Treatment court staffs’ perceptions in support of the use of virtual services in court post-pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted traditional courthouse operations, resulting in the abrupt and extensive adoption of virtual court proceedings. To date, limited empirical research has evaluated virtual treatment courts. Utilizing a novel national survey administered to 358 treatment court team members, we examine support for and barriers to virtual courts. Tested barriers include (a) access to technology, (b) Wi-Fi/internet, (c) private space to use technology, (d) technological skill level, and (e) attitudes toward virtual services. Staff most commonly reported “high support” for the continuation of virtual court proceedings including both hearings and pre-court meetings, and few staff reported “low support.” Treatment court team members expressing technological barriers—faced by themselves or clients—were less likely to support ongoing virtual services. Our analysis offers timely insights into how treatment courts have been transformed by the pandemic and an appreciation of barriers to and support for virtual continuation post-pandemic.

Publication Year: 2024

Lead Author: Meghan M. O'Neil

Journal: Criminal Justice and Behavior

Publication Type(s): Courts