Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts released the following statement in response to Attorney General Josh Shapiro's comments on problem solving courts.
As the only nonpartisan, nonprofit dedicated exclusively to supporting Pennsylvania’s judicial system, Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts thanks Attorney General Josh Shapiro for his inspiring recent support of problem solving courts.
The intersection of humanity, sociology and the practice of meting out justice is often a messy one, with many nonviolent offenders pushed into a system based on punishment, not practicality. According to the most recent data, the most common types of problem-solving courts were drug courts (44 percent), followed by mental health courts.
By connecting nonviolent offenders to these services early, problem solving courts can be a critical diversionary measure from what can be a costly journey through the criminal justice system for offender and taxpayer, alike.
The same can be said for supporting Pennsylvania’s 872,000 veterans and 20 veterans’ treatment courts that serve them. Their circumstances— to be eligible, a veteran must suffer from traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma or psychological or substance abuse problems that require treatment and which contributed to their crimes—require a specialty focus.
We agree with the Attorney General, as we do with Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor, who noted in 2015, that “saving money is essential, but what’s equally important is the opportunity to improve lives and strengthen communities.”
PMC will continue to study, advocate for, and fight for the judicial system in Pennsylvania, and we appreciate the Attorney General’s steadfast support in that effort.
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