04 Jan Indiana Problem Solving Courts
Problem Solving Courts in Indianapolis
The Criminal Justice System traditionally works by punishing those who commit crimes with incarceration. This outcome is used as a deterrent to prevent that individual, and others, from committing a particular act through fear of being put in custody.
But what if the person committing the crime isn’t nefarious, but broke the law because of an addiction or mental illness? Would throwing these people in jail actually help them change their behavior? Most likely not, as a majority of criminal acts are committed by repeat offenders.
This question has been answered by the Indiana Legislature through the implementation of Problem Solving Courts. Created in the 90s, problem solving courts serve to “accommodate offenders with specific needs” such as a drug addiction or mental illness. A problem solving court is centered on rehabilitating the defendant rather than punishing or incarcerating the defendant. The person who committed the offense is given the opportunity to recognize what they did, learn how to fix it, and get out of the criminal system.
Instead of focusing on punishing the defendant for what they did, problem solving courts concentrate on outcomes for the victim, society, and the offender, by making a safer community. These courts are not as intimidating, and try to work with the offender rather than against him.
Indiana Code 33-23-16 explains how the court can use judicial intervention to help the defendant incorporate problem solving skills such as: (1) enhanced information to improve decision making; (2) engaging the community to assist with problem solving; (3) collaboration with social service providers and other stakeholders; (4) linking participants with community services based on risks and needs; (5) participant accountability; (6) evaluating the effectiveness of operations continuously.” 7 Ind. Law Encyc. Courts § 86.50.
Because problem solving courts take on complicated circumstances, Indiana has implemented a variety of different courts to meet the needs of different Hoosiers including: (1) drug court; (2) mental health court; (3) family dependency drug court; (4) community court; (5) reentry court; (6) domestic violence court; (7) veteran’s court.
Problem solving courts innovate the traditional justice system because instead of just processing the case and moving on, the court looks for the root of the problem. If you are stuck in the “revolving door effect” of the criminal justice system because of addiction, mental illness, or other complex situations, a problem solving court may be the best solution.
Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorney
Julie Chambers bring her unique experience as a former deputy prosecutor to every case. Additionally, she has worked in the Marion County Mental Health Court and Marion County Drug Court and has experience dealing with cases in various problem solving courts in Marion County. If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges or have questions about one of the many problem solving courts in the Marion County criminal justice system, contact Chambers Law Office at 317-450-2971 today.
*Bruce J. Winick, Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Problem Solving Courts, 30 Fordham Urb. L.J. 1055, 1056 (2003)