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JPO Unveils New Resources for Drug Treatment Courts

Preeti P. Menon, Zephi Francis, Leola Abraham, Janeanne Gonzales, Joseph T. Johnson II
From left to right: Preeti P. Menon, Zephi Francis, Leola Abraham, Janeanne Gonzales, Joseph T. Johnson II

The Justice Programs Office (JPO), a research center in the School of Public Affairs at American University, showcased its new resources during the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) Rise19 Conference, held July 14-17, 2019. JPO held sessions on the recently launched Drug Court Review, a peer-reviewed journal established to promote research on issues relevant to the field, and the soon-to-be released Racial and Ethnic Disparities (RED) Program Assessment Tool.

JPO, which also manages the National Drug Court Resource Center, provides resources, tools, and evidence-based best practices for treatment court professionals serving justice-involved individuals with substance use and mental health disorders.  

“Treatment courts are a form of criminal justice reform,” said JPO director Kim Ball. “We know that drug court professionals seek resources to improve efficiency and fidelity in their courtroom. When we saw there was a need within courts to better identify racial and ethnic disparities, we built a tool to assist with that. It’s one part of what our team does as we work with courts to translate the latest research into tools and training on emerging issues.”

The team gave a preview of the soon-to-be released RED Program Assessment Tool, which they developed to help treatment capture information about their operations and procedures, with an emphasis on examining areas where racial and ethnic disparities may exist.

“We received extremely positive feedback, and after the RED session, the Ohio state drug court coordinator invited our team to present at their statewide conference in November,” said Preeti P. Menon, JPO senior associate director.

In addition, Dr. John Eassey, Researcher-in-Residence, hosted a session on the most recent issue of Drug Court Review. The team also participated in panel sessions on rural treatment courts, data collection, and juvenile justice.

Arguably the largest gathering on addiction, mental health, and the justice system, the NADCP event boasts participation numbers upwards of 5,000 including treatment court professionals and leaders from the recovery community, law enforcement, veteran service organizations, legislators, and other key stakeholders.