Specialty Courts (usually characterized as either “Drug Courts” or “Problem-Solving Courts”) are specifically-designed court programs aimed at reducing recidivism and increasing public safety by intensive behavioral supervision, judicial monitoring, and treatment of substance abusers. The concept originated in 1989 in Florida. Nevada implemented the first of its 46 Specialty Courts in the early 1990s and has been a pioneer in the field ever since. Nearly one-fourth of the 16,000 courts in the United States are Specialty Courts and they operate both in limited jurisdiction courts and general jurisdiction trial courts. Specialty Courts are the most researched criminal justice program in history. National research shows they reduce crime by as much as 45% more than other methods, producing an average $2.21 direct benefit to the community for every $1 invested. When more high-risk offenders are helped, the return on investment can be $4.13 per $1 invested. (NADCP, 2012).
Nevada’s Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) awards grants to pay for mandated drug and alcohol testing, as well as counseling, electronic monitoring, incentives and other costs of a Specialty Court program. RMC received its first funds ($44,000) in 2009 and continues to apply for the grant annually. The funds come from a $7 per misdemeanor assessment enacted into law by the 2003 Nevada Legislature.
Reno Municipal Court (RMC) has Specialty Courts in Departments 3 and 4. Judge Ken Howard presides over “Fresh Start” Therapeutic Court for persons sentenced for Driving Under the Influence charges. The court monitors 25-30 persons per year, through a combination of treatment, electronic monitoring, and compliance supervision by the RMC Marshals Alternative Sentencing Unit (ASU).
Judge Dorothy Nash Holmes presides over a Specialty Court with three dockets of approximately 110-125 offenders: one for DUI-Drug offenders; one for homeless “serial inebriate” misdemeanants (“TRAIN Court” ), and one for individuals with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health issues (“COD Court”). The court holds weekly status hearings on these cases, and also utilizes ASU marshal supervision to ensure compliance.
RMC’s DUI, DUI-Drug and TRAIN Courts are funded by AOC grants. COD court is funded by a 3-year grant obtained by the late Judge Paul Hickman, and awarded in 2010 by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA). COD Court contracts with Access to Health Network, Bristlecone Family Services, Family Counseling, Dr. Lisa Keating, and Quest Counseling, and collaborates with other local treatment professionals, as well. TRAIN Court is part of a collaboration aimed at ending the “revolving door” of downtown alcoholics or addicts who are homeless, and sometimes mentally ill, offenders. “THE CROSSROADS” is a transitional living program at St. Vincent’s Center, operated by Catholic Community Services. It contracts with Washoe County Social Services to help reduce homelessness. TRAIN is a “vehicle” to get chronic misdemeanants to THE CROSSROADS for services and housing. Besides the court and social services, other partners include law enforcement, hospitals, non-profits, treatment providers, veterans services, local government agencies, and individuals.
T.R.A.I.N. stands for Treatment Resources Alliance for Individualized Need.
RenoCares is a charitable fund through which the court will pay for treatment for individuals who cannot afford to pay these costs.
CO-OCCURRING MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE DISORDER SPECIALTY & COURT
BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention) and CASICS (Cannabis Assessment Screening and Intervention) are evidenced-based programs designed to assist young adults to think about and understand their drinking and/or marijuana use. Alcohol or Marijuana e-CheckupToGo is an interactive web survey that allows participants to enter information about their drinking patterns or cannabis use and receive feedback about their use of alcohol and marijuana. The assessment takes about 8 minutes to complete, is self-guided, and requires a court referral. Read More...