Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
New directory describes problem-solving courts in 25 Washington countiesMay 10, 2010
Washington state judges, attorneys, treatment providers, court professionals and members of the public now have access to a new resource detailing more than 65 problem-solving or “specialty” courts operating in 25 Washington counties.
The online directory was created by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) in cooperation with the Department of Social and Health Services Division of Behavioral and Health Recovery Services (DBHR). The interactive directory describes different types of problem-solving courts, provides contact and location information for each court as well as the year the court began operating, current presiding judge, number of graduates and number of current enrollees. The directory also allows users to search for courts by county or by type of specialty court, which can include adult drug courts, juvenile drug courts, family treatment courts, mental health courts, veterans’ courts, DUI courts and more.
The new Problem-Solving directory can be found at www.courts.wa.gov by clicking on “Court Directory” and then “Problem Solving Courts in Washington State.” For easy downloading and printing, the online directory includes a PDF version, which also includes a year-by-year timeline of specialty court openings throughout Washington.
“I’m very excited about it,” said Jennifer Zipoy, research associate for the Washington State Center for Court Research, the research arm of AOC. Ms. Zipoy coordinated creation of the directory. “This provides the basis for the kind of information sharing that courts and treatment professionals have wanted, and gives the public important information on these resources.”
Earl Long, DBHR Criminal Justice Program manager, worked with Ms. Zipoy on the development of the directory and sees it as a “needed tool that will allow both AOC and DBHR to share information about treatment best practices for specialty court offenders and to improve communication between the specialty courts.”
The directory will be updated annually, and will soon contain information on problem-solving tribal courts in Washington.
Problem-solving courts got their start in 1989 when the first drug court opened in Miami, Florida. King and Pierce counties followed in 1994 by opening Washington’s first drug courts. Since then, problem-solving courts have expanded in number and specialty throughout Washington courts and counties, as well as throughout the country. Specialty courts represent a shift in dealing with crime caused by underlying problems such as addiction, mental health disorders and family issues, with a focus on treating the underlying problem and tight monitoring and accountability standards for offenders. Research has shown that such courts are successful at reducing recidivism and court and jail costs, and helping people regain healthy and productive lives.
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