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Tacoma Municipal Court Tackles Root Causes of Crime With Innovative Therapeutic Courts

Tacoma Municipal Court Tackles Root Causes of Crime With Innovative Therapeutic Courts


April 9, 2024



Maria Lee, Media and Communications, maria.lee@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-2054


Tacoma Municipal Court Tackles Root Causes of Crime With Innovative Therapeutic Courts

- Those Outside Court System Can Also Seek Help Connecting to Support and Resources -

TACOMA, Wash. -- The Tacoma Municipal Court is taking a data-driven approach to reducing crime and improving lives with two innovative therapeutic courts and proactive efforts to connect with the community. The therapeutic courts aim to address the underlying issues that often lead to criminal behavior, fostering safer communities and brighter futures for individuals.

  • Mental Health Court: This therapeutic court supports individuals with serious and persistent mental health diagnoses who are at risk of repeat criminal offenses.
  • Community Court: This therapeutic court supports individuals charged with criminal misdemeanor offenses who are often dealing with significant challenges like food insecurity, housing instability, minor mental health concerns, limited job opportunities, substance use disorders, and trauma. 

“Our therapeutic courts are not just about holding individuals personally accountable for their actions, they're also about healing and transformation,” said Presiding Judge Drew Henke.


“With access to treatment, resources and case management, participants are empowered to build better lives,” said Judge Dee Sonntag.


Successful program completion in the therapeutic courts leads to dismissed charges and, in other jurisdictions, has significantly lowered the chance of future offenses.

The Tacoma Municipal Court is also taking a proactive approach. Anyone seeking help will be connected to the support and resources they need, even those not currently in the court system.

The Tacoma Municipal Court partners closely with the Pierce County District Court Resource Center to connect Therapeutic Court participants with a wide variety of community resources. The District Court Resource Center offers supportive resources to anyone in need, regardless of their involvement in the court system. It hosts a wide variety of community resource providers throughout the week, including mental health and substance use disorder treatment providers, medication assisted treatment providers, housing specialists, insurance navigators, employment/education assistance programs, and more. It also has an onsite food bank and clothing bank. More information on its services and the schedule of the providers can be found on the Pierce County District Court Resource Center’s website.


More information on Tacoma Municipal Court’s Therapeutic Courts is available on the City’s website. Community members with questions about Tacoma Municipal Court’s Therapeutic Courts, or who need information in alternate formats, can contact Emily Splinter Felton at esfelton@cityoftacoma.org or call (253) 591-5229.