Educational Program and Toolkit Aim to Build Problem-Solving Skills for State Judges Dealing with Substance Abuse, Domestic Violence and Mental Health Issues in Their Courts

Building a toolkit to develop problem-solving approaches within state courts

The National Center for State Courts helped to organize an educational program on using a comprehensive problem-solving approach to address substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health and other complex and difficult issues in court.

The center also developed a toolkit, which is available online, designed to aid judges and courts seeking to implement a problem-solving approach in court cases involving these and other complex issues.

Key Results

  • The educational program was held as part of the annual meeting of the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators in Salt Lake City, on July 28, 2004. Approximately 112 chief justices and state court administrators attended.

  • The session included these components:

    • The history, purpose and benefits of comprehensive problem-solving court processes.
    • Examples of efforts to integrate problem-solving principles into the court system, including the development of specialized courts dealing with drug addiction, mental health and domestic violence.
    • Judicial and court manager concerns related to the approach.
    • A special session that provided court policy leaders the opportunity to identify steps they could take to expand the use of the problem-solving approach in their states.
  • The center developed the "Problem-Solving Justice Toolkit."

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