Problem-solving courts seek to improve court outcomes for victims, litigants, and our communities.
These specialized courts have been driven by the desire of judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and our other justice partners to respond more effectively to crime problems as well as to the individual problems that often fuel crime such as drug addiction and mental illness.
Problem-solving court initiatives are not new to Superior Court. Our Drug Court began full operation in April 1994 and expanded into the country's first statewide program in 1997. Our most recent problem-solving court, the Veterans Treatment Court marks another first for Superior Court; it is the first statewide Veterans Court in the nation.
Since the implementation of our statewide Drug Court, Superior Court has expanded our problem-solving courts with the addition of Reentry Court, Mental Health Court, and its newest problem-solving court, Veterans Treatment Court.
What are Problem-Solving Courts?
With the problem-solving court approach, the court and our justice system partners develop a strategy that compels an offender to complete a treatment program and abstain from repeating the behaviors that brought them into court.
Problem-solving court strategies include extended probation, frequent appearances before the judge, frequent meetings with probation officers, and regular alcohol and other drug testing. The courts require regular and rigorous compliance monitoring with clear consequences for non-compliance. The monitoring and oversight improves the accountability of offenders.
The courts work intensively with offenders in a collaborative team environment that consists of the Court and the other relevant departments and agencies, as needed, which may include the Department of Justice, the Attorney General's Office, the Department of Correction, the Office of Public Defender, the Office of Probation and Parole, the Department of Health and Social Services, the Treatment Access Center, and the Veterans Administration.
Research shows that this approach has proven effective at reducing repeat offenses. Problem-solving courts result in more defendants turning their lives around and becoming healthy, law-abiding citizens. Research also shows that when these strategies are implemented correctly, they improve our public safety and save taxpayer dollars.
Thus, by treating defendants with dignity and respect the problem-solving courts can help reduce recidivism, improve community safety, and enhance confidence in justice.
The mission of problem-solving courts is to divert defendants, who meet strict requirements, from the traditional criminal justice system and provide them with the tools to lead a productive and law-abiding life.
Studies show that such collaborative courts enhance public safety, cut recidivism and are more cost effective than the typical manner of processing offenders.
Problem-solving Courts have a proven success record in significantly decreasing the recidivism rate.
According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals 70% of defendants finish these programs, and 75% are not rearrested within two years.