Free Resources

Free Online Courses


Developing a Mental Health Court: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center has produced an interdisciplinary curriculum,  Developing a Mental Health Court,  which brings together national experience and expertise to introduce key concepts for mental health courts and other collaborations between criminal justice and behavioral health systems.  

Justice Response to Elder Abuse

Justice Responses to Elder Abuse is a self-paced course offering a wide array of information and resources to address and reduce elder abuse.  It is designed for use by practitioners and members of the public alike.The course presents the latest research on aging issues, including physical, cognitive and emotional changes that increase an older person’s vulnerability to abuse.  Medical, prosecution and judicial experts explore the dynamics of elder abuse and highlight individual and systemic barriers to effective remedies for victims.  Practitioners in the justice system will discover how specific tools can improve access to justice and enhance outcomes for older victims of abuse.  The course units include a mix of expert presentations and discussions, video clips, interactive exercises and supplemental resources.  We invite you to participate at your own pace.

Different Work - A First Course in Effective Supervision

This self-paced course is designed for new supervisors who want to learn how to become effective managers. Dan Straub takes you step-by-step through a process leading to a foundation of principles that guide you to become effective in your new management role doing “categorically different work.” The course covers topics such as:

  • The Big Picture
  • The Task
  • Effective Communication
  • People Problems and Problem People
  • Building Teams and
  • Managing Performance

Each course module contains media presentations readings and selfassessment questions. This course is designed for just those people who otherwise would not get training in this business of management but yet are required to do it effectively.

Participants have access to the course materials for three months from the date of registration.

Register for this course

Writing Opinions and Orders in Controversial Cases

A free online course designed to be relevant to both trial and appellate judges, highlights the importance of writing opinions that foster public trust in and understanding of the judiciary. This course explains specific strategies for writing such opinions.   In addition to a series of video lectures by retired Judge Robert Alsdorf and Professor Nancy Wanderer from the University of Maine School of Law, there is also a roundtable discussion with Judge Alsdorf, Judge Kevin Burke (Hennepin County District Court), and Judge Steve Leben (Kansas Court of Appeals) that covers a wide range of practical topics from anticipating controversy to handling the media to avoiding bias in the opinion.


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New Free Web-based course on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System

The course contains an overview of the National Crime Information Center NCIC database, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993--Brady Act, and the FBIs National Instant Criminal Background Check System--NICS, and the ten federal prohibitors which can disqualify an individual from the purchase or possession of a firearm. Special emphasis has been placed on the protection order prohibition and the criteria that must be satisfied in order to render someone federally prohibited from the purchase or possession of firearms. You have the option to choose between two versions of this course:

  1. Judges Guide to the National Crime Information Centers Protection Order File
  2. A Law Enforcement Guide to the National Crime Information Centers Protection Order File

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Evidence-Based Sentencing to Improve Public Safety and Reduce Recidivism

One of the most important reforms in state sentencing and corrections taking place today is the incorporation of principles of “evidence-based practice” (EBP) into state sentencing and corrections policy and practice. Over the past fifteen years there has emerged a voluminous body of rigorous research demonstrating that certain research-based approaches to corrections and sentencing can effectively change offender behavior and significantly reduce offender recidivism. This free on-line course was designed to inform judges about this research and help them incorporate EBP into their sentencing decisions and practices. Taught by Dr. Geraldine Nagy, Director of Travis County Community Supervision and Corrections Department, and the Hon. Roger K. Warren, President Emeritus of the National Center for State Courts, the course consists of 24 content modules that include nearly 4.5 hours of video presentations.

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Free DVD


Election Controversies: The Basics of Election-Related Litigation

In the past ten years, we have seen a dramatic increase in election-related litigation in the United States. Legal challenges to election results are now a common part of our democratic process. But there is considerable confusion about the law that governs our elections.

The purpose of this resource is to enhance our understanding of the basics of election law and election-related litigation. These video presentations will be of interest to judges who are called upon to resolve these disputes, as well as lawyers, journalists, and others interested in our electoral process.

Additional information can be found on the Election Law Website, which contains a variety of resources to help you better understand the basics of election-related litigation.

This DVD was created through a joint venture of the College of William and Mary Law School and the National Center for State Courts. To order a copy of this DVD, please contact Amy McDowell at: