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Book Chapter

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Therapeutic jurisprudence, developed in the late 1980s, is a field of inquiry. It is a lens through which to examine the effects of substantive laws, legal rules, Iegal procedures, and the behavior of legal actors, including judges, lawyers, court personnel, and service providers, on the psychological and emotional well·being of justice system participants, including the Iegal actors themselves. Therapeutic Jurisprudence is a perspective or framework, and its use suggests the need to conduct empirical research to determine whether outcomes resulting from the application of substantive laws, legal rules, and legal procedures and from the behavior of legal actors have therapeutic (helpful) or antitherapeutic (harmful) consequences, both intended and unintended. In addition, therapeutic jurisprudence involves a reform agenda, as it urges that findings from the behavioral and social sciences be used to transform laws, rules, procedures. and the behavior of legal actors in a manner that promotes well-being. This interdisciplinary focus enables therapeutic jurisprudence scholarship and practice to encompass a broad array of subject areas.

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