An Exciting Year Ahead

NDCRC in new fiscal year

With the start of the federal fiscal year on October 1, National Drug Court Resource Center (NDCRC) staff are hard at work preparing for the third year of our project. We have a number of exciting activities planned for the coming year. Some of these activities will build on the successes of the past two years while others will be entirely new.

Recognizing the importance of and thirst for veterans treatment court (VTC) specific resources in the field, the first issue of the Drug Court Review under JPO management will focus on VTCs and is expected to be released in November. NDCRC will continue to focus on VTC-specific content in the coming years as these important court programs continue to expand and adapt to the evolving needs of our country’s justice-involved veterans. The second issue of the Drug Court Review – focusing on innovative treatments and approaches – will be entering the peer review process shortly with an expected release in April 2019. The quality of articles submitted to both issues has been excellent, ensuring that the upcoming issues of the Drug Court Review will be valuable to researchers and practitioners alike.

Our annual treatment court survey has split into three distinct surveys this year to better capture the intricacies amongst drug courts, tribal healing to wellness courts, and veterans treatment courts. Our decision to split the survey into three instruments is the result of months of discussions aimed at strengthening the data we receive. One way we hope to use this data is to identify and address gaps in the field, such as the difficulty some VTCs encounter coordinating with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and local VA medical centers. Questions on the tribal healing to wellness court survey have also seen significant changes to best address issues and features unique to those types of programs.

While currently working their way through the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review processes, once fielded, these surveys promise to provide a much-needed glimpse into how these types of treatment courts are operating throughout the country – how they are structured, what type of individuals/offenses/diagnoses are being targeted, and more broadly, how many treatment courts are currently in operation in each state.

NDCRC’s website is continuing to evolve to match the needs of the field. The map of treatment court programs especially has experienced several usability enhancements over the last few months and will continue to grow as more data is available once the annual treatment court surveys have closed. Keep a look out for a major update of our opioid use disorder resource page in the near future as well.

We are excited to continue to expand our development of fact sheets, short videos, podcasts, and interactive webinars in the coming year. The first three episodes of our podcast On the Docket with the National Drug Court Resource Center, focusing on family treatment courts, were so popular that we are continuing the podcast series this year with three more episodes focusing on the ongoing opioid crisis. Part one of Treating the Opioid Crisis is available now on iTunes at https://apple.co/2Qrzhv4. Additional episodes will be available in the coming months. Also being released in the coming months is NDCRC’s first short video. This short video will explain what drug courts are and why they are so valuable in clear and concise form. Practitioners will be able to use the video to educate their local community on the benefits and importance of drug courts.

Recognizing the importance of VTCs, the opioid crisis, and the unique challenges faced by rural treatment courts, NDCRC will be focusing on these topics over the course the coming year. However, as we develop additional content, including podcast episodes and short videos, we want to hear from practitioners about what topics you feel need to be explored, what gaps you see in the field, and what type of content you think would be the most beneficial for us to produce. We welcome any and all suggestions so please don’t hesitate to contact us at ndcrc@american.edu – we’d love to hear from you!

 

Steve Collins is a Senior Program Associate at the Justice Programs Office. He works primarily on the National Drug Court Resource Center.

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