From Publishers Weekly
"There's no reason why justice has to be one-size-fits-all," argue the authors of this plainspoken guide to problem-solving courtrooms. In these courtrooms, the judge, prosecution and defense are not adversaries. Instead, once a defendant opts into a problem-solving court, all parties work as a team to address the needs of both the defendant-whom they seek to rehabilitate more than to punish-and the community at large. Although supporters of problem-solving courts have much to celebrate owing to high-profile successes, their detractors raise concerns about how well the rights of a defendant are protected when the judge, prosecution and defense sit on the same side of the table to decide what's best for the accused. Berman, director of the Center for Court Innovation think tank, and Criminal Justice Coordinator Feinblatt do a decent job addressing these and other objections, but in the end, the issue is not so much whether problem-solving courts satisfy the requirements of the traditional courtroom as whether the traditional courtroom fits the judicial topography of 21st-century America. The authors don't go so far as to dismiss the traditional courtroom out of hand, but their book seems to suggest that the problem-solving approach could replace traditional courts in most if not all cases. Sociologists and those within the legal system will no doubt be intrigued by this accessible and provocative call for change.
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About the Author
Greg Berman is the director of the Center for Court Innovation, a think tank that works to improve the performance of state courts and criminal justice agencies.
John Feinblatt is the Criminal Justice Coordinator of the City of New York. They both live in New York City.