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Peers in Courts


In late 2021, Lieutenant Commander Traci Murray, SAMHSA’s Assistant Regional Administrator for the HHS Region VI office in Dallas, recognized behavioral health leaders were interested in learning more about how to incorporate peers into court systems. LCDR Murray connected with Patti Tobias, a Principal Court Management Consultant for the National Center for State Courts, who saw similar interest among state court partners. Together, they initiated a partnership with subject matter experts to create brief resource guides to inform behavioral health and state court leaders about Peer Specialists working in court settings. Project partners include Roxanne Castaneda MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, Public Health Advisor at SAMHSA, Chan Noether, MA, Director of SAMHSA’s GAINS Center, and SAMHSA’s Peer Recovery Center of Excellence represented by Patricia (Pat) Stilen, MSW, Program Director; Shannon Roberts, MPH, Sr. Program Manager; and Haner Hernandez, Ph.D., CPS, CADCII, LADCI, Steering Committee Member.

This Court Leadership Brief describes different types of peers in court settings, the roles peers plain in court, lessons from the field with examples of peers in the courts, and links to additional resources.


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Funding for this initiative was made possible by grant no. 1H79TI083022 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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