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Specialty Courts



About specialty courts

Specialty courts are also known as problem-solving courts. These courts are designed to lead people out of a cycle with the justice system into treatment programs.

Specialty courts make sure people with mental health disorders or drug addictions are treated with compassion. Their problems are seen as a disease to be treated, not a moral failing to be punished.

People who graduate from a specialty court program have a better chance of living a stable life without repeat offenses that would bring them back into the court system.   
 

Types of specialty courts

Kansas district courts operate several specialty courts, which generally fall into one of these categories:


Need for specialty courts

In the United States, a person with a substance abuse disorder is more likely to be jailed than to get treatment. 

More than half of the prison population--an estimated 1.5 million people--has a substance abuse disorder. And more than 400,000 people with a mental health disorder are currently behind bars in the U.S.

Without treatment, these people will continue the cycle of addiction, crime, and arrest.
 

Financial benefit of specialty courts

According to the 2020 annual report from the Kanas Department of Corrections, it costs an average of $30,100 a year to keep someone in prison.  

The Urban Institute report The Multi-Site Adult Drug Court Evaluation: The Impact of Drug Courts states the net benefit of drug courts averages $5,680–$6,208 per participant, returning $2 for every $1 in cost.
 

Supreme Court rules for specialty courts

  • Rule 190 defines what specialty courts are, affirms that they are allowed in Kansas judicial districts, and details how judges may consider their use.

  • Rule 191 establishes the Specialty Court Committee.

  • Rule 192 establishes standards for specialty courts.
     

Specialty courts in other states

Many state court systems operate specialty courts. 

 



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