Problem-solving courts

group of lightbulbsThe problem-solving court approach has been rapidly growing throughout the justice system. The most commonly known types of problem-solving courts are drug treatment court and OWI courts, but a wide range of other specialized courts, such as mental health, juvenile, domestic violence, and veterans are also used to address underlying issues related to a participant's criminal behavior. Problem-solving courts work across disciplines and with other institutions to use interventions that treat the offender, while also holding them accountable for their criminal actions.

State CJCC Program Map (external website) (To add to or update information in program map, visit the CJCC website.)
Wisconsin Treatment Court Standards — 2018 (external website)

Performance measures

"Wisconsin Statewide Drug and Hybrid Court Performance Measures: A Foundation for Performance Management," is a comprehensive report establishing 17 areas of measurement that help drug treatment courts in Wisconsin perform effectively and efficiently. The report is the result of collaboration between the Director of State Courts Office, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), and an advisory group consisting of judges, district court administrators, county drug treatment program coordinators, representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Justice and Department of Corrections, and staff from the Office of Court Operations.

Wisconsin counties that run treatment court programs can use the report as a guideline for collecting relevant data to evaluate performance in a variety of areas, including: sobriety; recidivism; restitution; drug-testing, screening, and assessment; supervision; and employment and education. The report sets targets to provide a point of comparison to help drug court managers assess program areas that are performing well and areas that may be in need of improvement. The performance measures are intended to help provide feedback for making continuous improvement in a treatment court program.

Wisconsin Statewide Drug and Hybrid Court Performance Measures Adobe PDF

Key components of problem-solving courts

The Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice sponsored development of "The Key Components" for drug treatment courts, created by a committee of The National Association of Drug Court Professionals. These ten components form the basis for standards for drug-treatment courts.

The 10 key components

  1. Drug courts integrate alcohol and other drug treatment services with justice system case processing.
  2. Using a non-adversarial approach, prosecution and defense counsel promote public safety while protecting participants' due process rights.
  3. Eligible participants are identified early and promptly placed in the drug court program.
  4. Drug courts provide access to a continuum of alcohol, drug, and other related treatment and rehabilitation services.
  5. Abstinence is monitored by frequent alcohol and other drug testing.
  6. A coordinated strategy governs drug court responses to participants' compliance.
  7. Ongoing judicial interaction with each drug court participant is essential.
  8. Monitoring and evaluation measure the achievement of program goals and gauge effectiveness.
  9. Continuing interdisciplinary education promotes effective drug court planning, implementation, and operations.
  10. Forging partnerships among drug courts, public agencies, and community-based organizations generates local support and enhances drug court program effectiveness.

National Association of Drug Court Professionals – Defining Drug Courts: The Key Components (external link), US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Additional problem-solving court information (external links)

General information

Drug/OWI courts

Reentry courts

Mental health courts

Domestic violence courts

Veterans courts

For more information, contact the Office of Court Operations at (608) 266-3121.