Conferences & Symposia

Problem Solving Courts: A Conversation with the Experts


Friday, November 6th, 2009

University of Maryland School of Law: 500 W Baltimore St. Baltimore MD 21201

Journal of Race, Religion, Gender, and Class Fall Symposium

Friday, November 6th, 2009

8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Pre-registration no longer available. Please come to registration table upon arrival.

Please join the University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class for a conversation about the past, present, and future role of problem solving courts in our judicial system. The symposium will feature a catered lunch and keynote address by Nancy Forster, former Maryland Public Defender, and three panel discussions with a diverse array of Maryland practitioners and national experts. The panelists will explore supporting arguments as well as criticisms of problem solving courts, both in Maryland and across the country.

A problem solving court is an alternative court structure in which all participants work together to solve the chronic behavioral issues often underlying the criminal or civil offense. Some examples of problem solving courts are drug courts, mental health courts, and prostitution courts in the criminal context; juvenile drug courts, truancy courts; and teen courts in the juvenile context, and unified family courts in the civil context. In tackling these issues, problem solving courts aim to improve both the individual offenders' lives as well as the community by emphasizing rehabilitation and implementing multi-pronged solutions.

Alternative sentences are commonly employed by problem-solving courts and can include community service in lieu of jail and fines, and access to job training, drug treatment, and mental health counseling services. The courts also utilize other rehabilitation-focused mechanisms such as continual compliance monitoring and access to a comprehensive package of treatment and social services. The extensive training of judges, attorneys, social workers, and other participants encourages a broader understanding of the multi-issue problems handled by these courts as well as more holistic solutions. Each of these features aims to promote effective rehabilitative justice, with the primary goal of improving community safety and enhancing confidence in the judicial system.

Some critics question both the effectiveness and constitutionality of problem-solving courts. For example, the wide grant of authority afforded to problem solving court judges, namely their ability to speak directly to a defendant without his or her attorney present, represents a potential due process concern.

The Symposium will focus on three major questions addressed in respective panel discussions:

  • What is the purpose of Problem Solving Courts, and what approaches have been attempted in Maryland?
  • What are the different types of Problem Solving Courts, and what are the results?
  • What does the future hold for Problem Solving Courts, and what, if any, changes should be made?

Questions or concerns? Contact Chris Madaio, Executive Symposium Editor, at

Cmada001@umaryland.edu

Schedule of Events

8:30 - 9:00: Check-in & Breakfast

9:00 - 9:15 a.m.: Welcome: Ingrid L%F6fgren & Chris Madaio

9:15 - 9:30: Introductory Remarks: Dean Phoebe Haddon

9:30 - 10:45: Panel 1

11:00 - 12:00: Panel 2

12:00 - 1:30: Lunch & Keynote Address:

  • Topic: Problem Solving Courts & Rehabilitation's Role in the Criminal Justice System
  • Speaker: Nancy Forster (former Maryland Public Defender)

1:45 - 3:15: Panel 3

3:30: Concluding Remarks


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UM | About This Site | Site Map | Contact Us


500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2014, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved