October 2021
What's Happening at NDCRC?
Justice To Healing Episode 9, "State of the Field: Mental Health Courts" Available Now!

Hosts Kristen DeVall, Ph.D. & Christina Lanier, Ph.D. welcome Lisa Callahan, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate at Policy Research Associates, for a deep dive into the state of mental health courts (MHC). Listen in as they touch on the unique qualities of mental health courts, ideal program structure, the use of incentives and sanctions in MHCs, measuring success, tips for implementation, and much more.
Drug Court Review

Researchers, don’t miss your chance to be featured in the 2022 volume of the Drug Court Review! The journal invites submission of manuscripts focusing on topics relevant to the treatment court field; this year’s theme is Equity and Inclusion. Please note that the author guidelines have been updated. More details are available on the NDCRC website.
Do Better Update!

Follow our social media accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube to learn more about our website's resources that can help you and your team Do Better! If a resource is especially helpful, we encourage you to share it on our Do Better commitment board, and as always, let us know how the NDCRC can help you Do Better!
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.
How do We Know if a Therapy is Culturally Relevant?

Sally MacKain, PhD; Director of Clinical Treatment

Innovations like NADCP’s Equity and Inclusion Tool make it easier for treatment courts to “Do Better” to determine if their policies and procedures reduce racial, ethnic, and cultural disparities. But what about therapies? Are evidence-based interventions, say motivational interviewing (MI), equally relevant and effective for diverse populations?  

No. The field has been slow to address this problem, but researchers have attempted to adapt existing, effective therapies to make them relevant for diverse clients. For example, Karen Chen Osilla and colleagues developed a web-based MI intervention in English and Spanish to improve the outcomes of Latino first-time DUI clients, (Osilla et al., 2012). They used a strategy called formative iterative evaluation, a multistep process, to assure the MI intervention content and delivery were responsive to linguistic and cultural needs. 

First, MI researchers and health literacy experts for Latino & Spanish populations created an in-person MI intervention tailored to first-time DUI clients. Next, they conducted focus groups with clinicians and clients to determine what changes were needed. Then, they adapted the in-person MI intervention to an interactive web format in both English and Spanish. Finally, they tested it again to gather more feedback about its usability and cultural fit. 

The developers made changes, such as translating idioms (“getting high”) and adding examples of ways that drinking could negatively affect family and friends. They integrated feedback on social and family values-related themes, adding “drinking with friends” as a reason to drink, “being a good role model” as a reason to stop drinking, and “not meeting family responsibilities or disappointing family/children” as negative consequences of drinking (p. 197). At the final test of the web-based format, clients who spoke only Spanish (compared to English-only and bilingual clients) “reported feeling less embarrassment, shame and discomfort with the web-MI” (p.199). 

A later study of the intervention found it was likely not long or intensive enough to make a lasting impact, at least on its own. However, the study provides a sound example of a systematic, collaborative approach to developing effective multicultural therapies. Clearly, treatment court staff and providers cannot afford to wait for intervention research to catch up with the demand for culturally relevant therapies. In the meantime, we can remember that treatments are not “one-size fits-all,” and ask clients--especially those from diverse backgrounds--whether they feel respected, a sense of belonging, and if the therapy is actually helping, throughout their treatment court experience.

Osilla, K.C, D’Amico, E.J., Diaz, C., Lara, M. & Watkins, K.E. (2012). Multicultural web-based motivational interviewing for clients with a first-time DUI offense. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 18 (2) 192-202.
Monthly Highlights

Join SAMHSA’s Prevention Technology Transfer Center Network for webinars and trainings throughout October, including the “Using Data to Tell Your Story: Advancing Prevention Efforts into the Future” series. Be sure to register for the corresponding labs with each session!

Session 1: October 5, 2021 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM ET
Session 2: October 19, 2021 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM ET

Check out the NDCRC calendar for more Substance Abuse Prevention Month events!
TTA Collaborative Updates
The Training & Technical Assistance (TTA) Collaborative comprises four entities: The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), Center for Court Innovation (CCI), Tribal Law & Policy Institute (TLPI), & the National Drug Court Resource Center (NDCRC). Monthly updates from our TTA Collaborative partners are featured below. 
National Association of Drug Court Professionals
New Training Available!

NADCP's National Drug Court Institute is now offering practitioner training designed exclusively for defense attorneys and prosecutors. New this year, these week-long virtual trainings are facilitated by national experts and offer in-depth education on your specific role in treatment court. These trainings are for anyone currently serving as a defense attorney or prosecutor in treatment court, or an attorney part of a team planning to implement such a program. You will receive dynamic education on the following critical issues:

  • Specific education on your role
  • Ethical and constitutional issues
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Substance use and mental health treatment
  • Other key topics

Plus, you will have opportunities to network with your colleagues, share ideas, ask questions, participate in breakout discussions by court type, and join moderated discussions on burning issues. NADCP will apply for CLE hours for all attendees. Cost is $500 per attendee. Space is limited!
Center for Court Innovation
New Publication Available - Incorporating Medication in Opioid Courts

The Center for Court Innovation, in partnership with the New York State Unified Court System, Office for Justice Initiatives, Division of Policy and Planning, and the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, created this report, which identifies ways for opioid courts and other drug treatment courts to improve access to Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD).

The report shares lessons from opioid court practitioners and their partners about what quality MOUD care, treatment, and use look like; how to promptly identify potential court participants and provide access to MOUD and specialty care; and how to identify and engage MOUD providers. The goal is to inform practitioners in treatment courts as well as partners of the courts, as they seek to improve access to MOUD and other specialty treatment services as part of the criminal legal process.

To produce the findings in this report, the authors conducted in-depth interviews with 40 practitioners from across disciplines, including treatment providers; prescribers; office-based addiction treatment programs; opioid court case managers, coordinators, and project directors; harm reduction specialists; judges; researchers; justice-involved people; and people with lived experience of recovery.
Tribal Law & Policy Institute
TLPI Recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month

In October of 2021, the Tribal Law and Policy Institute will host virtual events in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. These events will focus on approaches that Tribal Wellness Courts can take to address high rates of domestic violence in Native communities.

For event updates, registration, and additional Tribal Healing to Wellness Court information, please join the Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts Mailing List, or contact TLPI at

Information on published resources, the Violence Against Women Act, and Tribal Domestic Violence Dockets, can be found in TLPI’s Tribal Domestic Violence Courts/Docket Brochure.
Featured State
Colorado is currently working on their goal of Mission Educate for 2020-2024 to create an online Learning Management System to provide virtual on-demand training to all problem solving court team members statewide. Colorado Problem Solving Courts also continue to revamp the website to provide information and create a resource and funding guide for all districts. These projects are funded by a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Learn more about the Colorado Problem Solving Courts here.
In Other News
The Washington Courts Gender and Justice Commission has published a 2021 report: How Gender and Race Affect Justice Now. The study reveals that gender does affect how treatment court participants experience the program and includes recommendations for improving these differences. Read the full report here.
Per U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain, the company formerly known as Purdue Pharma will be reorganized into a new company, the profits from which will be used to fund opioid treatment and prevention programs. The Sackler family, former Purdue Pharma owners, have been banned from the opioid business; however, several state courts intend to appeal the decision, citing a need for further punitive action.

The US Government Accountability Office has published a report on the effectiveness of the Veterans Justice Outreach Program which identifies key barriers faced by veterans and ways that Veterans Affairs can improve access for justice-involved veterans. Read the full report here.