In the last decade or so, a series of specialised or problem-solving Courts or court processes have evolved in Australia. These courts are based upon the principles of therapeutic jurisprudence which regard the law, court procedures and rules, as a social force whose goal is to produce therapeutic consequences to the participants in the legal proceedings and to society at large. Taking a holistic approach to an offender and the offenders problematic history is not an altogether new concept, as this is usually taken into account during sentencing. The ideal of tailoring sentences and having options available for treatment of an underlying problem however is one which marks a departure from simply imposing a sanction by way of sentence. This can only improve the state of our criminal justice system. In my experience, one can often feel hamstrung when dealing with offenders whose life has been ravaged by drug abuse, but will appear before the Court as an accused, most often on charges of assault, burglary or in some cases what might be an armed robbery on the lower end of the scale. If we as a community wait to provide assistance to individuals until they offend and are imprisoned, I would suggest, it is frequently too late for both the community and the offender.
Malcolm, D. K. (2005). At the cutting edge: Therapeutic jurisprudence. Paper presented at the Magistrates Court Conference. Perth, WA.