Drug courts are now the only “problem-solving”-type courts in Wyoming, but Gov. Dave Freudenthal, backed by a study, is pushing to expand them into areas such as domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, truancy, and mental illness, the Gilette (Wy.) News-Record says. “It’s driven by the fact that drug courts have been so darn successful,” Freudenthal said. Said Marilyn Patton of the state Department of Family Services’ Protective Services Division: “What we’re seeing is a lack of supportive resources for people who just can’t pull it together. Often courts are the last bastions before we throw them away. What we’re saying is we don’t have to throw them away.”
Problem-solving courts aim to correct symptoms by attacking problems at their root level, said Greg Berman of the New York-based Center for Court Innovation and author of “Good Courts: The Case for Problem-Solving Justice.” Through a greater reliance on social services and more intense supervision, Berman thinks courts can help salvage some offenders. “What we want to do as a justice system is make a distinction between those offenders we’re afraid of and those we’re just disappointed with,” he said.