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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Tag Archives: Las Vegas 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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The monthly celebration to mark graduations from intensive specialty court treatment programs had 51 participants cross the finish line to start their lifelong process to be substance-abuse free. The graduations spread a positive ripple-effect through the people in their families and the community. Their families now have a loved one who is contributing instead of disrupting their lives. The community as whole will also benefit from this group of people committed to a better life. At an estimated jail cost of $135 per-day per-inmate, 51 successful graduates will save more than $2.5 million a year in incarceration costs alone. The social benefits are immeasurable from those who want to contribute to the community instead of disrupt. The graduating class includes participants from veterans’ court, mental health court, the OPEN program, drug court and felony DUI court.

Six veterans were part of the large August graduating class. They were wrapped in beautiful quilts specially made by the Quilts of Valor non-profit organization to give them comfort and remind them that their service is appreciated.

Specialty courts solve issues through a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Parole and Probation, law enforcement, court program coordinators and mental health/social service/treatment professionals. All work together to help participants recover, live crime-free and become productive citizens. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals reports: “nationwide, 75 percent of drug court graduates remain arrest-free at least two years after leaving the program. Drug courts reduce crime as much as 35 percent more than other sentencing options.”

The Eighth Judicial District Specialty Courts were recently awarded a grant of $1million from the Substance Abuse Prevention Treatment Agency (SAPTA) to provide sober living and residential treatment placements for individuals in the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC). The SAPTA Grant provides funding for sober living facilities and residential bed infrastructure in Clark County to reduce the average number of days jailed drug court candidates spend waiting for residential placement. Drug court participants have significantly higher rates of success in programs that offer a continuum of care for substance abuse treatment with residential treatment and sober living. That success reduces the burdens on the jail, the justice system and the community as a whole. In FY 2018, 111 participants were provided residential treatment and 189 were provided supportive sober living, with 162 participants obtaining employment.

The Quilts 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 presented thousands of quilts nationwide to those who have served our country.

The local chapter of Quilts 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.

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In honor of Veterans’ day, the American Legion Spirit of Freedom Post 76 presented the flags of the five major branches of the armed services (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard) to the Eighth Judicial District veterans’ court. A small ceremony honored the military service of the veterans. The flags will remain on display in Presiding Specialty Court Judge Adriana Escobar’s courtroom.

Since Sept. 2012, the veterans’ treatment court has helped veterans who are facing criminal charges as a result of substance abuse. Veterans’ court is one of several Eighth Judicial District specialty courts that save millions of tax dollars by averting repeated incarcerations due to substance abuse offenses and related crimes. There are currently 32 active participants in veterans’ court and 48 graduates since 2012.

“Veterans’ Day reminds us of the needs many of our troops face as they return from the battlefield. We provide treatment for those who have turned to drugs and alcohol and end up on the wrong side of the law. It is also important that we acknowledge and honor their service to our country,” said Judge Adriana Escobar who presides over the specialty courts.

Veterans’ courts are hybrid drug and mental health courts that use the drug court model to serve veterans struggling with addiction, serious mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders. They promote sobriety, recovery and stability through a coordinated response that involves cooperation and collaboration with the traditional partners found in drug and mental health courts and agencies including the Veterans Administration, the Las Vegas and Henderson veterans’ centers and Choices Group.

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