Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative (RJOI)


The courts are experiencing an ever-increasing number of opioid-related cases which span criminal, family, juvenile, and civil dockets. In response to the need for information, education, and resources to address this epidemic, RJOI was created.


About RJOI

In August of 2016, a multi-state regional summit was convened in Cincinnati, Ohio by the Supreme Court of Ohio. Over 150 attendees, along with national partners, representing states across the region at the epicenter of the opioid epidemic met to discuss the impact of the opioid epidemic in the region. Summit delegates developed a regional action plan with strategies to combat the opioid epidemic and formed the Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative (RJOI).

In September 2017, the Leadership Committee finalized the RJOI Charter signed by the Chief Justices from the region and established the organizational structure of the initiative. The eight RJOI states include: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Information regarding all of the RJOI committees can be accessed here.

RJOI State Resources and Team Membership

Every RJOI state has a number of justice system related initiatives under way in response to the opioid crisis. Information regarding initiatives, members, and partners can be accessed utilizing the dropdown menu below.

State Highlights: Tennessee

Recovery Oriented Compliance Strategy

The Tennessee Recovery Oriented Compliance Strategy (TN ROCS) is serving the "gap" population comprised of individuals before the court with an urgent need for substance abuse treatment but assessed as low(er) risk of recidivism. The target population is often unsuccessful on probation and has a substance abuse disorder often exacerbated with a mental health disorder. TN ROCS uses three essential components of the drug court model: 1. accurate behavioral health screening and assessment to determine the appropriate level of treatment for the appropriate length of time, 2. frequent accountability through drug screening, court appearances, and treatment, and 3. leveraging the court to provide incentives and sanctions. TN ROCS is less intensive and does not require the collaborative resources of the drug court model necessary for high-risk and high-need individuals with substance addiction.

Judge Duane Slone of the 4th Judicial District Circuit Court, with the assistance of a probation officer and a criminal justice liaison, provide more than 200 participants of TN ROCS with connections to services, community supervision, and behavior modification responses to positive and negative actions. Contacts and treatment decline after a period of compliance with the treatment plan and demonstrating a drug-free lifestyle.

In the five years since implementation, the TN ROCS program has celebrated success with lower recidivism rates, reduced burglaries, reduced use of the jail, and more than 60 healthy babies born to TN ROCS participants with most participants retaining custody of their children. Additionally, Tennessee former Governor Bill Haslam recognized TN ROCS as a key component of the TN Together Plan to fight opioid-driven addiction and began expanding it to other judicial districts. Expansion of TN ROCS is a collaborative project between the Tennessee Judiciary and the Tennessee Departments of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services and Correction. Additional information on TN ROCS.

This project was supported in part by Grant No. 2017-PM-BX-K037 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.