What is a Tribal Healing to Wellness Court?

What is a Tribal Healing to Wellness Court?

A Tribal Healing to Wellness Court is not simply a tribal court that handles alcohol or other drug abuse cases. It is, rather, a component of the tribal justice system that incorporates and adapts the wellness concept to meet the specific substance abuse needs of each tribal community. It provides an opportunity for each Native American community to address the devastation of alcohol or other drug abuse by establishing more structure and a higher level of accountability for these cases through a system of comprehensive supervision, drug testing, treatment services, immediate sanctions and incentives, teambased case management, and community support. The team includes not only tribal judges, advocates, prosecutors, police officers, educators, and substance abuse and mental health professionals, but also tribal elders and traditional healers. The concept borrows from traditional problem-solving methods utilized since time immemorial, and restores the person to his or her rightful place as a contributing member of the tribal community. The programs utilize the unique strengths and history of each tribe, and realign existing resources available to the community in an atmosphere of communication, cooperation and collaboration (Native American Alliance Foundation, 2006; Tribal Law & Policy Institute, 2003).

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