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Missouri Chief Justice Tells Lawmakers: Treatment Courts Are Working

Gavel Court
(Photo credit: steakpinball, via Flickr)

The chief justice of Missouri’s Supreme Court, Richard Teitelman, delivered the annual State of the Judiciary address Wednesday morning.  As KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson reports, Teitelman praised the state’s so-called “treatment courts.”

“Treatment courts” are divisions of the judicial circuit that address the special needs of offenders. For example, Drug courts make it possible for a drug offender to avoid jail time if he or she goes through a rigorous program of drug rehab.  Similarly, there are also DWI courts and Veterans courts in Missouri, also designed to address and treat the root problems in offenders.

In his address to state lawmakers, Teitelman praised his predecessor, Judge William Ray Price, Jr., who was a driving force behind Missouri’s treatment courts.  

This is part of an effort between the judiciary and lawmakers to change the way Missouri sentences nonviolent criminal offenders. 

Teitelman said Missouri is still a place of opportunity, and cited several success stories of Missourians who have overcome obstacles to be successful.

His address comes at the beginning of a legislative session during which lawmakers will consider major legislation to update Missouri’s criminal code, including laws regarding crimes, punishments, and sentencing.

You can read the transcript of the chief justice’s speech by clicking here.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Davidson.