Therapeutic Jurisprudence (“TJ”) looks at the law and legal systems as potential therapeutic (or anti-therapeutic) agents for the lives of people and communities.
Under TJ, the “law” consists of
- legal rules and procedures as well as
- the practices and techniques of legal actors (judges, lawyers, therapists and others) working in a legal environment.
In the criminal law, TJ is best known for its use in special ‘problem-solving courts’, such as drug treatment courts and mental health courts.
Now, however, an effort is being made – internationally – to “mainstream” TJ: to bring therapeutic jurisprudence practices into the “ordinary” criminal justice legal system.
A recent monograph by one of TJ’s founders David Wexler, offers tips as to how we can improve criminal cases through the mainstreaming of TJ in the areas of:
- Pleas and criminal sentencing conferences;
- Sentence imposition;
- Post-incarceration conditional release structures;
- Appellate courts.