The goal of problem-solving courts is to help participants overcome addictions and mental illnesses that may have led them to commit crimes, thus improving the quality of life for them and their families. Turning people who might have become repeat offenders into productive citizens also improves public safety. The programs can be more productive, cost-effective, and humane than incarceration for those who have committed non-violent crimes and are a low to moderate risk to be released into the community.
People who are registered as sex offenders or who have a prior conviction for a felony crime of violence are not eligible for treatment court programs. Prosecutors and judges choose which offenders may participate.
There are several types of problem-solving courts in West Virginia. There are adult drug courts, juvenile drug courts, one adult reentry court, and one adult mental health court. The Supreme Court Administrative Office continues to try to obtain funds to further expand these programs across West Virginia.
Within the Administrative Office, Linda Richmond Artimez, Director of Mental Hygiene and Mental Health Court Services, oversees the mental health court. Division of Probation Services Director Mike Lacy and Deputy Director Lora Maynard oversee Adult and Juvenile Drug Courts. Special Projects Director Sarah Johnson works with the reentry court.