Resource Guide

General Information

Resource Guide

While the most widely recognized problem-solving court is the drug court, other examples include mental health courts, veterans courts, homeless courts, truancy courts, and some forms of family courts. Generally, a problem solving court involves a single judge that works with a community team to develop a case plan and closely monitor a defendant’s compliance, imposing proper sanctions when necessary.

Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.

Featured Links

Young Adult Court. (2016).

Established in San Francisco, in 2015, for eligible young adults, ages 18-25, in response to the growing body of neuroscience which finds young adults are fundamentally different from both juveniles and older adults in how they process information and make decisions. 

Douglas B. Marlowe, Carolyn D. Hardin, and Carson L. Fox Painting the Current Picture: A National Report on Drug Courts and Other Problem-Solving Courts in the United States. (2016).

The National Drug Court Institute's survey breaks down the number and type of problem-solving courts per state, analyzes the effectiveness of the various types of problem-solving courts, and recommends best practices. From its most recently collected data in 2014, the report found 3,057 drug courts and 1,311 problem-solving courts (other than drug courts) operating in the U.S.

Census of Problem-Solving Courts. (2016).

Bureau of Justice Statistics (2012). This census describes the type, location, and characteristics of all known problem-solving courts in 2012. The report presents information on funding sources, disqualifying offenses, points of entry, status hearings, services, and benefits to participants.

Pamela M. Casey, David B. Rottman and Chantal G. Bromage Problem-Solving Justice Toolkit.

(2007). National Center for State Courts.This Toolkit offers a blueprint for using the problem-solving approach, a form of differentiated case management for cases involving recurring contacts with the justice system due to underlying medical and social problems.

New York's Human Trafficking Courts.

The success of pilot courts in Queens, Midtown Manhattan, and Nassau County led New York to a statewide Human Trafficking Intervention Initiative, creating a statewide system of courts designed to intervene in the lives of trafficked human beings.  The courts help identify appropriate defendants/victims charged with prostitution and related offenses and provide linkages to services that once completed can help them have their cases dismissed or receive non-criminal dispositions.

Ohio's CATCH Specialty Docket.

Changing Actions to Change Habits (CATCH) is a specialty docket program in which defendants/victims participate in closely supervised, comprehensive assessment and treatment services, in which the participants are held accountable for their criminal behaviors and for adherence to the program requirements.  This Evaluation Study of the CATCH program discusses its strengths and weaknesses.

General Information

CCJ-COSCA Problem-Solving Courts Committee Guiding Principles in Developing State-Level Recidivism Definitions for Problem-Solving Courts. (2019).

This document outlines thirteen guiding principles for states to consider when designing and undertaking evaluations of problem-solving courts. While not all states and communities may be positioned to incorporate each principle at the outset, each should endeavor to fully implement them as resources allow.

Hon. Raymond L. Pianka Cleveland Housing Court - A Problem-Solving Court Adapts to New Challenges.

(2012). Future Trends in State Courts. Since 1980, the Cleveland Housing Court has been developing unique solutions to Cleveland’s many and ever-changing housing challenges. It provides a model both for dedicated housing courts and for general courts seeking a problem-solving approach to nuisance abatement, foreclosure, vacancy, and abandonment.

Suzanne Tallarico, Fred Cheesman, Mary Beth Kirven and Matthew Kleiman Effective Justice Strategies in Wisconsin: A Report of Findings and Recommendations.

(2012). National Center for State Courts. This report provides information on effective court related strategies to address criminal and addictive behaviors. Information is provided on risk needs assessments, problem solving courts and collaborative justice system planning.

Mary Kay Hudson Problem Solving Courts in Indiana.

(May 2010). Indiana Court Times. This article reviews existing problem solving courts and problem solving courts that are in the planning stage.

Niche Justice.

Jordan Smith (2010). The Austin Chronicle. This article looks at the ten specialized courts operating in Austin and discusses the pros and cons.

America's Problem Solving Courts: The Criminal Costs of Treatment and the Case for Reform.

(2009). National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. This report examines the procedures used in problem-solving courts, highlights best practices, and makes recommendations for change based on analysis by the criminal defense bar.

State Ratings on Human Trafficking Laws.

From 2011 to 2014, the Polaris Project rated all 50 states and D.C. based on 10 categories of laws that are critical to a basic legal framework that combats human trafficking, punishes traffickers and supports survivors.

Griller, Gordon M. The Quiet Battle for Problem-Solving Courts.

(2011). Future Trends in State Courts. Many trial courts will face heightened scrutiny from public-funding bodies regarding problem-solving courts. Numerous studies support the cost-effectiveness of such courts, but some court watchers see a struggle looming on the horizon.


Goldberg, Susan Judging for the 21st Century: A Problem-Solving Approach.

(2005). Ottawa: National Judicial Institute Handbook for judges comes from a Canadian perspective. It provides an introduction to therapeutic jurisprudence, practical suggestions for implementing therapeutic principles, and guidelines.

Farole, Donald J. et. al. Problem-Solving and the American Bench: A National Survey of Trial Court Judges.

(2009). Center for Court Innovation and the California Administrative Office of the Courts This report details the results of the first-ever national survey of judicial attitudes toward problem-solving justice. The survey included more than 1,000 trial court judges across the country. Among other findings, the results indicate that three in four judges approve of problem-solving methods.

Arkfeld, Louraine C. Ethics for the Problem-Solving Court Judge: The New ABA Model Code.

(2008). Justice System Journal (Vol. 28, No. 3). This article details the different roles in problem-solving courts play as opposed to traditional judges, and examines the 2007 ABA Model Code in reference to problem-solving courts, specifically the unique ethical dilemmas judges in these courtrooms are prone to face.