Southeast Problem-Solving Court to Begin October 1

Southeast Problem-Solving Court to Begin October 1

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Southeast Nebraska Adult Drug Court has been expanded to provide problem-solving court services in the five counties in the far southeast corner of Nebraska: Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, and Richardson Counties. This is an expansion of the problem-solving court which already exists in Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, and Thayer Counties.  With this expansion, all ten counties in the First Judicial District will be served. 

Judge Julie D. Smith will serve as presiding judge of the court which will be located in Auburn.

Judge Vicky Johnson serves as the presiding judge over the Southeast Nebraska Adult Drug Court serving Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, and Thayer counties.

Problem-solving courts are an alternate route through the criminal justice system for nonviolent drug-related offenders. Nebraska Adult Drug Courts utilize a specialized team process that functions within the existing court structure. Adult drug courts are designed to achieve a reduction in recidivism and substance use among individuals with substance use disorders. The court’s goal is to protect public safety and increase the participant’s likelihood of successful rehabilitation by utilizing validated risk and need assessments, early and individualized behavioral health treatment, frequent and random chemical testing, incentives, sanctions, and other rehabilitative and ancillary services.

Problem-Solving Courts in Nebraska operate under a team approach where a judge, prosecutor, defense counsel, coordinator, community supervision officer, law enforcement and treatment provider(s) work together to design an individualized program for each participant. Compliance with treatment and court orders is verified by frequent alcohol/drug testing, close community supervision, and interaction with a judge in non-adversarial court review hearings. Problem-Solving Courts enhance close monitoring of participants using home and field visits.

If participants fail to complete the problem-solving court program, they are sentenced on the original charge. If they successfully complete the program, participants may request to withdraw their plea of guilty and have their original charges dismissed. The goal is to help court participants become productive citizens rather than continuing the revolving door of incarceration.

The Southeast Problem-Solving Court is the newest addition to the statewide system of Problem-Solving Courts and the first to be approved under the expansion dollars made available through the Nebraska Legislature.

For further information, contact:

Amanda Van Asperen, Southeast Nebraska Adult Drug Court Coordinator, 402-821-7114

Adam Jorgensen, Statewide Problem-Solving Court Coordinator, 402-471-4415 or 402-219-4297