Beyond the traditional problems of substance abuse, mental health, and domestic violence, Australia has other court-based processes and programs that are sometimes nested under the umbrella of problem-solving courts, as they embody some of the guiding principles of these courts. However, we reason that some of these actually fall outside the scope of problem-solving courts. For example, Australia has recently seen the introduction of justice programs based on the “swift, certain, and fair” (SCF) paradigm (based on Project HOPE), such as the COMMIT (Compliance Management or Incarceration in the Territory) program. While some have made impassioned cases that such programs adhere to therapeutic jurisprudence principles (e.g., Bartels, In press), we conclude that they are ideologically and procedurally distinct. Although problem-solving courts and HOPE-like programs share the elements of judicial monitoring and emphasize accountability, problem-solving courts focus on targeted collaborative intervention (Bowen & Whitehead, 2015) rather than deterrence. The seeming “underlying progressive orientation” of Project HOPE should not persuade onlookers that SCF programs are benevolent or rehabilitation-focused (Cullen, Pratt, & Turanovic, 2016, p. 1215). Problem-solving courts focus on underlying criminogenic needs that have been validated as such (such as substance abuse; Bonta & Andrews, 2017), while SCF programs employ the debunked strategy that greater control will solve the problem of offending.
Posted on by Kelly Smith