May 2021
What's Happening at NDCRC?
You’ve asked, you’ve waited, and it’s finally here!

The new and improved map of treatment courts is available now and reflects the number of courts by state and county as of December 2020. In addition, explore and compare data from the US Census, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and Uniform Crime Report as they relate to the prevalence of treatment courts across the US and territories.
New! Justice to Healing Podcast Mini-series

The Justice to Healing podcast is kicking off National Drug Court Month with the first episode in a seven-part series on the state of the treatment court field. Join NDCRC co-directors Dr. Kristen DeVall and Dr. Christina Lanier with NADCP CEO Carson Fox and COO Terrence Walton as they discuss the history of treatment courts, cost-benefit, equity and inclusion, the importance of the Best Practice Standards, and the state of medication for addiction treatment (MAT). Listen now on all streaming platforms!
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.
Self Determination Theory and Internal Motivation in Treatment Courts

by Sally MacKain, Ph.D., LP

Participant #1: “I entered Treatment Court because I want treatment and a better life for my kids and myself.”

Participant #2: “I entered Treatment Court because I am sick of jail.”

Do clients freely choose to enter a treatment court? The answer is far from simple. Is it a “choice” when the criminal justice system relies on external motivators like incarceration and resulting cascade of losses? Ideally, the choice to enter a treatment court would be an autonomous one that reflects a participant’s internal motivations to live a healthier, more meaningful life. Deci and Ryan’s Self Determination Theory (SDT) holds that internally motivated behaviors are stronger, longer lasting, and produce better outcomes than those that are externally motivated (Deci & Ryan 1985). SDT provides the framework for a number of studies of the impact of treatment courts and other legally mandated programs (e.g. Morse et al., 2014; Wild et al., 2016).

According to SDT, three psychological needs must be met to foster internal motivation and self-determined behavior: Autonomy, Competence and Relatedness. To the extent that treatment courts support these inborn, intrinsic needs, clients are more likely to engage in treatment and maintain gains.

  1. Autonomy is enhanced when clients feel they have options and take responsibility for choices. At intake, staff must make clear the voluntary nature of treatment court programs, especially because the consequences of refusing are often swift and aversive. Does the court notice and consistently praise and encourage values-driven choices, or does it emphasize missteps and sanctions, which detract from autonomy? Motivational Interviewing is a NADCP Best Practice designed to maximize autonomy and minimize coercion.
  2. Competence develops through a focus on skills development, repeated practice, and environmental support. Evidence-based practices such as relapse prevention training and stress management equip clients to face the challenges of recovery. Lapses are viewed as opportunities to refine skills and increase competence.
  3. Relatedness is the need to interact and be connected with others. Through treatment groups and treatment court membership, clients give and receive support, which is both healing and crucial to problem solving and competence.

While Client #1 seems more internally motivated and ready to engage, research indicates that Client #2 also has the potential to succeed in treatment court. SDT holds that over time, externally motivated behaviors can transition to become internally motivated. This process is at the heart of therapeutic jurisprudence.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. Toronto: New York: Plenum Press.

Morse, D. S., Cerulli, C., Bedell, P., Wilson, J. L., Thomas, K., Mittal, M., Lamberti, J. S., Williams, G., Silverstein, J., Mukherjee, A., Walck, D., & Chin, N. (2014). Meeting health and psychological needs of women in drug treatment court. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 46(2), 150–157.

Wild, C., Yuan, Y., Rush, B.R. & Urbanski, A. (2016). Client engagement in legally mandated addiction treatment: A prospective study using Self-Determination Theory. Journal of Substance Use Treatment, 69, 35-43.
Monthly Highlights
May is National Drug Court Month

NADCP's National Drug Court Month Toolkit is here to assist you with planning safe and fun events that capture the attention of your community. The toolkit is full of tools for professionals including tips for reaching local media, social media templates and more! Download the toolkit and don’t forget to upload your National Drug Court Month photos and media so we can share!
TTA Collaborative Updates
National Association of Drug Court Professionals
NADCP Launches E-Learning Center

NADCP's new online learning hub provides self-paced training courses designed to be engaging and informative to practitioners at any experience level. All courses offered in the NADCP E-Learning Center are FREE and led by renowned experts in the treatment court field. New courses will be added throughout 2021 and beyond. Get started expanding your treatment court knowledge today!
Become an NADCP Mentor Court

NADCP is seeking exemplary treatment court programs to join our national network of mentor courts. If you think your program exhibits the best qualities of the treatment court model, apply now to be a mentor court! Visit the application page to learn more about the requirements and benefits of becoming a mentor court. Before applying, watch an informational webinar recording with National Drug Court Institute Director Vanessa Price and current mentor courts.
Center for Court Innovation
For many courts, the hardest Key Component to follow is number 10: Monitoring and Evaluation, especially at a statewide level. It can be difficult to justify the time, staff, and funding involved in implementing a statewide tracking system. In “Developing a Statewide Drug Court Data Tracking System: The Why, What, & How of It,” The Center for Court Innovation outlines the importance of such systems, what they should include, and how the data collected can be used.
Tribal Law & Policy Institute

June 21-25, 2021

The Tribal Healing to Wellness Court Virtual Enhancement Training is a tribal-specific national training for tribal problem-solving courts. TLPI is pleased to offer four separate tracks in this year's curriculum: Adult Wellness Courts, Juvenile Wellness Courts; Family Wellness Courts; and Veteran’s Courts. Sessions addressing Law Enforcement's Role, and Case Management will also be included.

The Training will be oriented around the Tribal Ten Key Components and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) National Drug Court Standards. The Enhancement Training focuses upon tribal issues, including jurisdictional and legal issues unique to Indian country; the incorporation of custom and tradition into the phases, case management, treatment curriculums, and tangential services; and the peer-to-peer sharing of successful Healing to Wellness Courts models in operations. Training topics will cover the adult criminal, juvenile delinquency, family dependency, DWI/DUI, and veterans models.

The Enhancement Training is free to all participants. A digital copy of all training materials, including publications, handouts and session PowerPoint presentations, will be available on the virtual training space and available to all attendees at after the event. You can view 2012-2020 presentation materials at our Prior Materials page.
Featured State
Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico established its first three specialized drug courts in 1996. Since then, the program has expanded to ten of the thirteen judicial regions in the island. To date, over 7,500 participants have completed the Program. While the COVID-19 pandemic threatened the continuity of services, the Puerto Rico judicial branch quickly developed guidelines and protocols to maintain continuity of services, which are available in Spanish here.

Read more about Puerto Rico’s 2020 innovations and process implementations here. The Hon. Rosa del Carmen Benítez Álvarez is an Administrative and Drug Court Judge for the region of Carolina. The ideas, views and opinions in this article may not necessarily represent the official position of the Judicial Branch, pursuant to Canon 24 of local Judicial Ethics.
In Other News
After a record number of drug overdose deaths in the US between September 2019 and August 2020, the CDC and SAMHSA announced that federal funds may be used to purchase fentanyl test strips (FTS). “FTS can be used to determine if drugs have been mixed or cut with fentanyl, providing people who use drugs and communities with important information about fentanyl in the illicit drug supply so they can take steps to reduce their risk of overdose.”

The state of Washington is taking steps toward decriminalizing drug possession after the state Supreme Court February decision in State v. Blake, ruling that it is unconstitutional to charge a person with a felony if they did not know they were possessing illegal substances. The state Senate is now moving to treat drug possession as a misdemeanor rather than a felony; the bill also “requires prosecutors to divert first- and second-time violations for possession of a controlled substance into drug-treatment programs.”