Fordham Law

Problem Solving Justice: Courts as Agents for Social Change

Over the past fifteen years, more than a thousand "drug courts" have been created in state courts across the country, in response to an epidemic of drug-related crime and dissatisfaction with traditional court procedures. At the same time, a number of other "problem solving" tribunals like domestic violence courts, community courts and mental health courts have been established. These courts, which represent self conscious attempts by the judiciary to construct court processes that achieve different outcomes than traditional approaches, raise a number of provocative questions. Does a problem solving approach jeopardize the integrity of the courts? Does it compromise due process protections? And do these courts "work"? The goal of this course is to chart the history of problem solving reform, to discuss how problem solving fits within the American legal tradition and to analyze the role that courts can and should play in addressing social problems like drug addiction, domestic violence and child abuse and neglect. The course will include visits to both traditional and problem solving courts.
Credits: 2

Type: SEM