We in the New Jersey Judiciary are proud of the many innovative programs available to court users.
The mortgage foreclosure mediation program has enabled cash-strapped homeowners to stay in their homes, and the Veterans Assistance Project – now in operation in a third of the state’s 21 counties – provides veterans who come into contact with the court the services and support they need, including mentors, to deter them from committing another offense.
One of our most successful programs is Drug Court, a rigorous, highly specialized team process within the Superior Court that addresses nonviolent drug-related cases. Introduced as a pilot program in Camden and Essex counties in 1996, Drug Courts have proven to be successful in breaking the cycle of drug abuse and crime by combining treatment programs with strict oversight by the courts.
The judge, attorneys, substance abuse evaluators, treatment professionals and specially trained probation officers on the Drug Court team work closely with participants to provide them with every opportunity to achieve and maintain sobriety and employment.
Each year, Judiciary staff in our 21 courthouses host graduation ceremonies in which participants mark milestones such as maintaining sobriety for at least one year, remaining employed full time, earning a GED or high school diploma and making regular payments on court fines.
One of the most satisfying aspects of my job is that I am often called upon to honor and thank those who work tirelessly to safeguard the trust and confidence placed in us by those we serve.
I will be doing just that at the third annual New Jersey Drug Court Conference on April 22 in Eatontown, Monmouth County, where judges, attorneys, treatment professionals and Judiciary staff will learn and discuss a variety of topics relevant to their work.
Next month is National Drug Court Month, and there are many commencement and graduation ceremonies scheduled throughout the state.