Poster Paper: Policy Administration from the Bench: A Study of the Diffusion of Problem-Solving Courts

Saturday, November 9, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Plaza Exhibits (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Samuel J. Owens and Sarah Ausmus Smith, University of Kentucky

While society traditionally thinks of judges and the judiciary as impartial interpreters of the law, it is recognized in the literature that they are policymakers (Wilson 1989). Going one step further, we argue that judges are also frontline social service providers with the rise of problem-solving courts (PSCs). These courts actively provide human services by addressing the causes of criminal behavior, such as drug addiction, through the court system (Strong, Rantala and Kychelhaln 2016). Using a hazard model, we examine the determinants of the diffusion of drug courts in the states. While much scholarly attention has been paid to the design and implementation of policy in the other two branches of government, very little empirical work has focused on the diffusion of policymaking through the judiciary.