This article presents an overview of drug and other specialty courts. Section I defines specialty courts and traces their growth in number and types. It also explores the factors that sparked the specialty court movement. Section II examines drug courts, the most popular and prominent type of specialty court. It outlines key features of the drug court model, reviews the evidence of their effectiveness in reducing criminal behavior, and identifies neglected issues. Section III considers other manifestations of specialty courts and the emerging research evaluating the effectiveness of these courts. Section IV probes the policy implications of specialty court research and what this body of research suggests about the long-term viability of the specialty court movement.
Lawrence W. Sherman and Heather Strang
This article takes a look at the conclusions from twenty years of restorative justice (RJ) innovations and their status as of 2011. The discussion is primarily concerned with the face-to-face restorative justice conference (RJC), which combines offenders, their victims, and their respective families and communities, in order to decide what the offender should do to answer for his crime/s. It analyzes the evidence for the comparative effectiveness of justice with and without RJ conferences, and reviews the history and theories of RJ. The next section summarizes the logic of evaluation research on RJ, and is followed by reports of the available research on six given comparisons. This article also studies the global social movement that promotes the use of RJ.
Cheryl Marie Webster and Anthony N. Doob
This article considers the deterrence perspective, specifically the marginal deterrent impact of increased sentence severity. It introduces the “deterrence through severity” (DTS) thesis, which states that crime may be decreased by increasing the severity of the punishments. It studies the empirical evidence on the effectiveness of DTS policies, and then tries to show that DTS still is a prominent sentencing goal in many jurisdictions. It also considers some possible explanations for the coexistence of the general belief in DTS and its lack of empirical evidence. Finally, this article discusses the results of continuing DTS despite the lack of support for its effectiveness.