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Therapeutic Courts

Tacoma Municipal Therapeutic Courts


While all courts aim to reduce criminal behavior, therapeutic courts take a unique approach to target the root cause that led to an individual's offense. Therapeutic courts connect participants with treatment services and community resources instead of traditional sentencing, such as jail or fines. In therapeutic courts, an interdisciplinary team of judges, attorneys, coordinators, case managers, treatment providers, law enforcement personnel and peer support staff work together with the participant to develop an individual plan for recovery and success. 


Tacoma Municipal Court is excited to announce that in 2023, the court has launched two different Therapeutic Courts. Our Mental Health Court is designed to serve community members with serious, persistent mental health diagnosis. Our Community Court is available to community members with unmet needs that have led to court involvement, which may include housing needs, substances use disorder, minor mental health conditions, unemployment, and more. Both programs work to connect participants to beneficial community resources, while maintaining a high level of accountability. All participants who successfully complete the program will have their criminal charges dismissed. Please find our mission statements, goals and objectives below.


If you have questions or needs regarding our Therapeutic Programs, please feel free to contact our staff:

Emily Splinter-Felton, Therapeutic Courts Coordinator: 253-591-5229

Elidia Colmenares, Therapeutic Courts Case Manager: 253-591-5241

Therapeutic Court Email: TMTC@cityoftacoma.org

Mission Statement

The mission statement of Mental Health Court is to build a stronger and safer Tacoma. Mental Health Court serves community members with mental health diagnoses who are at risk of repeat criminal offenses. We use a holistic approach that promotes well-being, independence, accountability, and safety in our community. 


Programs Goals:

Goal One: Foster better outcome by providing equitable access to treatment services and community resources.

Goal Two: Ensure public safety and reduce recidivism.

Goal Three: Increase collaboration between the court and behavioral health providers.

Goal FourCreate a dignified, respectful space for court participants to resolve their legal cases.


Mental Health Court Brochure

Mental Health Court Referral Packet 



Mission Statement

The community court mission is to build a stronger and safer Tacoma. The model will promote increased and personal growth by connecting community members to needed health and social services. Individuals who are charged with misdemeanor offenses are often dealing with significant life challenges such as barriers, food insecurity, housing instability, mental health concerns, limited job opportunities, substance use disorder, and trauma. In community court, we utilize a collaborative and problem-solving approach that bring together case management, community partnerships, and treatment providers to reduce recidivism and increase overall independence and rehabilitation. 


Program Goals & Objectives for Measurable Success:

Goal One: Create opportunities for improved quality of life while increasing success rates for participants:

  A. Objective One: Based on a risk/needs assessment, participants will be referred, connected, and engaged with social                          services, community service projects, and/or treatment providers.

  B. Objective Two: Ensure program equity and inclusivity through comprehensive data collection and evaluation.

  C. Objective Three: Increase participant success through case management, education, employment, healthcare,                    housing opportunities, and relicensing.

Goal Two: Forge and strengthen community partnerships and collaboration

  A. Objective One: Improve transparency with the court and increase public trust in the justice system by administering                          community surveys, publishing newsletters, and being present at community forums.

  B. Objective Two: Cultivate collaborative partnerships with community organizations and social service providers.

  C. Objective Three: Encourage investment and involvement with our community and justice-involved individuals                                       through resource mapping and connection to services.

Goal Three: Enhance community safety by increasing accountability and decreasing recidivism:

  A. Objective One: Program structure to be aligned with National Best Practice Standards while including outcome                                     evaluations to adjust for local needs.

  B. Objective Two: Utilize swift incentives and sanctions for accountability and redirection.

  C. Objective Three: Participant engagement in community service will be used for improving self-worth and                                                 reconnection to community.


 Community Court Brochure

 Community Court Referral Packet