Treatment Courts Work!

Chief Justice Robert Brutinel, in the Arizona Supreme Court’s Strategic Agenda, urges courts to address cases which are the result of underlying social problems such as;  homelessness, veterans’ issues, mental illness, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol abuse. Treatment Courts and specialty calendars fulfill Justice Brutinel's mandate through continuous identification of best practice for restorative justice programs and opportunities to expand access to such programs in courthouses and communities.

Key Elements of Treatment Courts


Hands On Approach

Judges take a hands-on approach to address problems and change behaviors of program participants.  Ongoing judicial interaction with each individual is essential for the success of the participant and for the program. 


By forging partnerships with public agencies, and community-based organizations to achieve certain goals, Treatment Courts generate local support that enhance their own effectiveness. Partnerships are being developed with mental health providers, the Veteran's Administration, child welfare agencies and community substance abuse treatment organizations.


Treatment Courts use a non-adversarial approach.  Prosecution, defense counsel, and other program partners take on roles and processes not common for traditional courts, in order to promote public safety while protecting participants' due process rights.

Screening and Assessment Tools

 Treatment Courts use screening and assessment tools to identify appropriate individuals for programs.  Eligible participants are identified early and promptly placed into treatment programs.

Supervision and Drug Testing

Treatment Courts provide a continuum of alcohol, drug, and related treatment services.  Required abstinence, monitored through ongoing supervision and testing promotes participant accountability.

Incentives and Sanctions

Treatment Court use a strategic approach of incentives and sanctions for guiding participants away from non-compliance and toward success.