AG Rutledge provides $1 million to specialty courts from opioid settlement fund

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 868 views 

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced Tuesday (Oct. 11) a $1 million allocation to provide additional funding for Arkansas’ specialty courts through the Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts.

The $1 million comes from the state’s $216 million opioid settlement agreement with drug distributor Johnson & Johnson.

Specialty courts are founded on the traditional adult drug court model, which addresses the underlying cause of criminal behavior, including substance use, mental health, and criminogenic risk factors. Participants enter into specialty courts to receive long-term treatment with intensive court supervision for an average of 16 months.

Unlike traditional court, specialty courts take a collaborative approach to justice. The specialty court team includes the judge, program coordinator, prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, treatment provider, community supervision officer, and law enforcement officer. Together, the specialty court team works collaboratively to guide participants to achieve established recovery goals and provide accountability for lapses in improvement.

“Specialty courts are the most effective tool available to the judiciary to reduce recidivism, improve public safety, and, most importantly, restore dignity to individuals, families, and communities affected by untreated substance use and mental health disorders,” said Janet Hawley, State Specialty Court Coordinator.

The Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee, chaired by Chief Justice John Dan Kemp, was established by Act 895 of 2015 to promote collaboration and provide recommendations on issues involving specialty courts. The Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee will oversee the distribution of funds provided by the Attorney General.