The Delaware Judiciary has taken the first steps to improve, enhance and streamline Delaware’s problem-solving courts.

The improvement efforts began April 24 with the release of the final report of the Criminal Justice Council of the Judiciary at the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington. The CJCJ was formed in October 2014 by order of the Delaware Supreme Court after Chief Justice Leo E. Strine Jr.’s call for a review of the problem-solving courts and their operations. The CJCJ is chaired by Superior Court Judge William C. Carpenter Jr. and co-chaired by Superior Court President Judge Jan R. Jurden, who led a team of judicial officers in their extensive substantive review of each problem-solving court throughout the state.

This review culminated in the CJCJ’s “Report on Delaware’s Problem-Solving Courts.” The report contains a series of recommendations to improve Delaware’s problem-solving courts by enabling them to operate more efficiently and consistently while providing the same level of specialized attention designed to address the root causes of recurring issues among those with mental health issues and substance abuse issues and those unique to veterans. The full CJCJ report can be found at courts.delaware.gov/aoc/publications.aspx.

The Delaware Judiciary also announced it received a $300,000 grant that will be used to fund a 36-month project to develop statewide core standards and policies for problem-solving courts in Delaware and to fund a contractual statewide problem-solving court coordinator, Brenda A. M. Wise. The grant is funded through the Delaware Criminal Justice Council by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Adult Drug Court Program.

As a part of the reorganization of the problem-solving courts, there will now also be an increased focus on gathering statistics and tracking outcomes in order to further refine the problem-solving court system and ensure that the courts are producing the desired results without overburdening or draining resources from traditional court operations. The National Center for State Courts will be a partner with the Delaware Courts as a part of the 36-month project to establish best practices and develop tools to allow individual courts to assess their compliance with the new standards. The information generated by this program should help develop baseline information for further efforts to improve the functioning of these courts and provide a standard for other court systems to use in the future.