The Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice provides funding for NDCI to provide speakers to support state treatment court conferences and other events around the country. Tell us what subjects are important to your state and we will identify speakers to bring their expertise to your conference -- all at no cost to your state organization!
Below is a list of 2020 hot topics, with information on individual presentations. You can also choose from the list of topics on the right.
Incentives and sanctions, also known as contingency management, are essential to treatment court success. When properly used, they are a powerful tool for improving client behavior and program outcomes. Treatment courts achieve better outcomes when practitioners understand the science behind behavior management and apply the principles. The research is clear--impacting reliably participant behavior requires both consistent reinforcement of positive behaviors and reliable responses to undesirable behaviors. Nonetheless, despite our best intentions (and perhaps the best intentions of the participants,) sometimes it doesn’t work. For some participants, our responses to behavior seem to have no impact. This session will describe the essential elements of effective behavior modification in a drug court and reveal what actions a program should consider when their efforts appear futile.
- Understand the science underlying incentives, sanctions, and other responses in specialty courts.
- Understand the essential elements of effective behavior modification in specialty courts.
- Discover the four reasons contingency management doesn’t work and actions a program can take to address those causes of failure.
Equity and Inclusion
Racial disparities in drug and other treatment courts continues to be a challenge as it relates to access, engagement, retention, service delivery and other areas. Courts struggle to address the issue of disparities, and many don’t recognize they exist. The Adult Drug Court Best Practice Standards state that citizens who have “historically experienced sustained discrimination or reduced social opportunities because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, physical or mental disability, religion, or socioeconomic status receive the same opportunities as others.” This session will explore how a drug court can ensure equivalent access, retention, treatment, incentives and sanctions, dispositions, and provide team training on the necessary issues.
- Learn the best practice standard on Historically Disadvantaged Groups.
- Implement strategies to ensure equivalent treatment of all persons in drug court.
Operationalizing equivalent access to disadvantaged groups can sound difficult but NADCP has developed several tools and ways to expand equivalent access to all populations. This session will demonstrate how teams can identify and enhance access to populations who have experienced historical discrimination. There will be a component introducing the newly developed Equity and Inclusion Toolkit and how teams can create and execute a plan for utilization of the toolkit. This session will give teams the tools to identify specific shortcomings of their programs and how they can use the toolkit enhancements to ensure that there is equivalent access to all disadvantaged populations.
- Define and identify existing implicit and explicit biases.
- Identify barriers to specific populations and how to remove them.
- Identify tools to assist in ensuring equivalent access to disadvantaged populations
This presentation will teach the dynamics of working with Native American people and the history of generational trauma. This plenary will teach the importance of working on relationships and the importance of listening to what culture is saying instead of telling them “what they need to do” Furthermore, this plenary will explain the importance of culture when working with different populations.
- Learn the do and don’ts of working with Native American peoples.
- Learn and understand the Trauma history of Native American peoples.
Historically, treatment programs treat both men and women together, often providing the same services. Research shows treatment needs for women differ from men and are often more complex. Additionally, research shows that women who participate in gender specific programs have improved outcomes. An emerging promising practice addressing the specific gender needs of treatment court participants includes gender specific treatment court programming.
- Understand the unique needs and issues women face.
- Learn the key components to building programming on a woman’s strengths and competencies.
- Recognize the importance of developing programs that approach the treatment needs of women using a comprehensive and holistic strategy.
This presentation will delve into the dynamics of domestic violence and the subtleties of why partners stay in domestic violence relationships. This plenary will examine the cycle of violence and the mental co-dependency and cognitive dissonance that can be created to trap someone in an abusive/controlling relationship. Furthermore, this plenary will explain how substance use disorder can be a supporting factor in domestic violence relationships.
- Learn the difference between power/control and anger issues.
- Learn the dynamics of domestic violence relationships.
- Learn about the continuum of force concept.
- Learn how to interact with victims of domestic violence.
This session looks at the client’s needs to assist treatment court teams in identifying resources supporting their life in recovery. Treatment court teams create a plan for what is in the best needs of the client; however, engaging the client is important so they take ownership and are empowered to embrace recovery. The session looks at specific ancillary services needed to be addressed to ensure success in recovery.
- Attendees will identify tools to help determine the client’s needs.
- Attendees will understand how meeting the client’s needs reinforces a life in recovery.
- Attendees will identify ancillary services needed to support someone in recovery.
What are the best practices for DWI court and how do you implement them in your program? After a brief review of the research on the effectiveness of DWI courts, this session will focus on a discussion with the audience of how DWI courts have implemented research-based best practices in their programs and strategies for successful implementation.
- Understand the research findings on DWI court effectiveness and what is unique about DWI court participants.
- Learn about DWI court best practices.
- Gain awareness of strategies for implementing best practices in your DWI court.
Over 10,000 people nationwide are killed each year in an alcohol-impaired-driving crash. Nationally, a significant percentage of traffic fatalities involve an impaired driver and an overwhelming majority are caused by repeat offenders or drivers with high blood alcohol content. This session will highlight the current state of impaired driving. Additionally, it will showcase collaborative partnerships, cutting-edge research, and evidence-based practices for assessing, treating, and supervising repeat impaired-driving offenders with substance use disorders.
- Understand the impact impaired driving has on communities, including the causes for most of crashes and fatalities.
- Identify the 10 Guiding Principles of DUI Courts and the best practices utilized in DUI courts.
- Identify collaborative partnerships to improve outcomes.
This session will provide an opportunity to learn the value of incorporating family therapy in substance abuse treatment and how it may provide a stronger recovery.
- Learn to distinguish between family psychoeducation, family-integration, and family therapy.
- Understand the value of incorporating family therapy in substance abuse treatment.
This presentation will help recognize the warning signs of potential co-dependent relationships that clients are engaged in and education on how to untangle those damaging relationships. This plenary will also define the underlying self-centeredness that co-dependency creates by examining the underlying processes that occur when one is reliant on other people for approval and a sense of identity.
- Recognize the warning signs of co-dependency relationships.
- Learn techniques to educate clients and family members on the dynamics of co-dependent relationships.
This presentation will discuss the dynamics of enablement in substance use disorder and how it can impede recovery. The presentation will also discuss the importance of accountability and consequences. This presentation will look at the difference between co-dependent relationships and enablement. Finally, this plenary will look at some of the cultural ties that enablement has.
- Learn the difference between helping behavior and enabling behavior.
- Learn the difference between abstinence and recovery.
- Learn about co-dependent relationships.
This presentation will educate the importance of replacing unhealthy relationships with healthy support networks in recovery. Furthermore, this presentation will educate on the dangers of group-think mentality and dynamics it can have on recovery and criminal behavior, which can result in the irrational or dysfunctional decision-making process for the sole purpose of maintaining psychological homeostasis.
- Learn the importance of social groups and how they can affect recovery and criminal behavior.
- Learn what happens when group-think mentality engages and the effects it can have on moral reasoning and motivation.
Recovery is more than abstinence. Recovery is more than remission. Recovery is a process of change through which individuals achieve remission from substance use disorder and improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. Research demonstrates that recovery is not only possible, it’s probable. Most people living with SUD will eventually achieve stable long-term recovery. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same likelihood of moving from addiction to recovery. This session will explore the critical steps in achieving stable recovery, the factors that differentiate those who recover from those who do not, and how treatment courts can help.
- The essence and characteristics of addiction and recovery
- Five essential actions steps that anyone seeking recovery must accomplish
- How a person’s capacity for stable recovery is measurable and able to be improved through effective treatment and recovery management
Learn about the dynamics of substance use disorder and the relapse and support that clients will need upon entering recovery. This plenary will help you define the difference between abstinence and recovery, and it will highlight the importance of safety nets and supports systems that the substance use disorder individual will need to be successful. Furthermore, it will develop safety plans and tools that can be utilized to help the road to recovery.
- Learn the difference between abstinence and recovery.
- Learn the strategies to help support a person in recovery.
- Factors that can cause relapse.
Relapse, also known as recurrence, is a persistent, yet manageable risk in recovery. Managing this risk requires the concerted efforts of everyone on the drug court team and others in the recovery community. This fascinating session will examine both the prevailing views regarding recurrence of substance use disorder (SUD) and the multi-dimensional aspects of effective relapse/recurrence prevention planning and programming. Essential information will be shared regarding how to manage the single greatest and most common danger in the immediate aftermath of a relapse/recurrence—the abstinence violation effect.
- How “relapse/recurrence” differs in clinically significant ways for “continued or resumed use.”
- The essential components of successful relapse/recurrence prevention planning and programming.
- How to effectively reduce the risk of relapse/recurrence and how to reduce the harms of relapse/recurrence if it occurs.
Roles in Treatment Court
Prosecutors play an important role in treatment courts and take on responsibilities that differ from those found in traditional criminal courts while maintaining the duty to protect public safety. In a traditional court of law, the prosecutor is tasked with seeking justice by convicting those who have violated the law. In drug courts, prosecutors are expected to use a therapeutic approach, with a willingness to work with others on the drug court team and to support the mission and goals of problem-solving courts. Effective prosecutors for treatment courts are skilled in the core competencies of this unique role and are proactive team members in and outside of court.
- The attendee will expand his/her understanding of how a prosecutor can work proactively on a treatment court team.
- The attendee will gain an understanding of the core competencies for a prosecutor participating in a treatment court.
- The attendee will understand the importance of employing a different paradigm, a therapeutic approach, in seeking justice through the treatment court program.
Prosecutors in Veterans Treatment Courts (VTC) are part of strong, interdisciplinary teams dedicated to serving the justice-involved veteran population. Due to the unique characteristics of this population, it is incumbent on the prosecutor to understand issues common to VTC participants, including substance use disorder, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and military sexual trauma. The prosecutor must also be familiar with the Veterans Administration, veteran’s justice outreach specialists, and the veteran mentor component. This knowledge is needed for the prosecutor to assist the team with assessing eligibility, determining appropriate responses to client behavior, and addressing the unique needs of the justice-involved veterans.
- The attendee will understand the unique characteristics of the justice-involved veteran population and how psychological injuries can lead to the veterans’ involvement in the criminal justice system.
- The attendee will understand the importance of understanding PTSD, military trauma, TBI, and military culture.
- The attendee will gain an understanding of the core competencies for a prosecutor participating in a veteran’s treatment court.
This presentation will educate about the importance of self-care in the treatment court field and steps to take to preserve mental and physical health. Attendees will discover the importance of self-care, which can help boost self-esteem and produce a more productive work environment and work product. This plenary will teach you how to speak up for yourself and explain why your self-care needs are important.
- Recognize the warning signs of stress.
- Learn self-care techniques and strategies.
Our work comes with tremendous stress, trauma and pressure. Each day we serve people who are struggling and are witness to and exposed to tremendous amounts of trauma, sadness and dysfunction. At the same time, we are faced with structural and systemic challenges around safety and security, funding, technological change, and a list that goes on and on. Do you ever ask yourself whether you are going to survive this work? Do you wonder if you can continue to rise to the challenge, get everything done, stay engaged? We will delve into the nature of the problem so we can understand what prolonged stress, exposure and challenge does to us and our teams. But more importantly, we will explore research-based practices and solutions that each one of us can implement to meet the challenges for ongoing health, satisfaction and performance. The answer is that we can survive and even thrive by focusing on and implement mindful resilience strategies.
- Understand the impact that the stress, trauma and constant pressure in our work has on us and the people we work with.
- Identify and begin planning how to implement clear strategies and workable solutions for moving toward better health, performance and resilience as people and organizations.
- Learn ideas and strategies we can implement to lead our teams to be more mindfully effective, better prepared, and positioned to respond to the changes and challenges that will surely keep coming.
This presentation will explore the frequently overlooked issue of impairment and burnout in helping professionals. All of us seek to balance the stresses and strains of our private lives with the need to perform effectively at work. Even in tough times most of us are able to “pull it together” long enough to get through our day. However, there are times when issues such as excessive duties, divorce, disease, drinking, drugging, depression or other dysfunction rob us of our ability to do our jobs and/or find joy in doing so. Whether the problem results from an acute incident or from a chronic problem that has reached the breaking point, the consequences can be life and livelihood threatening. This presentation is essential for those who fear they may be impaired; want to know the warning signs of impairment; want to know how to avoid becoming impaired; or want to know how best to support co-workers or loved ones who are struggling.
- Know the warning signs of professional impairment and burnout; and prevention strategies.
- Understand the “impairment continuum” and the most common manifestations and causes of impairment.
- Develop strategies for coping with impairment to facilitate a return to full fitness for duty.
This session will discuss the various types of funding and resources available to drug courts. Sustainability is a major concern for many drug courts and having a plan from the beginning – as the presentation recommends – is vital to ensure long-term survival.
- Identify the range of resources and options to support drug courts, including the sources of monetary and nonmonetary resources.
- Recognize the role of the drug court team in developing a long-term funding strategy.
This session will provide a general overview regarding trauma and its impact on a person’s life and functioning level. The attendee will walk out with a better understanding of screening tools and interventions currently used to support those who are struggling with trauma.
- Learn how trauma is defined.
- Understand the different categories and types of trauma.
- Understand the trauma and its impact.
- Identify some screening tools that are commonly used to identify trauma.
- Identify evidence-based treatment being used to treat people with trauma.
The GAINS Center has developed training for criminal justice professionals to raise awareness about trauma and its effects. “How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses.”
- Increase understanding and awareness of the impact of trauma.
- Develop trauma-informed responses.
- Provide strategies for developing and implementing trauma-informed policies.
This session outlines the effects of alcohol and drugs on the brain. It discusses the most recent research in the area and stresses the importance and effectiveness of treatment to combat addiction.
- Describe the short- and long-term neurological effects of alcohol and drug use and their implications for treatment.
- Evaluate the application of current research findings to the practice of alcohol and drug treatment.
- Recognize the short- and long-term general effects of alcohol and other drug use on brain physiology and behavior.
- Understand the difference between use, abuse, and dependence/addiction and begin to develop appropriate and attainable expectations for offenders in your DWI court treatment program.
Persons with co-occurring mental illnesses and substance use disorders are in all types of adult drug courts. Substance misuse is the most common and clinically significant comorbid disorder among adults with severe mental illness. It is estimated that about 70-74 percent of persons in the criminal justice system affected by co-occurring disorders. Effective treatment planning is critical to positive outcomes both in treatment and in treatment court case-planning.
- Recognize the necessity of matching treatment approaches to the individual.
- Recognize the necessity of providing a comprehensive continuum of treatment and ancillary services.
- Develop an understanding of the complex interactions between flexible treatment and case planning while maintaining integrity to the ADC Best Practice Standards.
This session discusses the importance of treatment to treatment court model. Further, it discusses the various approaches and methods of treatment for clients while they are in treatment court. The session also discusses the various ways to continue treatment after an individual leaves treatment court and the importance of continuing care to maintain a recovery lifestyle.
- Recognize clinical treatment services as the primary function of the treatment court model.
- Understand the blending of primary clinical services with criminal justice case processing.
- Define good treatment and its components.
- Identify the major characteristics and advantages of standard treatment approaches.
- Recognize the necessity of matching treatment approaches to the individual.
- Recognize the necessity of providing a comprehensive continuum of treatment and ancillary services.
- Recognize the necessity of providing continuing care after discharge from treatment court.
This presentation will educate the common layperson of the dynamics of many common co-occurring disorders that are often related to a substance use disorder. Furthermore, this presentation shows common behaviors that occur with mental health disorders and the different therapies that are used to treat those behaviors.
- Learn patterns of behavior common with certain mental health disorders.
- Learn different types of therapies that are commonly used for mental health disorders.
- Learn the dynamics of co-occurring mental health disorders.
This session will look at how to address the lack of engagement or resistance to treatment.
To look at treatment resistance through lenses of opportunity.
- Understanding the value in creating treatment alliance to reduce resistance.
- Understanding the importance of motivation and how motivation looks different for people.
Recommended for full treatment court teams interested in learning about medication-assisted treatment and how to incorporate the use of the FDA-approved medications in their programs. Opioid use disorder has quickly become a national crisis, as communities are seeing the number of deaths from drug overdoses overtake those from car accidents. Research has shown that the use of medication-assisted treatment in combination with substance use disorder treatment is effective and can help people sustain recovery.
- Learn the biological basis for substance use disorders.
- Identify the goals for treatment.
- Know the medications currently FDA-approved for the treatment of Opioid Use Disorders.
- Learn the key indications and contraindications for medications used to treat Opioid Use Disorders.
- Recognize how physicians decide on treatment changes and reduce the risk of diversion.
Being a Trauma-Informed Court
Best Practice Standards and Fidelity to the Model
Best Practices and the Opioid Crisis
Do the Adult Best Practice Standards Apply to Other Courts?
Drug Testing 101
Drug Testing Myth Busters
Drug Testing and Medication Assisted Treatment
Implementing Multiple Tracks
The Importance of Data Collection and Evaluation
Incentives and Sanctions
LBGQT Population in Treatment Courts
Problems Facing Rural Drug Courts and Innovative Responses
The Role of Law Enforcement
Working with Methamphetamine Involved Participants