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Therapeutic Jurisprudence in Social Work and Criminal Justice (From Social Work in Juvenile and Criminal Justice Settings, Third Edition, P 287-299, 2007, Albert R. Roberts and David W. Springer, eds. -- See NCJ-217866)

NCJ Number
Carrie J. Petrucci
Date Published
13 pages
This chapter explains the basic tenets of therapeutic jurisprudence, reviews current social science and legal research that has explored therapeutic jurisprudence in social work and criminal justice, discusses common themes across therapeutic jurisprudence and social work, and suggests future directions.
"Therapeutic jurisprudence" focuses on the analysis of how the law and its administration impact the health and well-being of those influenced by it. It attempts to bring change in the law and its administration by asking questions related to participants' health and well-being in addition to due-process questions. Therapeutic jurisprudence continually asks how legal actors, legal rules, and legal procedures can be designed to increase therapeutic effects while diminishing the harms caused. It involves interdisciplinary knowledge and practice derived from research-based strategies rooted in social and behavioral sciences. More research is needed before the effectiveness of the therapeutic jurisprudence framework can be determined. This chapter presents an overview of the types of studies that have been conducted, the populations studied, and their potential for practice and policy recommendations. Social work and law experts Robert Madden and Raymie Wayne (2003) have identified six social-work roles that are particularly useful in the pursuit of therapeutic jurisprudence. These are the use of a systems approach in analyzing cause and effect, a focus on process and outcome, the management of competing values, an emphasis on social justice for vulnerable populations, and the use of quantitative and qualitative approaches in the management of systems. Interdisciplinary collaboration between social-work schools and law schools is important in exploring the practice of therapeutic jurisprudence and social work. 77 references