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Problem solving courts for those facing a criminal charge

When Pennsylvania residents find themselves in the unfortunate situation of facing criminal charges, they may feel like they will be treated like just another arrestee to be processed. At a time when most people would likely feel a bit depressed and would likely be wondering what to do next with their criminal defense, it is important to remember that the criminal justice system has been making changes in recent years, with the recognition that some people have needs that are not being met with traditional court interaction.

Throughout Pennsylvania, many arrestees will have the chance to interact with special courts during their criminal justice experience - courts known as "problem solving" courts. These courts were established because those who are responsible for making criminal justice policy know that certain individuals who come into contact with the criminal justice system need specialized attention to get to the root of the cause of their issues.

First, Pennsylvania has DUI courts that are designed to specifically address the needs of those who have been arrested or convicted on drunk driving charges. The attention will focus on treatment for alcohol issues. Next, there are drug courts, which are designed to attempt to help those who may be facing addiction issues.

There are mental health courts as well. These courts are designed to help Pennsylvania residents who may have issues with mental illness that are contributing to contact with the criminal justice system. Lastly, there are veteran's courts, which recognize the unique challenges that military veterans can face when re-acclimating to civilian society. In all, problem solving courts recognize the long-term consequences that criminal convictions can have, but also that certain individuals need more specialized treatment within the criminal justice system.

Source: www.pacourts.us, "Operations," Accessed Oct. 23, 2016

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