The chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court touted the effectiveness of the state’s problem-solving courts during her State of the Judiciary address. Loretta Rush said the state surpassed 100 problem-solving courts in 2019 and praised their work to help address the addiction epidemic in the state, particularly among veterans.
Rush said the state has many types of specialized courts, such as veterans, drug, mental health, domestic violence, re-entry, and family recovery. In her address, she talked about why such courts have been successful.
“These courts work because judges get out from behind the bench, convene community partners, and truly connect with those standing before them in desperate need of a new path,” said Rush. “Problem-solving courts are only possible with strong judicial leadership. And nowhere is this leadership more apparent than the role judges have in combating the addiction epidemic.”
The state’s 100th problem-solving court was certified in April in Pulaski County. Rush says Judge Crystal Kocher developed a veterans treatment court after seeing the effect methamphetamine and heroin use was having on the rural community.
Rush says the state currently has 107 problem-solving courts, with more coming in 2020.
During the address, Rush also talked about pretrial and criminal justice reform, saying low-risk offenders should be released without having to post bail and evidence-based risk assessments should be used to ensure fairness, regardless of wealth, geography, race, or gender.
She added greater emphasis must be placed on addressing underlying issues of substance abuse and mental illness among nonviolent offenders.
You can watch the full State of the Judiciary in the video below or read the transcript by clicking here.