The rates of incarceration for low level crimes committed by Hispanic and Latino drug offenders in the US are staggering. One in four federal prison inmates is a Latino. In four states, Latino youth under the age of 18 are incarcerated at adult facilities at rates between 7 and 17 times greater than those of Caucasian youths.
The Center of Excellence
The Massachusetts Center of Excellence for Specialty Courts seeks to standardize the establishment and operation of specialty courts throughout the state—while taking into account that some practices may need to be adapted to fit local circumstances.
Founded in 2014 in partnership with the Massachusetts Trial Court, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Mental Health, the Center strives to support new specialty courts, and provide resources and ideas to nurture existing specialty courts.
What is a Specialty Court?
A Specialty Court is based on the principals of addressing treatment services as a means of successfully rehabilitating participants through early, continuous and integrated treatment programs under the direct supervision of judicial oversight.
Massachusetts operates several types of specialty courts:
- Adult Drug Court
- Juvenile Drug Court
- Mental Health Court (also called Recovery with Justice)
- Veterans Treatment Court
- Homeless Court