Problem-solving courts, such as drug courts, mental health courts, and veterans courts, are comprised of teams of specially trained judges, attorneys, probation officers, coordinators, and clinical specialists who provide wrap-around services and intensive monitoring of defendants who are involved with the criminal justice system as a result of substance use, mental health, or co-occurring disorders. By combining access to treatment with court oversight and accountability, problem-solving court participants can achieve and maintain recovery, become contributing members of their communities, and dramatically decrease their risks of recidivism.

Problem-solving courts are specially designated courts, court calendars or dockets which facilitate intensive therapeutic treatment to monitor and assist participants in making positive lifestyle changes and reduce the rate of recidivism. Problem-solving courts are non-adversarial in nature. Problem-solving courts utilize a collaborative, therapeutic approach with justice professionals partnering with community treatment providers to address an individual’s underlying behavioral health issues. Common features of a problem-solving court include, but are not limited to, a designated judge and staff; specialized intake and screening procedures; intense and coordinated treatment procedures administered by a trained multidisciplinary professional team; close evaluation of court participants, including continued assessments and modification of the court requirements and/or use of sanctions, incentives and therapeutic adjustments to address behavior; frequent judicial interaction with participants; less formal court process and procedures; voluntary participation; a low treatment staff-to-client ratio; and additional goals of cost savings and an increase in public safety.