Problem-solving courts help the judicial system to respond to the needs of litigants by addressing underlying issues which result in litigants utilizing the court system. Whether using innovative approaches to address social problems, forming community collaborative partnerships, or coordinating outside services including treatment programs, the problem-solving courts are changing the ways that the system manages certain cases.
Problem-solving courts often serve specific targeted populations including offenders with mental illness, offenders with a substance addiction, first time offenders, veterans, and repeat offenders. In Maryland, the Office of Problem-Solving Courts for the Administrative Office of the Courts is responsible for overseeing the creation of problem-solving programs in the state.
Keep reading to learn more about problem-solving courts in Maryland.
Which Courts Offer Problem-Solving Services?
Although not all court venues within Maryland offer problem-solving services and not all jurisdictions have operational problem-solving courts, some courts in Maryland do offer problem-solving services in a variety of areas including adult drug courts, juvenile drug courts, family/dependency drug courts, DUI/drug court, mental health court, truancy reduction court, re-entry court, veterans court, and back on track court.
- Maryland Drug Courts offer specialized judicial intervention that address drug and dependency-related issues including substance abuse treatment for criminal defendants, offenders, juvenile offenders, and parents in certain child welfare matters. Maryland’s first drug treatment court was established in Baltimore City in 1994.
- Maryland Mental Health Courts offer specialized dockets addressing matters related to psychiatric disabilities in order to reduce recidivism and promote rehabilitation in individuals who enter the criminal justice system having committed a crime due to mental illness. Maryland’s first mental health court was established in the Baltimore City District Court in 2003.
- Maryland Truancy Courts offer specialized proactive interventions to improve school attendance, school achievement, and attitudes toward education. Maryland’s first truancy court was established in Wicomico County in 2005.
- Maryland Veterans Courts offer court-supervised comprehensive treatment-based services for former military service members charged with certain crimes and who have substance abuse or mental health issues. The Veterans Court in Maryland began in Prince George’s County in 2015.
- The Back on Track court, the first of its kind in Maryland, was approved for the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County in 2016. The program aims to reduce recidivism by investing in first-time offenders who agree to the program including college classes, community service, and scheduled drug tests.
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