Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $930,095)
Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (Tennessee) is requesting $930,095 for its Cherished HEARTS (Healing Enslaved and Repressed Trafficking Survivors) Court Expansion and Enhancement Project. Cherished HEARTS is the General Sessions Human Trafficking Survivors Court serving justice-involved victims of human trafficking and those at risk of sexual exploitation in the Nashville/Davidson County area. Created in 2016, Cherished HEARTS is one of the first sex trafficking intervention courts implemented in the United States. It is the court’s policy to conduct all aspects of its program without discrimination of any kind. The purpose of this project is threefold: (1) Create a stand-along human trafficking court to strengthen current court operations and internal capacity, centralize accountability, implement an independent approach for dealing with justice-involved trafficking victims, and develop a more efficient and effective treatment delivery system by adding a staff LCSW. (2) Better connect with victims through a peer recovery specialist. (3) Raise community awareness about human trafficking and sexual exploitation through expanded education and outreach efforts. The Cherished HEARTS Court is specifically designed to reduce revictimization of justice-involved survivors of human trafficking and those at risk of sexual exploitation. The court accepts pre- and postconviction cases, as well as pre-adjudication cases where the court’s program acts as a condition of bond. Program participants are nonviolent, justice-involved individuals with high criminogenic risk and high behavioral health treatment needs suffering from extreme trauma and/or living with substance use disorders or co-occurring mental health issues. Cherished HEARTS is a voluntary treatment-based program that integrates treatment services and judicial supervision for participants with the goal of breaking the cycle of substance use disorders and criminal behavior. Cherished HEARTS uses a five-phase intervention program that lasts up to 24 months: Acute Stabilization, Clinical Stabilization, Pro-social Habilitation, Adoptive Habilitation, and Continuing Care. This project will incrementally serve 35 individuals. Because of the complexities in identifying victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, the number of eligible participants is inherently limited. Treatment will be provided using evidence-based practices including medication-assisted treatment, and recovery support services will be provided. The court operates in accordance with each of the National Association of Drug Court Adult Drug Court Best Practice Standards.