The drug crisis in Indiana was one of the main topics of Wednesday’s State of the Judiciary address. Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush said Indiana can’t afford to incarcerate or institutionalize its way out of the "crippling" drug crisis that is flooding the state’s courts.
Rush praised the state’s problem-solving courts, including its drug court, in which participants take part in intensive treatment programs under direct supervision. She said the state is replicating the drug court model across the state to promote a program that is about rehabilitation and not punishment.
"Our approach must include helping sons, daughters, husbands, and wives return to a life after addiction," said Rush. "There are no easy answers, but your courts stand ready to help communities bring productivity back to those who have lost their way."
Rush also addressed the state’s problem-solving courts related to veterans. She said they are working on 19 new or expanded veteran’s courts and pledged that "we will not be satisfied until all qualified veterans have access to these courts in Indiana."
During last year’s State of the Judiciary, Rush outlined her plan to develop specialized commercial courts to deal with complex business and commercial law cases. Rush gave an update Wednesday, saying the first six commercial courts in Indiana will start hearing cases in 2016.
Rush also paid tribute to Justice Brent Dickson, who will retire in April after 30 years on the Indiana Supreme Court. She said Dickson’s last case will be a special one. As part of Indiana’s bicentennial celebration, the Supreme Court will hear a case in the state’s original home court in Corydon. The arguments will be broadcast online to classrooms statewide with the help of the Indiana Department of Education.
Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush says she and the other justices have spoken with judges in all 92 counties.