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Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts Publications 


As part of TLPI's Tribal Healing to Wellness Court Training and Technical Assistance Project, the following publication series features resources on the fundamentals of, as well as innovations within the Healing to Wellness Court/Drug Court model. 

Using traditional storytelling as a guide,Tribal Judicial Leadership in Healing to Wellness Courts looks at leadership from a tribal perspective. Tribal Healing to Wellness team leaders and tribal judges are faced with numerous responsibilities. Tribal judges are expected to actively participate with team members, participants, and ensure the sustainability of the Tribal Healing to Wellness Court within the Judicial Branch. This publication looks to traditional stories to provide a guide for tribal judges for effective tribal judicial leadership within Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts by discussing the responsibilities of Tribal judges, the cultural components of Tribal judicial leadership, and how they interact with the Tribal Healing to Wellness Court Ten Key Components.

Serving LGBTQ2S+ Participants in Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts: An Annotated Resource Guide will provide available resources to Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts (THWCs) serving Native LGBTQ2S+ participants in an effort to bridge information gaps, increase access to treatment services, and decrease high rates of incarceration within tribal communities. Indigenous people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit, and other identities of gender and sexuality are severely underserved, and yet, they make up a community who are most at risk of developing substance use disorders and experiencing other harms related to it. Despite this fact, there is a dearth of resources for serving this community in Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts. Additionally, there is little research about serving any LGBTQ2S+ person, Native or non-Native, in state treatment courts. While there are limited resources available for Indigenous LGBTQ2S+ participants in THWCs, this resource guide will provide information related to the following: issues for LGBTQ2S+ participants in treatment courts (not Native/Tribal specific), a list of judicial benchbooks and bench cards on LGBTQ2S+ people in state courts, general issues for Native/Tribal LGBTQ2S+ people, and general issues for LGBTQ2S+ people who are not Native/Tribal.

Promising Strategies for Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts: Peer to Peer Learning through Mentor Courts describes The Tribal Law and Policy Institute’s Mentor Court Program, which was conceived to address a critical gap in the provision of Tribal specific technical assistance. While Federal and State mentor court programs offer valuable insights, they often lack focus on Tribal-specific issues such as jurisdictional complexities, limited access to resources, heightened rates of substance abuse, co-occurring disorders, cultural values, and historical trauma. Furthermore, the unique sovereign status of Tribal nations, each with its own customs, laws, and cultural needs, necessitates tailored approaches to the development and sustainability of Tribal Healing to Wellness programs. The peer-to-peer learning that occurs between Mentor Courts and Sister Courts (or mentee courts) is representative of the interconnectedness of indigenous peoples and the significance of shared knowledge. We believe that the Mentor Court/Sister Court model promotes Tribal sovereignty and self-determination within Indigenous justice systems.

Models for Integrating Veteran’s Services with Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts. This infographic, developed in collaboration with the National American Indian Court Judges Association, is a guide to bridging Veteran’s Treatment Courts and Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts.  American Indians/Alaska Natives have the highest rate of military service of any other demographic group. Native Veterans are also disproportionately impacted in physical and mental health, traumatic experiences and PTSD, substance abuse, and housing insecurity upon return from service. These factors often contribute to justice system involvement. The Veteran Treatment Court model has overlapping goals with a Tribal Healing to Wellness Court in promoting the well-being of participants while addressing a legal issue, focusing on treatment and healing rather than legal consequence. As such, an integration of these court models could be highly beneficial to meet the needs of Native Veterans, yet few combined court models exist. This infographic illustrates four potential approaches to bridging a Veteran Treatment Court with a Tribal Healing to Wellness Court to provide culturally specific, veteran-centric services for Native Veterans.

Formalizing Healing to Wellness Courts in Tribal Law (2022) tracks the ways in which Tribes have drafted Wellness Courts into tribal law. Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts are restorative justice components of the Tribal Court. To the extent they operate a docket, adjudicate cases, and most critically, heal and restore members and the community, some Tribes have noted their existence in the Tribal code. Because each Tribe is structurally and culturally unique, there is no one correct way to promulgate a Wellness Court into Tribal law, or if that exercise is even necessary. This publication identifies the considerations for code drafting, identifies variations, and pushes Tribes to contemplate how the Wellness Court operates in relation to other parts of the Tribal judiciary and Tribal law.

Intergovernmental Collaboration is intended to assist Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts interested in building intergovernmental collaborations, including tribal-state collaborations. Whether a Wellness Court has been operational for decades or is still in the planning process, collaboration is essential. This resource frames the subject by providing a brief history of Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts, discusses some common traits found in existing collaborations, and then uses those common traits to discuss actual collaborations that are operating in the Tribal Wellness Court context. (2021)

The Key Components discusses the foundational elements of the Healing to Wellness Court modeldetailing the 10 key components and recommended practices for tribal justice systems to consider as they design, develop, and implement a Tribal Healing to Wellness Court. (2nd ed. 2014)

The Treatment Guidelines provides tribal communities with an overview of Western substance abuse treatment strategies. This guideline draws upon drug court standards and best practices, and the experiences of hundreds of tribal and state adult and juvenile drug courts. (2nd ed. 2017)

The Judicial Bench Book overviews the role of the Healing to Wellness Court judge which differs dramatically from the adversarial trial court judge, both in mechanics and in philosophy. In Wellness Court, the judge serves as the captain or the coach of the team, focused on healing and collaboration. This publication orients and serves the Wellness Court judge while on the bench and includes Bench Cards intended to serve as tools that package relevant information in an abbreviated format. (2016)

Case Management provides Wellness Courts and their staff a guide to effective case management and the case manager role. This resource discusses the  drug court case management standards, the functions of case management within a Wellness Court, the models and ethics of case management, data and evaluation, and the role of case management can be functionally and ethically shared by other members of the Wellness Court team. (2018)

The Policies and Procedures Guide overviews the key considerations for what should be included in an adult Wellness Court Policies and Procedures manual, including team members’ roles, phase systems, and drug testing. This publication provides excerpts from fifteen operational manuals. (2015)

Overview of Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts provides a brief overview of Healing to Wellness Courts, 
exploring some of the unique opportunities and challenges faced in implementation and operation. (2nd. ed. 2014)

This Program Development Guide provides step-by-step recommendations for the design, development, and implementation of Tribal Healing to Wellness Court programs from a practical standpoint. (Draft 2002)

Perceptions of Methamphetamine Use  details the perceptions of professionals from three Western Tribal communities who were asked to complete a survey about meth use and implications for child abuse in the communities in which they worked. (2007)

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