Drug Courts: Fair Courts?

PageServletWork in the School of Human Services Professions allows us wonderful opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. Beyond this, students dually enrolled in programs at Widener, such as PsyD and Criminal Justice or MSW and Human Sexuality, also have the opportunity to do work at the intersection of different disciplines. For example, Parent Coordination, a non-adversarial process that seeks to lessen the impact of high-conflict custody disputes through parent education, mediation, conflict resolution and intensive case management, has developed at the intersection of the law and mental health fields. Drug Courts, specialty courts that handle cases involving substance-abusing offenders through comprehensive supervision, drug testing, treatment services and immediate sanctions and incentives, are another example of a field at the intersection of multiple disciplines.  These courts provide individuals facing criminal charges for drug use and possession an opportunity to enter a substance abuse recovery program in lieu of straight jail time.  Judges, attorneys, case managers, therapists, drug counselors and others all work together with clients to aid in recovery. Over the years, some have claimed that drug courts are biased in their work with minority clients, that minority clients are under represented in the cases that are sent to drug court or overly sanctioned by drug court professionals when they are participants.   These allegations are largely unfounded, but read the following to see for yourself what the science shows:

Achieving Racial and Ethnic Fairness in Drug Courts

Elisabeth N. Gibbings, Psy.D.