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Specialty Court Program

1/22/2015 1:58:24 PM

In Nevada, the use of specialty courts to focus on the unique and different needs of individuals has been an ongoing effort since 1992, when District Court Judge Jack Lehman created Nevada’s first drug court. Specialty courts are problem-solving courts that help break the cycle of drug and/or alcohol addiction; problem gambling; juvenile delinquent behavior; or parental abuse and/or the neglect of children. Nevada currently has 43 funded specialty court programs focused on drug addiction, mental health, driving under the influence, prostitution, habitual offenders, and veteran’s affairs.

The work of these specialty courts requires unique calendaring structures, reporting systems, and networks to share information and resources. For instance, Nevada's Drug Courts often need to share resources with community agencies or assist participants in meeting their adjudication goals. Recognizing this need, the Administrative Office of the Courts assisted Nevada's Specialty Courts in 2014 in implementing a new drug court case management system (DCCM) for use by the state's drug courts. The new system, funded by a grant received from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, allows drug courts to track program participants and share information.

"Previous systems were unable to share information or provide uniform and consistent statistical information," said Vicki Elefante, AOC Specialty Court Program Analyst. "This new case management system allows specialty courts to identify areas of concern, self-evaluate their own program, and work toward solutions." Elefante adds implementation of the DCCM is expected to assist specialty courts in identifying areas of success or find specific areas for improvement. It is anticipated these specific areas can be shared and duplicated to improve the success of Nevada's courts.

During the next fiscal year, Nevada's drug courts will identify and establish new reporting requirements, as well as discuss issues or concerns that arise from implementing the new system.