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Problem-Solving Judges — Meddlers or Innovators?

Van de North, John
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) William Mitchell Law Review. 32:949-.

Problem-solving courts are getting a lot of attention these days from those working in the field of criminal justice. Problem-solving courts are designed to focus on specific
and recurring conditions, such as mental illness and chemical dependency, that accompany and often underlie criminal behavior. The question seems to be whether these courts are an ill-conceived fad or will have – and should have – a permanent place in addressing criminal behavior in the community. Although there are data demonstrating that problemsolving courts are producing positive results, some have suggested that such courts may be using a disproportionate amount of resources for a limited number of participants. The cost/benefit debate is beyond the scope of this Article. However, I will address another group of critics who maintain the judges in these courts are acting as social workers rather than jurists and are inappropriately meddling in legislative matters. (excerpt)


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