Getting to the Root of the Problem

Session Description: A discussion about how therapeutic courts can be part of the solution to recidivism and recounting my experience to gain more empathy with the defendants who appear in my courtroom.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the primary root problem of many incarcerated individuals
  • List 3 reasons why our current criminal justice system falls short
  • Identify at least 7 components of a successful treatment/ problem solving/ accountability court
  • Establish a working definition of “Empathy”

Judge Jeffrey Smith
Spokane County District Court
Mental Health Therapeutic Court & Therapeutic Court  
Judge Jeffrey Smith was appointed to the Spokane District Court in 2016, and elected in 2018 and 2022. Judge Smith currently presides over the Mental Health and DUI Therapeutic Courts. He is President of the District and Municipal Court Judges Association for Washington State. Judge Smith is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Gonzaga University Prior to the Bench, Judge Smith practiced complex commercial litigation and corporate law, with an emphasis in intellectual property. Before law school, Judge Smith practiced medicine for 16 years as a Physician Associate, in both surgery and primary care. Judge Smith is a graduate of Whitworth University, Yale University School of Medicine, and Gonzaga University School of Law.