Journal for Advancing Justice Volume I:
"Identifying and Rectifying Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Disparities in Treatment Courts"
Drug treatment courts were created to improve a troubled criminal justice system, not to mirror its worst attributes; yet racial, ethnic, and gender disparities exist in many treatment courts, reflecting and possibly exacerbating systemic injustices for African Americans, Hispanic and Latinx individuals and females, among other groups.
In 2010, the NADCP Board of Directors issued a unanimous resolution directing treatment courts to determine whether racial or ethnic disparities exist in their programs and to take reasonable corrective measures to eliminate any disparities identified. NADCP's Adult Drug Court Best Practice Standards place further obligations on treatment courts to monitor their programs at least annually for evidence of racial or ethnic disparities and to adjust their eligibility criteria, assessment procedures and treatment services as necessary to eliminate detected disparities.
Thus far, progress toward meeting these obligations has been unsatisfactory.
This inaugural issue of the Journal for Advancing Justice is dedicated to understanding and eradicating unfair disparities in treatment courts and the broader justice system. It includes cutting-edge findings from the largest multi-site studies conducted to date on racial, ethnic and gender disparities in treatment courts. In addition, outcomes are reported from experimental and quasi-experimental evaluations of culturally proficient interventions designed to neutralize barriers faced by some racial and ethnic groups in treatment courts and blunt the piercing impact of racial discrimination and implicit cultural biases.
Our hope is that the research findings reported in this journal will aid the treatment court field in meeting its most basic obligations and achieving its highest aspirations.