedure

Suggested Citation

Peters, Amanda J., Resource Problem Solving in Therapeutic Courts (January 11, 2014). Mental Health Law & Policy Journal Vol 2, 117-151 (2013)., Available at SSRN:

Amanda J. Peters (Contact Author)

South Texas College of Law ( email )

1303 San Jacinto Street
Houston, TX 77002
United States

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