PROBLEM SOLVING COURTS & SPECIAL DOCKETS
According to the National Center for State Courts, problem-solving courts have become an important feature of the American court landscape over the last decade. The courts offer the promise of a more meaningful resolution of court cases involving individuals with psychosocial and substance abuse problems, in addition to legal issues. Problem-solving courts focus on closer collaboration with community services and stress a multi-disciplinary, therapeutic approach to the underlying issues of individuals appearing in court. Each program utilizes strict judicial monitoring, frequent and random drug and alcohol testing, intensive group and individual treatment, a variety of positive and negative consequences to encourage program compliance, and case management services to accomplish the goals of recovery and modified behaviors.
In Maine, there are four models of problem solving courts:
- ADULT DRUG TREATMENT COURTS focus on the difficulties inherent in addressing substance abuse and criminal behavior.
- JUVENILE DRUG TREATMENT COURTS seek to increase accountability, build a stronger family unit, and help juveniles become responsible community members.
- FAMILY DRUG TREATMENT COURTS provide hope for families in crisis in the child protection system, with parents working toward reunification with their children.
- CO-OCCURRING DISORDERS COURT operates in the Kennebec County Superior Court and is designed to serve defendants with mental illness and substance abuse disorders. A defendant’s participation must be voluntary and for a minimum of one year.
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASE COORDINATION projects are designed to address gaps and barriers in the domestic violence justice system. Defendants who are convicted of a domestic violence crime are ordered to attend periodic reviews before a judge as a condition of probation.
SPECIAL DOCKET OPEN TO ALL TRIAL COURTS:
The BUSINESS and CONSUMER COURT, also known as the Business and Consumer Docket (BCD), is designed to handle selected business and consumer cases that require specialized and differentiated judicial management.
SPECIAL CRIMINAL DOCKET IN CUMBERLAND COUNTY:
The UNIFED CRIMINAL DOCKET, also known as the UCD, is a single county pilot project that turned a two-tiered system into a single efficient process for for processing criminal actions and certain associated civil violation actions.