June 4, 2012
The National Association of Drug Court professionals 18th Annual Conference, was held last week in Nashville, Tenn. Presided over by NADCP CEO West Huddleston, over 4000 attendees (an attendance record) filled Gaylord’s Grand Old Opry Hotel and Convention Center. I have been to all 18 National Conferences and found the energy and confidence displayed to be inspiring. To my mind, it was a powerful demonstration of the power of problem-solving courts to energize criminal justice reform across the nation (full disclosure: I was founding President of NADCP and am NADCP President Emeritus).
The Conference itself ran 23 tracks of 6 topic related workshops, ranging from Tribal Healing and Wellness Courts to Veteran’s Courts. Perhaps the most powerful session of the week was a plenary on Friday morning on “Reconstruction After the War on Drugs”, with Dr.Doug Marlowe, NADCP Director of Law and Science, moderating. An mportant discussion ensued on the future of Drug Reform, now that the efficacy of treatment over imprisonment has become an article of faith among conservatives and liberals alike. On the panel were Judge Steve Alm, Dr. Robert DuPont, Melody Heeps, Chris Lowenkamp, Tim Murray, and NADCP CEO West Huddleston. The coming together of these seminal figures in the Treatment Court field is a good omen for the future.