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America's Problem-Solving Courts (Inside NACDL)
By Norman L. Reimer
Inside NACDL columns.
The cover story of this issue highlights the release of NACDL’s report on problem-solving courts: “America’s Problem-Solving Courts: The Criminal Costs of Treatment and the Case for Reform.” First and foremost the report seeks to foment a much-needed national conversation concerning the misuse of the criminal justice system to address public health issues. Recognizing that this goal may be elusive in the foreseeable future, however, the report analyzes the problem-solving court phenomenon that has swept the nation in the past two decades. With a particular emphasis on drug courts, the report provides an in-depth look at how these courts function, noting that while they often offer a way to avoid draconian penalties, many impair the traditional relationship between attorney and client, and denigrate fundamental rights. It also offers a comprehensive set of recommendations for reform designed to ensure that the problem-solving approach comports with ethical practice and constitutional st
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