2 Ways Problem-Solving Courts Are Interrupting the Cycle of Crime

The Northpointe Suite   •   An equivant product

Specialty Courts, Treatment Courts, Mental Health Courts, Drug Courts… whatever the name, the base idea is the same: If you treat the root of a problem, your chances of truly solving that problem can skyrocket.

For administrators, we know this is easier said than done. The need for carefully structured supervision release by a supportive and effective team can be tough to do with shoestring budgets and the collaboration a plan requires. Agencies, service providers and individuals must all play their part to make success a reality. The systemic effects of helping individuals break free from the brutal cycle of criminality addresses incarceration rates over the long-term and lowers the number of those perpetually cycling through the system.

#1. Going Beyond the Obvious

Uncovering and understanding a person’s criminogenic needs is the other part of the equation when dealing with a Risk/Need Assessment. Drawing on the Risk >Need >Responsivity principle, specialty court staff know that need, as opposed to risk alone, is a key factor in building successful treatment plans. Roughly 78% of incarcerated individuals have an underlying issue that impacts or impairs their personal judgment or incentivizes them to break the law.

Meet Jane. Jane gets arrested for stealing, and as her case is assessed and analyzed, it is clear she has a drug problem. If nothing is done to address the drug addiction, as soon as she is released from jail it is highly likely that she will steal again or worse, to ultimately get what she’s after. Without an analysis of her criminogenic needs and an integrated case plan, Jane could become another statistic and a casebook example of an offender who can’t break her cycle of crime.

Going beyond the criminal charges to meet the real person is a must.

#2. Connecting The Data Dots

The data collected with a validated Risk/Need Assessment is invaluable when making decisions regarding supervision and treatment. Without this data, agencies often fall into the trap of over- or under-treating the people they work with. In some cases, individuals receive conditions or treatments that aren’t applicable to them at all, but instead are part of a one-size-fits-all prescriptive model. And it’s even possible that the opportunity to treat someone based on their specific needs is missed entirely because there’s no data available to help direct the treatment plan.

Research shows that accurate, data-driven supervision and integrated case plans that include specific goals, tasks and activities result in better outcomes for people while lessening their chances to reoffend. After all, just because two people commit the same crime and perhaps even share demographical traits does not mean their motivations or needs are at all the same. In fact, the impetus for each offender can be wildly different. This data allows service providers to connect the dots and to deliver the right services to the right person for the right reason.

To learn more about breaking the cycle and how successful solutions are not just scratching the itch of recividism, but wholly alleviating the rash of criminality afflicting many lives today, check out our answer to Specialty Court management.