Tips for using therapeutic jurisprudence to improve mainstream criminal courts 

Therapeutic Jurisprudence (“TJ”) looks at the law and legal systems as potential therapeutic (or anti-therapeutic) agents for the lives of people and communities.

Under TJ, the “law” consists of

  • legal rules and procedures as well as
  • the practices and techniques of legal actors (judges, lawyers, therapists and others) working in a legal environment.

In the criminal law, TJ is best known for its use in special ‘problem-solving courts’, such as drug treatment courts and mental health courts.

Now, however, an effort is being made – internationally – to “mainstream” TJ: to bring therapeutic jurisprudence practices into the “ordinary” criminal justice legal system.

A recent monograph by one of TJ’s founders David Wexler, offers tips as to how we can improve criminal cases through the mainstreaming of TJ in the areas of:

  • Pleas and criminal sentencing conferences;
  • Sentence imposition;
  • Post-incarceration conditional release structures;
  • Appellate courts.

Read the full paper here David Wexler, Getting Started with the Mainstreaming of Therapeutic Jurosprudence in Criminal Cases: Tips on how and where to begin.

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