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Justice Programs Office

Upcoming Webinars

Please feel free to contact us at justice@american.edu if you would like to learn more about these webinars or to be included on our listserv.



Available Webinars

Drug Treatment Courts
BJA Drug Court Grantee Orientation Webinar
| Buffalo Drug Court Management Information System | Rural Drug Courts | Improving Cultural Proficiency in Drug Court Programs | Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders | Strategies to Engage and Retain Young Adults in Drug Court Programs | Gender Issues in Drug Court Programs | Addiction and the Neuroscience of the Brain | Critical Treatment Issues | The Role of Defense Counsel in Drug Courts | Eligibility and Screening for Drug Court Violators | The Urgency to Address Trauma in our Treatment Courts | Addressing Synthetic and Designer Drugs in Adult Drug Courts | Sustaining Your Treatment Court: Using a 501(c)(3) to Fundraise | The Role of Prosecutors in Drug Treatment Courts | Selecting and Using Risk Assessment Tools in Problem-Solving Courts | Women in Treatment Courts | Hispanics and Latinos in Drug Courts: Cultural Strategies to Enhance and Sustain Recovery

We are continuously updating our website. If you are looking for a webinar not posted above, please feel free to contact us at justice@american.edu, visit our YouTube channel.

Drug Treatment Courts

BJA Drug Court Grantee Orientation Webinar

The focus of this webinar is upon the special challenges encountered by drug courts and their treatment providers in rural and frontier areas of the country and responses that have proven effective. This webinar also drew on a Technical Assistance Guide on Drug Court Treatment Services developed through the BJA Drug Court Technical Assistance Project (soon to be published). Presenters provided a detailed look into each of these challenges and how some of the existing rural programs are addressing some of these issues through use of innovative use of technology such as Skype or Teleconferencing, Virtual Counseling, Telehealth services, etc.

The BJA Drug Court Grantee Orientation Webinar was conducted on December 18, 2014 by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, in coordination with a collaborative of Drug Court Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) providers, to provide an orientation for BJA Drug Court Grantees regarding BJA training and technical assistance resources that are available free of charge.

The purpose of the webinar was two-fold: (1) to familiarize new grantees with the vision of BJA’s strategic plan as it relates to your drug court discretionary grant program; and (2) to equip drug court practitioners operating within other existing grants with useful resources to improve service delivery. 

The webinar covered a variety of topics, including an overview of BJA goals and expectations for the BJA Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program, a review of programmatic requirements for all federal grant recipients, information regarding the training and technical assistance services available, free of charge, to grantees, and procedures for requesting these services for your program.

Below are the webinar slides along with the agenda, a resource list and an FAQ on Assessment Instruments:

  • The agenda for the BJA Drug Court Grantee Orientation Webinar is available to view as a PDF.
  • A resource list for BJA Drug Court Grantees is available to view as a PDF.
  • The powerpoint presentation used in this webinar is available to view as a PDF presentation.
  • The FAQ on Assessment Instruments is available to view as a PDF.

Panelists on this webinar included representatives from BJA's policy and grant management offices, and the BJA TA and Training Provider collaborative: American Universitythe Center for Court InnovationTribal Law and Policy Institute, and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, which assist BJA in carrying out its mission to reduce substance abuse and recidivism.

Buffalo Drug Court Management Information System

This two part interactive webinar series demonstrates key features of the Buffalo Drug Court Management Information System for drug court staff who are interested in "hands-on" demonstration of its key features. The session was conducted by Jose Ferrer of the Buffalo City Drug Court who, with Judge Robert Russell and the late Hank Pirowski, has been the principal developer of the system. The goal for these training sessions is to:

  • Provide an overview of the Buffalo DMIS, including its overall structure, data collection, and reporting capabilities;
  • Train staff on how to use the MIS, including data input procedures, reporting, and management functions related to the program operations;
  • Provide staff with the tools and capacity to update and modify the program as needed; and
  • Ensure that Drug Court staff can independently operate the MIS.

The descriptions of the Buffalo MIS archived webinars can be viewed as a PDF. Recordings of the webinars may be viewed as videos.

Rural Drug Courts: Challenges and Solutions

The focus of this webinar is upon the special challenges encountered by drug courts and their treatment providers in rural and frontier areas of the country and responses that have proven affective. Presenters provided a detailed look into each of these challenges and how some of the existing rural programs are addressing some of these issues through the innovative use of technology such as Skype, Teleconferencing, Virtual Counseling, or Telehealth services, etc. This webinar also drew on A Technical Assistance Guide for Drug Court Judges on Drug Court Treatment Services developed through the BJA Drug Court Technical Assistance Project.

Improving Cultural Proficiency in Drug Court Programs

Andrew Osborne, MS Ed, CHES

Session I: Introduction to Culture - March 30th, 2011
The focus of this first session is to present participants with an introduction to culture and the effect it has in drug courts. The session also explores the difference between cultural competency, which is an individual trait, and cultural proficiency, which is institutionalized. The importance of cultural proficiency is then discussed in terms of the potential benefits it can provide for drug courts. The session closes with a discussion of how these benefits can be achieved through enhancing observation and assessment skills of drug court practitioners to insure clients are receiving the individualized treatment they require to succeed.

Session II: Screening and Assessment - April 6th, 2011
The focus of this webinar is upon describing the importance of cultural proficiency in the screening and assessment processes. The session stresses the importance of a drug court program’s ability to identify cultural differences and provide clients necessary support services. The session also discusses the process of identifying personal cultural characteristics and the importance of proper assessment of how these cultural characteristics may influence an individual’s behavior.

Additional Resources:
Cultural Competence: The Elements of Culture that Affect Treatment Outcomes

Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders: Assessing Needs and Serving Drug Court-Eligible Participants

Paul Warren, LMSW, National Drug Research Institutes (NDRI)

Session I: Introduction To Co-Occurring Disorders – February 23rd, 2011
The focus of this session is to define co-occurring disorders and their characteristics. The session also discusses specific characteristics of most clients with co-occurring disorders, such as difficulty with social interaction and heightened suicide risk; and general characteristics, such as the inability to hold a job and higher likelihood to relapse; and explains the differences between biological, psychological and social components of these characteristics. The session concludes by discussing factors associated with co-occurring diagnoses that affect treatment, and lists suggested treatment for disorders falling within each severity quadrant.

Session II: Screening And Assessment – March 2nd, 2011
The focus of this session is to increase participants’ knowledge about useful screening and assessment instruments for co-occurring disorders (CODs). The session discusses screening protocols, and explains that the purpose of screening is only to determine if further assessment is necessary. Some instruments used for mental, substance, and both mental and substance screening are listed along with general features of these various instruments. Note that assessment is an ongoing process of gathering key information relating to a client that assists in getting them engaged in services. Screening and assessment should be integrated processes which take into account all of a client’s disorders to build the most effective treatment plan. Lastly, the session describes the ’12-step assessment process’ which provides a guideline for developing an individualized treatment program.

Session III: Treatment – March 9th, 2011
The focus of this third session is to increase participants’ knowledge about treatment for co-occurring disorders (CODs) and referrals. This session discusses the advantages and disadvantages of evidence-based interventions. Also described is the overarching principles of treating CODs, the goal of which is to provide fully integrated care so that clients receive the best possible chance of treating all of their disorders. After more in-depth discussion of evidence-based practices - the preferred approach to treatment - the session concludes with a definition of “fidelity.”

Strategies to Engage and Retain Young Adults in Drug Court Programs

Andrew Osborne, MS Ed, CHES

Session I: Young Adult Social Development – September 14th, 2011
This session discusses characteristics of the young adult population often seen in drug court, including low education levels, low self-esteem and chronic unemployment. The session explains why it is important to give special attention to this population, and what outcomes may improve when proper attention is given, such as higher retention rates and enhanced quality assurance. Various developmental issues faced by the young adult population in drug court, including moral/ethical reasoning and personal relationships, are also covered.

Session II: Bio-Psycho Service Needs – September 21st, 2011
This second session focuses on bio/medical and psychological issues typically associated the young adult population in drug court, including hepatitis and HIV. An overview of juvenile strategies that may be applied to the young adult population for intervention, supervision and case management is provided. The session also discusses treatment services and recommendations for addressing co‐occurring disorders in the young adult population of drug court, such as extensive assessment and emphasis on psycho educational approaches.

Session III: Evidence Based Interventions – September 28th, 2011
This third session, the last of this series, discusses a list of suggested references related to young adults in drug courts, with specific articles regarding supervision, treatment and assessment. Several evidence based practices in Drug Courts for young adults are described, including: Cannabis Youth Treatment, Moral Recognition Therapy, Functional Family Therapy, Trauma Informed Care, Global Appraisal of Individual Needs, Motivational Interviewing, and Seeking Safety. The successful practices of SCRAM and Smoking Cessation Groups are also discussed.

Additional Resources:
FAQ: Strategies and Services Effective in Engaging and Retaining Young Adults

Gender Issues in Drug Court Programs

Paul Warren, LMSW, National Drug Research Institutes (NDRI)

Session I: The Impact of Gender in the Drug Court Setting 101 – May 3rd, 2012
The focus of this webinar is on defining “gender,” describing the importance and relevance of addressing issues relating to gender in the drug court setting, and providing participants with practical suggestions for effectively planning and addressing gender-related issues. The session discusses why it is necessary to have multiple types of programs to address gender and provides examples of ways to address gender issues in drug courts. Guiding principles for implementing gender-responsive strategies, including acknowledging that gender makes a difference when creating a treatment plan, and providing opportunities for clients to improve their socioeconomic conditions is also discussed. The session concludes with primary reasons to address gender issues, such as reducing recidivism and providing participants with the opportunity to complete the program.

Session II: Gender - More than Male or Female – May 9th, 2012
The focus of this second session is on defining gender identity, gender expression, and gender attribution. The relationship between gender identify and sexual orientation is explored, and guidance is given for working with individuals who express their gender in ways outside the bounds of general social norms. The session also discusses the concept of transgender and the different phobias associated with gender, such as transphobia. The session concludes with a list of strategies for being considerate of gender and gives suggestions for what drug courts can do to address gender needs.

Diana Padilla, Program Manager, National Drug Research Institutes (NDRI)

Session III: Gender Responsive Strategies for Women Offenders in Drug Court – May 17th, 2012
This session discusses underlying factors that are relevant to criminal activity involving women, and how these factors can lead to women engaging in criminal activity. Several principles that can be applied to developing treatment programs for women is built on the premise that the primary motivating factor among women throughout their lives is the desire to establish and connect with others. The importance of integrating gender and culture is stressed and associated risk and resilient factors are described, as well as what to look at when assessing these factors. The session concludes with recommendations and examples of gender responsive programs and interventions for female offenders.

Dan Griffin, Consultant, Griffin Enterprises

Session IV: Gender Specific Issues for Men – June 7th and June 14th, 2012
This two-part session focuses on specific issues relating to male drug court clients as they present unique needs in drug court programs. This session discusses relevant male gender issues that need to be incorporated in substance abuse treatment, including theories of men’s psychosocial development, trauma and the need for a paradigm shift to effectively address them; various approaches for effectively engaging male clients; addressing relevant triggers for relapse and promoting healthier behavior change; and helping men recover.

Additional Resources:
Gender-Responsive Drug Court Treatment
A Quantitative Analysis of Women's Experiences in Single-Gender Versus Mixed-Gender Substance Abuse Group Therapy

Addiction and the Neuroscience of the Brain

Joseph Lunievicz, BA, RYT, Director of Training, NDRI

Session I: Introduction to the Neuroscience of Addiction – September 13th, 2012
The focus of this webinar is upon helping participants understand the changes that occur in the brain as a result of chemical dependency. Specifically, the neuroscience of addiction, focusing on the disease model of chemical dependency, is discussed. The importance of maintaining individuals in treatment for an adequate period is stressed. Also discussed is the distinction between abuse and addiction.

Session II: Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual Factors that Impact Addiction – September 20th, 2012
The focus of the second webinar in this series is upon helping participants understand the Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual factors that impact addiction, as well as issues participants experience in early recovery and how these issues relate to client conduct and participation in the drug court program. The damage drug use causes the brain and the importance of insuring that fundamental neurochemical ‘imbalances’ existing before addiction also receive proper attention. The Developmental Model of Recovery is described along with the importance of recognizing each stage – transition, stabilization, early recovery, middle recovery, late recovery and maintenance. The remainder of the presentation focuses on the effects of stimulants, and explains the negative effects drug usage has on frontal lobe functioning.

Session III: Understanding Relapse – September 28th, 2012
The focus of this webinar is upon helping participants understand how relapse can occur with chemically dependent drug court clients. Promoting behavior change with clients in drug court includes understanding that relapse can be part of the recovery process. This is expressed through three components of relapse prevention strategies: recognizing the warning signs of relapse; identifying triggers, and developing reinforcement strategies.

Additional Resources:
Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap between Science and Practice

Critical Treatment Issues

David Mee-Lee, MD, Senior Fellow, Justice Programs Office (JPO)

Session I: ASAM Criteria – February 10th, 2016

Follow-up Q&A: February 11th, 2016
This webinar reviews how addiction is a brain disease with biopsychosocial-spiritual manifestations, causes and treatment needs; and how the ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) criteria is applied to criminal justice clients. It explains how comprehensive multidimensional assessment and person-centered, outcomes-driven services and treatment planning should be expected of, and delivered by treatment providers. We also discuss communication issues between treatment providers and court personnel; what to expect of court personnel and the treatment provider.

View the PDF of this presentation.

Session II: Doing Time or Doing Treatment: Moving Beyond Program Phases to Real Lasting Change – March 14th, 2016

Follow-up Q&A: March 15th, 2016
This webinar addresses the differences in the culture and mission between criminal justice and treatment of addiction. It will emphasize the path to achieving outcomes of increased public safety, decreased legal recidivism and crime, safety for children and families by expecting accountable, real change to reach public safety goals. It will contrast passive, compliant participation in treatment programs phases where clients too often just “do time” in treatment; and will discuss the use of incentives and sanctions that promote treatment engagement and sustainable change. We will also discuss punishing for rule breaking and positive drug tests; and abstinence-oriented versus abstinence-mandated approaches.

View the PDF of this presentation.

Session III: Challenging Case in Family Drug Court – March 29th, 2016
The third webinar in the Critical Treatment Issues webinar series presents a Challenging Case submitted to the BJA Drug Court Technical Assistance Project at American University. The purpose of this webinar is to provide a practical application of the material presented in the first two sessions.

View the PDF of this presentation.

Session IV: Engaging Participants in a Self Change Process – April 4th, 2016

Follow-up Q&A: April 5th, 2016
This webinar addresses stages of change and “discovery, dropout prevention” plans versus “recovery, relapse prevention” plans; holding participants accountable to an individualized treatment plan based on stage of change versus compliance with program phases and rules; evidence-based practices EBPs), therapeutic alliance and examples of EBPs that engage participants in a self-change process e.g., Motivational Interviewing, CBT, stages of change work, Interactive Journaling.

View the PDF and the Q&A of this presentation.

Session V: Relapse Continued Use, & Continued Problem Potential - April 18th, 2016
This session will detail the assessment of relapse potential for preventive actions and assessment of poor outcomes of re-use and addiction flare–ups. This session will also answer the question of what to do that continues treatment and is not discharge or unnecessary sanctions; positive drug screens and what to do in early phases of problem–solving courts versus in later phases; and finish with a discussion of proximal and distal approaches.

View the PDF of this presentation.

Session VI: Challenging Drug Court Case – April 19th, 2016
The sixth webinar in the Critical Treatment Issues webinar series presents a Challenging Case submitted to the BJA Drug Court Technical Assistance Project at American University. The purpose of this webinar is to provide a practical application of the material presented.

View the PDF of this presentation.

Session VII: How Do We Get There From Here? - April 27th, 2016
This session will address how attitude changes in court personnel and treatment providers can create a collaborative team; what treatment provider reports should include to inform court personnel on real change and outcomes; what treatment providers can expect of court teams to support outcomes we all want; systems changes necessary to deal with differing missions of all stakeholders; discussion of graduation ceremonies and discharge or termination categories.

View the PDF of this presentation.

Session VIII: Challenging Drug Court Case – May 3rd, 2016
The eighth webinar in the Critical Treatment Issues webinar series presents a Challenging Case submitted to the BJA Drug Court Technical Assistance Project at American University. The purpose of this webinar is to provide a practical application of the material presented.

View the PDF of this presentation.

The Role of Defense Counsel in Drug Courts

Yvonne Smith Segars, Esq. & Mike Loeffler, Esq.

Session I: Methods to Improve the Skill Level of Defense Counsel Representing Clients Impacted by Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Issues – March 8th, 2016
This session will focus on challenges defense counsel may encounter in representing defendants with mental and cognitive impairments associated with their drug use, particularly those who may not have a clinical diagnosis but have an impairment that may have an impact on their acceptance into the drug court -- or their being overlooked for potential program eligibility -- as well as their ability to comply with program requirements at least initially. In this sense, defense counsel may be serving in the role as “first responder” to these impairments as well as legal counsel.

View the PDF of this presentation.

Session II: How to Provide Effective Representation from Initial Contact through Program Completion – April 5th, 2016
This session will take attendees through each stage of the drug court and discuss how defense counsel are involved at each stage while also addressing the dual roles defense counsel play in drug courts, representing their individual clients and their role as a member of the team. Topics presented will include protecting clients’ constitutional rights, attorney/client relationships, advice and advocacy, and navigating ethical concerns and potentially competing interests.

View the PDF of this presentation.

Session III: The Role of Defense Counsel in Drug Courts: Challenging Cases – May 18th, 2016
The session takes attendees through 2-3 challenging cases from beginning to end. Topics discussed will include protecting clients’ constitutional rights, attorney/client relationships, advice and advocacy, and navigating ethical concerns and potentially competing interests.

View the PDF of this presentation.

Eligibility and Screening for Drug Court Violators

The focus of this session will be upon strategies that promote systematic screening of all drug court eligible arrestees and probation violators, to clearly articulate eligibility criteria that are consistently and transparently applied, identify drug court eligible participants as soon as possible after arrest or probation violation, and for entry into/engagement in the treatment program as soon as possible. Topics that will be addressed include screening processes, definitions of high risk/high need, assessment processes, using the screening process to promote participant's interest in the program and motivating them to participate, and keeping track of the screening process results.

View the PDF of this presentation.

The Urgency to Address Trauma in our Treatment Courts: What It Means to be Trauma-Informed  

When the topic of trauma arises, many people initially think of veteran populations. However, traumatic experiences can result from a variety of events throughout a person’s life, including childhood neglect and abuse, sexual assault and community violence. A person exposed to any traumatic event or diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has an increased chance of developing a substance abuse disorder, which in turn may lead them to become a participant in a treatment/problem solving court. 

This webinar will cover:

  • Background on Trauma and the Principles of Trauma-Informed Care
  • Trauma and Addiction
  • Screening and Assessing for Trauma
  • A Trauma-Informed Courtroom: Communication, Processes and Procedures, and the Court Environment
  • Trauma Programs/Treatment Interventions
  • Secondary Trauma/Self-Care

A PDF of this presentation can be found by following this link.
A fact sheet was created to supplement this webinar and can be found by following this link.
To watch a recording of this webinar, please visit our Youtube page by following this link.

A Challenging Design: Addressing Synthetic and Designer Drugs in Adult Drug Courts

The availability and prevalence of synthetic and designer drugs has increased dramatically over the last several years. Due to the rapid nature at which these drugs are produced and modified, and the danger associated with their consumption, they pose significant challenges to drug treatment courts across the country.

This webinar was presented on Thursday, October 27, 2016 by Dr. Leo Kadehjian (PhD), an independent biomedical consultant with specialized experience regarding on-site drug testing programs, and Natalie Reyes, Program Coordinator for the Success Through Accountability, Restitution, and Treatment (START) Adult Drug Court in Multnomah County, Oregon. 

This webinar will cover:

  • Historical background on synthetic and designer drugs
  • The science behind synthetic and designer drugs
  • Strategies and issues for drug courts to consider

The powerpoint of this presentation is available to be viewed as a PDF. A fact sheet was created to supplement this webinar and is available to be viewed as a PDF. A recording of this webinar is available to view as a video by visiting our Youtube page.

Sustaining Your Treatment Court: Using a 501(c)(3) to Fundraise

The resources of many treatment courts around the country are stretched thin. Dwindling resources, coupled with limitations on using grant funds to pay for participant incentives, has prompted many treatment courts to supplement traditional funding streams through local fundraising activities. The development and creation of a 501(c)(3) non-profit can be a crucial step in sustaining and expanding treatment courts for individual communities. There are also other alternatives to forming a non-profit organization in terms of vehicles for raising and managing donations to benefit your program. 

This webinar was presented on Thursday, November 3, 2016 by Judge William G. Schma, formerly of the Kalamazoo County Circuit Court, and Tracy Velázquez, Associate Director of American University’s Justice Programs Office. 

This webinar will cover: 

  • What is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization? 
  • Why might my treatment court benefit from having an affiliated or dedicated non-profit organization? 
  • A successful case study: Kalamazoo County Drug Treatment Court 
  • Alternatives to 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations 

The powerpoint of this presentation is available to view as a PDF. A recording of this webinar is available to view as a video by visiting our YouTube channel. A case study regarding the creation of the Drug Treatment Court Foundation that has supported the Drug Treatment Courts of Kalamazoo County is available to view as a PDF.  The Kalamazoo Treatment Court video that was shown as an example of a fundraising video in the webinar can be found by viewing it on our YouTube channel

The Role of Prosecutors in Drug Treatment Courts

Within the drug treatment court, the prosecutor takes on many roles: the gatekeeper, the primary law enforcement liaison, the teammate, the politician, and the advocate. In these roles, there is a unique balance to participating fully as a drug court team member, developing eligibility criteria that enhances public safety, and working toward participant success.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance Drug Court Technical Assistance Project at American University’s Justice Programs Office conducted an interactive webinar session entitled The Role of Prosecutors in Drug Treatment Courts on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. This webinar was presented by Mike Loeffler, Esq. and Judge Christine Carpenter.  

This webinar covers: 

  • Balancing all prosecutorial roles from planning through implementation of the drug court 
  • Developing clear eligibility criteria for participants 
  • Acting as an effective gatekeeper at the beginning of the program and during the program 
  • Working as a team player and participant advocate while ensuring public safety 

The PowerPoint of this presentation is available to be viewed as a PDF. A recording of this webinar is available to view as a video by visiting our YouTube channel.  A fact sheet on this topic was created by Anna Koozmin, JPO Program Assistant, and is available to view and download as a PDF.

Selecting and Using Risk Assessment Tools in Problem-Solving Courts

The BJA Drug Court Technical Assistance Project at American University conducted an interactive webinar session presented by Dr. Sarah Desmarais, Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Applied Social and Community Psychology Program at North Carolina State University, on Tuesday, December 6th, 2016.

Risk assessment is a key component of evidence-based supervision in the United States and justice system agencies are increasingly required to implement risk assessments instruments to inform decision-making. These instruments differ greatly in their content, approach, and research support. This webinar will provide a brief introduction to the history of risk assessment, followed by a description of the characteristics and content of contemporary risk assessment instruments used in U.S. correctional settings, including their strengths and limitations. The webinar will conclude with guidance regarding the selection and implementation a risk assessment tool in the context of problem-solving courts.  

The PowerPoint of this presentation is available to be viewed and downloaded as a PDF.  A recording of this webinar has been uploaded and is available as a video on YouTube.

Women in Treatment Courts

Treatment courts around the nation have been developing unique programs and tracks that address the specific needs and interests of women involved in the criminal justice system. These programs acknowledge that women’s treatment needs are often different than those for men and as such, they should be provided with gender-responsive treatment to facilitate their recovery. Gender-responsivity includes addressing such issues as trauma, children and family involvement, utilizing screening tools that have been validated for women, and a host of other topics. While the numbers of female participants in treatment courts remains lower than that of their male counterparts, there is nevertheless a need to effectively support the women currently in these programs and create environments conducive to engaging more women. 

The Justice Programs Office at American University along with presenters Hon. William G. Schma and Valerie Moore conducted an interactive webinar session entitled, “Women in the Treatment Courts,” on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017. 

To view the recording of the webinar, please visit the JPO YouTube Channel.

To download a copy of the PowerPoint slides from the webinar, please click here.

 

Hispanics and Latinos in Drug Courts

On Friday May 5, 2017, the National Drug Court Resource Center hosted a webinar focused on Hispanics and Latinos in Adult Drug Courts: Cultural Strategies to Enhance and Sustain Recovery. 

With material presented by Diana Padilla, Program Manager for NDRI, and Joseph R. Madonia, former Director of the Brooklyn Treatment Court, this interactive webinar includes a question and answer session at its conclusion. This webinar provides a review of the scope of the problems that vary throughout states and how cultural humility principles can be integrated to work with participants' cultural perspectives to support and sustain their recovery process. To provide practitioners with culturally informed processes that can augment their skill sets and consequently outcomes for Hispanic and Latino drug court participants, this webinar covers:

  • How Hispanic and Latino cultures are layered 
  • Major components of cultural humility as a process for practice
  • Effective strategies currently used in drug courts with Hispanic and Latino participants

To view a recording of this webinar, please click here.

To download a copy of the slides, please click here.


Veterans Treatment Courts

Veterans Treatment Court Webinar

Maj. Evan Seamone, Professor of Law and Senior Defense Counsel in the U.S. Army Reserve

Session I: Attorneys, Judges, and Court Personnel as First Responders: Strategies to Identify and Mitigate Trauma Among Veteran Participants with PTSD and Operational Stress Injuries in Veterans Treatment Court Settings - February 23rd, 2016

Follow-up Q&A with Applied Examples: February 25th, 2016
Forensic stress, which is generated solely by involvement in the criminal litigation, often aggravates symptoms of existing mental health conditions for veterans facing charges. It impairs the defendant’s abilities to make reasoned legal decisions and challenges attorneys and other professionals in the justice system to identify and counteract these powerful forces.

This Webinar describes methods to assist attorneys and other members of a treatment team in diverting the client from his or her own symptoms – not only from confinement. It also identifies some risks inherent in the professional’s exposure to a Veteran’s own traumatic experiences.

View the PDF and the Q&A of this presentation.

Additional Resources: 
Maximizing VA Benefits for Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma
Sex Crimes Litigation as Hazardous Duty

Session II: Understanding Military Discharge Characterizations: Potential Pathways to Obtaining Benefits for Recipients of Less-Than-Honorable Discharges - March 22nd, 2016

Follow-up Q&A with Applied Examples: March 24th, 2016
Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces are entitled to a vast array of benefits that can literally mean the difference between life and death. However, many former Service members do not meet the statutory definition of a “Veteran” based on discharge from the military for misconduct. In fact, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that roughly 20% of Justice-Involved Veterans are ineligible for VA benefits based on their discharge characterizations. For this group of veterans, who face homelessness and risks of recidivism at increased levels in the community, endless questions surround their potential for receiving VA healthcare, grants for subsistence, disability compensation, and other vital services specially-tailored to their unique physical and mental health needs. Unfortunately, due to various statutory and regulatory provisions, the process for answering these questions is intimidating, quite lengthy, uncertain, and normally requires a level of expertise that is not often accessible to those with the greatest need. 

This webinar discusses the magnitude of this growing problem for Veterans Treatment Courts, especially given new pressures for the military to reduce the size of the Armed Forces. It provides insights into the purpose for and mechanisms by which Less-Than-Honorable military discharges are issued. And, it points to significant differences between the military’s measures for upgrading these stigmatizing discharges and the VA’s measures for evaluating eligibility in light of existing stigmatizing discharges. The Webinar also provides targeted guidance for identifying former Service members who have better odds of succeeding in their quest for benefits.

View the PDF and the Q&A of this presentation.

Additional Resources:
Who is a Veteran? Basic Eligibility for Veterans Benefits
Veteran's Benefits: The Impact of Military Discharges on Basic Eligibility

Session III: Specialized Housing Units for Veterans in Prisons and Jails: Solution-Based Incarceration as the Counterpart to Problem-Solving Veterans’ Courts - May 16th, 2016
This webinar addresses the different forms of veterans housing units that have been implemented in prisons and jails. It traces the initial concept to its origins in the 1920s following WWI, through programs implemented in the wake of WWII and Vietnam, to the contemporary approach. This webinar also identifies the manner in which some correctional institutions have implemented these units to mitigate the high likelihood that incarceration might activate a “second tour” in which veterans can unwittingly approach their time in confinement like time deployed in enemy territory. 

For all participants, the webinar considers the universal benefits of the program, including relatively minor costs, the value of deputies and correctional officers with prior military experience, and the inspirational value of military-themed housing areas. Because the Department of Veterans Affairs prohibits the delivery of any healthcare services to incarcerated veterans, participants also will gain an understanding of special considerations for veterans with mental health needs and inherent limitations on treatment approaches during short-term incarceration.

View the PDF of this presentation.

Additional Resources:
A Historical Touchstone for Nebraska in the Mission to Divert Criminally-Involved Veterans from Confinement
The Lost Legion
The Short-Term Institution and the Delinquent Veteran
Memo: PTSD Identification and Treatment for Vietnam Veterans (Pennsylvania)
Veterans Residential Therapeutic Program (New York)

*For additional publications by Maj. Evan Seamone please visit our Publications and Resources page

Working with Veterans and their Families in Adult Drug Courts

Andrew Osborne, MS Ed, CHES

Session I: Introduction To Military Culture – July 12th, 2012
This webinar session conveys the impact of military culture on the orientation and potential response(s) of veteran offenders in drug courts. This is explained through discussion of military core values and their impact on client behavior, special issues for women veterans, and special issues relevant to the “era” in which the veteran served. Mr. Osborne describes the branches of military service and lists deployment engagements that veteran offenders may have been involved in. He discusses both the benefits and difficulties of a militaristic lifestyle, the anagram “BATTLEMIND” - which explains the mind-set of such a lifestyle, - and recognizable cues that a military service member may need help.

Session II: Resources to Support Military Families – July 19th, 2012
This webinar informs drug court professionals about the resources available to veterans and their families. Topics addressed focus also on issues faced by the families of veterans, including military family dynamics, perspectives regarding the effect of the military culture on drug use, family functioning, and medical treatment and recovery. This webinar also provides guidance on recommended strategies for drug court practitioners to apply.

Joseph Madonia, LCSW-R, CASAC - Director, Brooklyn Treatment Court

Session III: The Impact of PTSD on Veterans and their Families in Drug Court – July 26, 2012
The focus of this webinar is to educate practitioners about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) so that they can identify associated symptoms and issues faced by veteran participants, recognize the impact these have on veterans’ families, and understand how treatment should be tailored to meet each individual veteran’s unique needs. This presentation also discusses special issues for women and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) veterans, including military sexual trauma (MTI) and prejudice, and various forms of depression and associated suicidal risk factors, such as co-existing psychiatric problems. Co-occurring disorders, and behavioral manifestations that may be observed during court proceedings, such as irritability and impulsivity, are also detailed.

Additional Resources:
FAQ: Services for Veterans with PTSD who are in Veterans Courts

The Role of the Mentor

Jack O'Connor, Mentor Coordinator for the Buffalo, NY Veterans Treatment Court & Greg Coker, Mentor Coordinator for the San Bernadino, CA Veterans Treatment Court

Session I: The Role of the Mentor in Veterans Treatment Court– March 2nd, 2016

Follow-up Q&A: March 4th, 2016
This webinar will address issues relevant to establishing and managing a mentor program for Veterans Treatment Courts, including: (1) planning a mentor program – identifying mentors, screening, recruitment, training, and other tasks; (2) managing a mentor program -- matching mentors with mentees; monitoring the mentor program and the mentors providing services; (3) common issues that may arise and strategies for addressing them; and (4) sustaining a mentor program over time.

View the PDF of the presentation.

Additional Resources: 
Mentor Contract
Mentor Manual
Participant Handbook

The Role of the Judge

Hon. Vance Peterson, Spokane County Veterans Court Judge & Hon. Robert Russell, Associate Judge for Buffalo City Court

Session I: The Role of the Judge in Veterans Treatment Court– March 2nd, 2016
This webinar will address issues relevant to role of the Judge in Veterans Treatment Courts, including: (1) identifying the unique components of Veterans Treatment Courts; (2) planning and implementing a Veterans Treatment Court – including the incorporation of a mentor program; and (3) common issues that may arise and strategies for addressing them.

View the PDF of the presentation.

The VJO Specialist in Veterans Treatment Courts: The Glue Holding VTCs Together

The Bureau of Justice Assistance Drug Court Technical Assistance Project at American University’s Justice Programs Office, under the School of Public Affairs, conducted an interactive webinar session entitled The VJO Specialist in Veterans Treatment Courts: The Glue Holding VTCs Together on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 from 2–3:30 pm EST. This webinar was presented by Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton (ret.); Ms. Mary Gillette, LISW-S; and Judge John Zottola
A crucial component of Veterans Treatment Courts is its relationship with the Veterans Justice Outreach program. The VJO specialist is a valuable resource for any treatment court, as he or she are able to connect veterans to the services they are entitled to from the VA. However, many VTCs struggle with how to successfully integrate the VJO specialist into their team. 
This webinar will cover: 

  • The history of the VJO program, including the problems it was designed to address and some of the challenges it faces
  • The way a successful VJO program operates
  • Lessons learned about VJO involvement: achievements and areas for improvement

The presentation from this webinar is available to view and download as a PDF.
The webinar was recorded and can be viewed on our YouTube Channel as a video
A fact sheet to supplement this webinar was created by Kierra Zoellick, JPO Program Associate, and is available to view and download as a PDF.

Veterans Treatment Courts: 2015 Survey Results

The first Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) was established in Buffalo, New York in 2008. Since then, over 300 VTCs have been established across the country. Building upon the success of drug courts and other problem-solving courts (e.g., mental health courts, DUI courts, family courts, etc.), VTCs were created to address the specific needs of veterans involved in the criminal justice system and assist them in navigating the resources available through the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

In 2015, the Justice Programs Office, a Center at American University’s School of Public Affairs, conducted a survey to provide a closer look into Veterans Treatment Courts. This survey was developed to provide a snapshot of the range of policies, practices, and services in operating VTC programs. The resulting report on this project, Veterans Treatment Courts: 2015 Survey Results, provides a view into these emerging courts. The webinar will discuss key findings and their implications for policy and practice. This report was completed as part of our work funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA) Adult Drug Court Technical Assistance Project.  

Kerwin Henderson and Monica Fuhrmann, JPO Program Associates, presented on the results of this survey during an interactive webinar on December 13, 2016.

A recording of this webinar is available to view on our YouTube channel as a video.

Right to Counsel

R2C Quarterly Webinars

Every quarter, the R2C National Consortium presents a webinar outlining the activities of the campaign as well as developments in the field related to the right to counsel. Below each date is the list of topics covered and the presenters. For more on the Right to Counsel National Campaign, see www.rtcnationalcampaign.org.

September 2016: The topics covered are listed below.
Watch the video
View the PowerPoint handout

  • An update on federal legislation and national reform efforts by Madhu Grewal of The Constitution Project
  • A discussion about how indigent defense research can impact change and be combined with other strategies to push for reform with Andy Davies of the New York Office of Indigent Legal Services
  • A presentation on how community organizations can aid indigent defense advocacy efforts by Josh Spickler and Allison Gibbs of Just City

June 2016: The topics covered are listed below.
Watch the video
View the PowerPoint handout

March 2016: The topics covered are listed below.
Watch the video

March 2017: The topics covered are listed below.
Watch the video . Download the PDF of the webinar slides.

  • R2C public opinion research conducted by Belden Russonello Strategists
  • R2C consortium member updates from Diane Price (NACDL), Andrea March (University of Texas School of Law), April Frazier Camara (NLADA), Amy Kazoros (Indiana Public Defender's Office), and Renate Lunn (New York Legal Aid Society, on behalf of NAPD).

June 2017: The presenters are listed below.
Watch the webinar. Download the PDF of the webinar slides.

  • Judge Betty Thomas Moore, Shelby County, TN
  • Seema Gajwani, Special Counsel for Juvenile Justice Reform at the office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia
  • Zoë Root, Senior Policy Counsel at the Justice Programs Office at American University
  • April Frazier Camara, Director of Defender Legal Services Initiatives at the National Legal Aid & Defender Association

Budget Advocacy in the 21st Century

American University, Justice Programs Office and National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), with support from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), have launched the project, "Answering Gideon's Call," to provide technical assistance and information to help indigent defenders adhere to the ABA Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System. The project's 2014 survey of defender offices revealed that overwhelmingly offices desired more information to assist with budget advocacy strategies. In response to this repeated request, American University and NLADA designed this three-part webinar series to provide tools and information for defender offices to use during budget season and throughout the year.

Session I: Cultivating Relationships - January 29, 2015
Defender offices that must appeal to local or state legislatures for increased budgets could benefit greatly from allies who will advocate for their cause. With whom should you start cultivating relationships to develop allies? When? What are some strategies to open the door to these relationships? This session will talk about cultivating relationships with likely and unlikely allies, both within and outside of the criminal justice system, in support of defender offices' budget initiatives.
Ten Principles: 1, 2, 8

Session II: Data Collection and Analysis for Budget Advocacy - April 30, 2015
Everyone's talking about data, data, data. But what data should you collect for purposes of budget advocacy? How should you collect this data? How can you creatively use data you are already collecting in support of budget initiatives? This session provide answers to these questions, along with some cost effective ways to collect and analyze data in preparation for budget advocacy.
Ten Principles: 1, 2, 5, 8

View the PDF of this session.

Session III: Persuasive Budget Advocacy - July 30, 2015
Now that you have the allies and information, what are some best practices in persuasive presentation before decision makers for that budget increase? What are some tools you can use to see things your way, beyond reading from your submitted report? This session will help you think outside of the box to help you develop your presentation style and content before presenting your budget proposals to policy makers or potential funders.
Ten Principles: 1, 2, 5, 8

View the PDF of this session.

Recommended Resources:

Basic Data Every Defender Program Needs to Track, A Toolkit for Defender Leaders
The Missouri Project, A Study of the Missouri Public Defender and Attorney Workload Standards
Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from Data by Charles Wheelan

The Role of Public Defense in Reentry

Remote Townhall on the Role of Indigent Defense Service Providers in Reentry - April 28, 2016
As part of National Reentry Week, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Right to Counsel Initiative at American University held a "virtual townhall" on the role of indigent defense service providers in reentry. The event highlighted three jurisdictions that are providing services to returning citizens through their public defender offices: Washington, DC; Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; and Lee County, South Carolina. Panelists will also address funding, stakeholder buy-in, successes, and challenges. The session was moderated by Tracy Velázquez, Associate Director of the Justice Programs Office at American University. Panelists included Jamie Rodriguez, Dean Beer, and Aleksandra Chauhuan and other program staff.

View the PDF of this session.