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Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Category Archives: Clark County Specialty Courts

The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court will celebrate a new class of specialty court graduates on May 10 at 3 p.m. in the jury services room of the Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Ave. The graduates will include two who are part of a specialty court prison re-entry program.

The District Court was recently awarded a grant of nearly $350,000 from the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) Bureau of Behavioral Health Wellness and Prevention Opioid State Targeted Response (STR). The grant is being used for a comprehensive specialty court prevention plan with medically assisted treatment (MAT) for opiate abuse among those who are re-entering the community after incarceration.

An estimated 65 percent of individuals in U.S. prisons and jails have a substance abuse disorder. Opioids rank high as their drug of choice. Medically assisted treatment paired with counseling treatment, has proven to be an effective way to address addiction, put a dent in the opioid epidemic and stem the related criminal activity. Effective treatment provides better results at a lower cost than repeated incarceration.

Specialty court coordinators, the parole re-entry unit, and prison/jail professionals work together to identify program participants who go through an intensive six-month program that begins with a three-month stabilization period. Participants are placed in coordinated care housing and receive inpatient and/or intensive outpatient services, case management, medically assisted treatment, discharge planning and assistance with coordination of long-term housing, permanent housing, and assistance with obtaining food stamps, medical care, Medicaid and other programs such as Social Security. They are also provided case management around employment assistance including referrals, and training. The goal is to increase employment among the participants to improve the likelihood of success, cut substance abuse and decrease recidivism.

“This Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health funding enables the court, with the help of the Nevada Department of Corrections, to effectively tackle the epidemic of opioid abuse that is thwarting potential rehabilitation for those who are released from incarceration with a substance abuse issue,” said District Court Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell, who presides over the MAT specialty court. “We cannot incarcerate our way out of the opioid crisis. Creative solutions such as this must be used to stem the tide of this epidemic.”

“The infusion of federal funding to Nevada continues to allow us to improve access to treatment and recovery support services for people with significant barriers to care.  We know that individuals within the criminal justice system have a greater risk of overdose death than other people.  Through this collaboration with the Eighth Judicial District, we hope we can reduce that risk and support people to move to full recovery from opioid addiction.  Medication Assisted Treatment is the gold standard for care and access within court systems is critical in addressing the opioid crisis,” said Dr. Stephanie Woodard, DHHS Senior Advisor on Behavioral Health, from the Division of Public and Behavioral Health.

Specialty courts, solve issues through a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, specialty court coordinators, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Parole and Probation, law enforcement and mental health/social service/treatment professionals. All work together to help participants recover, live crime-free and become productive citizens.  Thirteen participants are in the MAT program that is expected to eventually have 30 participants. Court sessions began in December 2018 and are held every other Friday at 9:30 a.m.


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At every specialty court graduation, at least one person tells those gathered that the program saved their life. At the November graduation a drug court graduate said just that. They weren’t exaggerating. Those that end up in specialty courts get there after heading down a very dangerous path. Most participants have had multiple felony arrests, lost their family, friends, jobs and stability. The death toll from the opioid crisis is well publicized and touches families from every walk of life.

Those arrested generally end up revolving through overcrowded prisons. Specialty courts offer an alternative. Specialty courts work to address substance abuse and the related crimes issues through a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Parole and Probation, law enforcement and mental health/social service/treatment professionals. All work together to help participants recover, live crime-free and become productive citizens.

The Nevada Eighth Judicial District specialty courts include veterans’ court, mental health court, the OPEN program, drug court, felony DUI court, family treatment drug court, autism court and a new gambling treatment court. Every graduation their success can be seen in the eyes of the family and friends who come to support their loved one back from the abyss.

A graduate from veterans’ court told the graduates, “The greatest gift you can give your family is your recovery.”

Six veterans were included in the graduates. A color guard opened the ceremony and the graduates each received a Quilt of Valor from the Las Vegas chapter of the organization. The Quilt of Valor Foundation was founded in 2003, by Blue Star mom Catherine Roberts from her sewing room. Blue Star moms are those who have a son or daughter in active service. Her son Nathanael’s deployment to Iraq served as the initial inspiration for the foundation. That has since spread across the nation and presented thousands of quilts nationwide to those who have served our country.

The local chapter of Quilt of Valor meets the second Friday of the month at 8670 W. Cheyenne Ave. from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in room 105. Volunteers are always welcome; no quilting experience is necessary. For more information call 702-357-0377.

Specialty court graduates get good advice from judge

Specialty court grads experience rebirth

Drug court saved my life

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The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court (EJDC) has been awarded an $381,551 U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs grant for mental health court (MHC). The court applied to the Justice Department for the grant to employ an improved strategy in the MHC that focuses on justice involved adults in Clark County who are severely and persistently mentally ill; the majority of whom are also diagnosed with co-occurring disorders including substance abuse. Individuals with serious mental illness routinely have multiple contacts with local hospitals, jails, and prisons and end up costing taxpayers significant dollars as a result of their repeated contact with those institutions.

The EJDC MHC provides intensive treatment and will use the DOJ grant funding to implement an actuarial, gender-responsive criminogenic risk/need assessment to tailor the services and supervision for mental health court participants according to their needs. The grant will fund implementation of capacity analysis, training on the implementation of the Women’s Risk Needs Assessment and the adoption of cognitive-behavioral, gender-responsive programming.

“This funding provides resources to do risk/needs assessments to improve intervention strategies, case planning and resource management,” said Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, who presides over the Mental Health Court. “Our goal is to reduce recidivism and facilitate positive outcomes for  Mental Health Court participants through data driven implementation of correctional rehabilitation and case planning.”

“The Department of Justice grant gives mental health court tools to improve the effectiveness of treatment aimed at preventing participants from revolving through the justice system,” said District Court Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell. “The Justice Department’s commitment to funding the mental health court validates the positive  results of treatment, versus a return of those with mental illness to the streets after incarceration with no help and the significant likelihood that they will re-offend.”

The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court specialty courts are an effective way to address root-causes that lead to recidivism. The specialty courts include veterans court, mental health court, the OPEN program, drug court, felony DUI court, family treatment drug court, juvenile drug court and autism court. The court  is in the process of beginning a gambling treatment diversion court.


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The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court (EJDC) has been awarded an $874,097 U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs grant for Family Treatment Drug Court inpatient treatment and housing with intensive outpatient treatment. The court applied to the Justice Department for the much needed funding that will break down to approximately $291,365 a year. The grant will cover 13 residential beds and 13 housing slots with intensive outpatient treatment each year until Sept. 30, 2021. The funding will help to meet the court goal to improve outcomes through enhanced wraparound services to reunify families, increase parent treatment engagement and retention, decrease substance abuse and improve family functioning. The surge of opioid abuse has overwhelmed child welfare systems across the county and in our community.

“This Department of Justice grant is greatly needed and appreciated. The funding will go to address the crisis-level need in the Family Treatment Drug Court for housing and wraparound services,” said District Court Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell. “Each family that achieves a successful outcome as a result of this funding will create a positive ripple effect for their children and the community.”

The District Court Family Treatment Drug Court program is a voluntary program. Parents are typically referred to the program by their Department of Family Services (DFS) case manager and/or the judge presiding over their case. Participation in the program involves either a written referral from the DFS case manager, and/or parental request to start the program.

“Every day in court, we see the toll drugs take on families. Parental addiction as a contributing factor for removal of children is a growing issue,” said Judge Frank Sullivan who presides over the Family Treatment Drug Court. “This much needed funding gives us the ability to keep families intact as parents get the treatment and services they need to recover and care for their children.”

Family Treatment Drug Court has four phases or milestones to assist the parent in working through the complex issues of their addiction and co-occurring disorders in a meaningful and manageable way. Incentives and sanctions are used to achieve success. Parents are typically required to attend court weekly in the initial stages of treatment. Drug and alcohol testing provides an accurate, timely and comprehensive assessment of substance use and treatment progress by participants. The judge is provided updates on treatment attendance and progress, drug test results, and overall case status/progress.

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