The Criminal Justice Commission of Oregon has Developed a Peer Review Process
Specialty Court Peer Reviews (Content from the CJC Website)
- Specialty courts include drug courts, veterans courts, and mental health courts. These courts focus on addressing the root causes of crime, working with offenders to offer treatment and solve the underlying problems that lead to their criminal activity. Their goal is to increase participants’ odds of living crime-free lives.
We train volunteers to do site visits, which involves observing the court in action, interviewing key participants, and examining data submitted by the court in question.
We conduct site visits along with volunteers and provide the final report to the county, giving credit for successes along with recommendations for improvements.
By doing these peer reviews, we ensure that specialty courts are operating with fidelity, fulfilling the elements that have been proven through research to be essential for effective specialty courts.
Monitoring Oregon’s Specialty Courts for Fidelity to Best Practices
- To monitor fidelity to best practice, CJC has developed a peer review process. This process consists of peers from one specialty court reviewing another to ensure that the court being reviewed is engaging in the best practices articulated in the Oregon Specialty Court Standards document. Courts being reviewed are then provided feedback and recommendations to be used to improve the program. (link to peer review docs and possible sample review).
The Main Activities Involved in the Peer Review Process Include:
- Online survey about program characteristics, policies, and procedures completed by the program being reviewed.
- 2-day site visit where peers observe staffing and court hearings, interview team members and partner agency staff, talk with program participants, and review program documents.
- On-site debrief of assessment findings.
- Summary report of feedback, including a table of treatment court standards and which ones the program is meeting, recommendations for program improvement, documentation of innovative/successful practices to share with other programs, and requests for future training or resources.
All programs will be expected to participate in the review process, allowing peers to visit and conduct the assessment. A review will be planned for each program every 2-3 years, with programs needing more support being visited more frequently. Peer reviewers are volunteers and training will be provided at no cost to the reviewers. Travel expenses for both reviews and training will be paid by the CJC. Team members or partners who are interested in being a peer reviewer.