Improving lives and outcomes through innovation, evidence, and equity

The Massachusetts Center of Excellence for Specialty Courts, an initiative of the Executive Office of the Massachusetts Trial Court, aims to bring innovative, evidence-based, and equitable interventions to Specialty Courts and related settings.

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Resources for Your Work

In the Spotlight

Amy Farrell, Katie Bryce, Abigail Judge

Virtual Panel Training, Understanding Commercial Sexual Exploitation & Meeting the Needs of People Who Experience Exploitation

On March 11, 2024, from 1-3 pm, there will be a panel training exploring Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) from three distinct vantage points. Dr. Judge and Ms. Bryce will highlight local initiatives through Massachusetts General Hospital, and Boston Municipal Courts.  They will discuss the intersection of CSE and justice involvement in Boston. Dr. Farrell will focus on commercial sexual exploitation of children in Massachusetts and nationally.  The presenters will share lessons and insights from their work and discuss local, state, and national trends to illustrate how to engage people with CSE experiences, barriers to identification, what is known about the factors that predict vulnerability to CSE, and promising practices in this work. 
To register for the training, visit our events page. Or you can directly register for the training here.

Abigail M. Judge, Ph.D.

Abigail M. Judge, Ph.D.

Katie Bryce

Katie Bryce

Amy Farrell, Ph.D.

Amy Farrell, Ph.D.

Pamerson O. Ifill

Photo Credit: Massachusetts Probation Service

Commissioner Pamerson O. Ifill

Pamerson O. Ifill was appointed to serve as the Commissioner of Probation for Massachusetts and began a five-year term of office on November 27, 2023. Commissioner Ifill succeeds Commissioner Edward Dolan who was appointed in 2013 and retired in 2023.
Commissioner Ifill previously served from 2019 to 2023 as the Deputy Commissioner of Pretrial Services for the Massachusetts Probation Service. His past service also includes roles as  Regional Supervisor of Probation Services, Chief Probation Officer for Suffolk Superior Court, Regional Program Manager for the Office of Community Corrections, and Juvenile Court Probation Officer in Barnstable/Plymouth Counties. Commissioner Ifill is an adjunct professor at Suffolk University and Stonehill College.
Read the full press release here.

Dara Drawbridge & Jinnia Baiye

2024 Shannon Community Safety Initiative’s Local Action Research Partnership

Dr. Dara Drawbridge and Jinnia Baiye are funded by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s FY24 Shannon Community Safety Initiative to continue their work with Fitchburg, Gardner, and Leominster’s Tri-City Partnership as the Local Action Research Partner. The award provides funding to support the partnership in prevention and intervention efforts that address gangs and youth violence. In FY24, Dara and Jinnia will be joined by Alix Barry. The team will lead the initial piloting of the first-ever Tri-City Partnership’s Young Adult Advisory Board. The Young Adult Advisory Board (YAAB) will be comprised of a diverse group of young people between the ages of 18- 24 years who currently or previously lived in Fitchburg, Gardner, and Leominster areas and may have participated in the Tri-City Partnership’s Shannon-funded programming. The YAAB’s mission is to build an inclusive space where young people have an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions and provide input on the programmatic activities, policies, and strategies of the Tri-City Partnership and the wider communities in which they live.

Read more about the Shannon Community Safety Initiative here.

Abigail M. Judge, Ph.D.

Dara Drawbridge

Katie Bryce

Jinnia Baiye

Amy Farrell, Ph.D.

Alix Barry

Dr. Ekaterina Pivovarova
Susan James

Ayorkor Gaba & Susan James Andrew

Dr. Ayorkor Gaba co-presented with Susan James Andrew, at this year’s RISE conference. Their talk entitled, “Opioids Look Different in the Black Community,” highlighted recent data on the prevalence of opioid overdose deaths in the Black community; structural and cultural factors impacting prevention and treatment; and specialty courts’ role in addressing this growing disparity. The RISE conference annually convenes public health and public safety leaders working to expand treatment for people with substance use and mental health disorders who become involved in the justice system. Their talk was part of RISE’s Equity and Inclusion track.

Training for Recovery & Engagement in
Addiction Treatment (T.R.E.A.T) Initiative

DPH and Trial Court Seals

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS), in collaboration with its partners, the Massachusetts Executive Office of the Trial Court, the New England Association of Recovery Court Professionals, AdCare Educational Institute, and the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, Commonwealth Medicine received funds from the Bureau of Justice Assistance under its Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant program, to fund a three-year training and technical assistance (TTA) initiative, the Recovery and Veterans Court TREAT Initiative – “Training for Recovery & Engagement in Addiction Treatment.”

The goal of this initiative is to strengthen the capacity of court clinicians and treatment providers working with specialty courts, with a focus on Massachusetts Adult Drug Courts and Veterans Treatment Courts.

Interested in learning more?