Specialty Courts

Specialty Courts Program

The Second Judicial District Court operates seven Specialty Courts programs for those identified with a substance use, mental health, or co-occurring diagnosis: Adult Drug Court; Felony Driving Under the Influence Court; Medication-Assisted Treatment Court; Metal Health Court; Prison Reentry Court; Veterans Treatment Court; and Young Offender Court. Specialty Courts serve around 700 participants a year.

Treatment Court Model

Specialty Courts employ a holistic approach that goes beyond simply treating substance use disorders. Specialty Courts improves education, employment, housing, and financial stability. Additionally, Specialty Courts promotes family reunification, reduces foster care placements, and increases the rate of mothers with substance use disorders delivering drug-free babies.

All Specialty Courts programs require participants to engage in individual and group substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling (based on individual needs), random drug and alcohol testing, probation supervision, collaborative case management and regular court status checks.

Cost Savings

Specialty Courts save considerable money for taxpayers. Specialty Courts invests on average $6,208 per participant. Specialty Courts programs result in significant cost savings to the State of Nevada and Washoe County by reducing public costs associated with monitoring, detaining, and prosecuting criminal activity by state and county law enforcement and prosecution agencies. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) reports for every $1.00 invested in Specialty Courts, taxpayers save as much as $3.36 in avoided criminal justice costs alone. When considering other costs associated with participant's involvement in the criminal justice system, it is estimated that Specialty Courts save taxpayers $27.00 for every $1.00 invested by reducing victimization and healthcare services utilization.

NADCP findings indicate that Specialty Courts reduce crime by 45% more than other sentencing options. Participants in Specialty Courts programs are six times more likely to complete substance abuse treatment than those not involved in a judicial program. Without judicial oversight, 70% of substance-abusing offenders drop out of treatment.

Additional information on each of our programs can be found under the Court Programs tab. To learn more about each Specialty Courts program, contact the Specialty Courts Manager, Brooke Howard at Brooke.Howard@washoecourts.us.

The mission of the Second Judicial District Court's Specialty Courts is to improve quality of life, reduce recidivism, and increase community safety and awareness by engaging the drug and alcohol abusing defendant, or the defendant with a mental health illness, in an intensive, court supervised, treatment program. A multidisciplinary team of a judge, defense and prosecution counsel, court officers, treatment providers, parole and probation officers, and drug testing staff work with the defendant.