The New York State Unified Court System serves the needs of approximately 19,750,000 people, the fourth-largest state population in the nation. Our 1,200 state judges, 2,400 town and village judges and 15,500 non-judicial employees work in over 300 state courts and 1,300 town and village courts spread throughout 62 counties in 13 judicial districts and hear 3,500,000 filings.
To meet the challenges of such a large system, more than two decades ago, the New York State Unified Court System began to establish problem-solving courts. These courts help judges and court staff to better respond to the needs of litigants and the community. Problem-solving courts look to the underlying issues that bring people into the court system, and employ innovative approaches to address those issues. Through intensive judicial monitoring, coordination with outside services, treatment where appropriate, the removal of barriers between courts and increased communication with stakeholders, these courts are able to change the way our system manages cases and responds to individuals, families and communities.
Problem-solving courts take different forms depending on the problems they are designed to address. Drug and mental health courts focus on treatment and rehabilitation. Community courts combine treatment, community responsibility, accountability, and support to both litigants and victims. Sex offense courts employ judicial monitoring and the use of mandated programs and probation to ensure compliance and facilitate access to services. Human trafficking courts center around victims and many cases are resolved without criminal charges. The Adolescent Diversion parts address the unique needs of adolescents in the criminal justice system.
The Unified Court System is committed to the administration of justice in the problem-solving courts, while enhancing public safety.
Chief of Policy
Honorable Sherry Klein Heitler
Chief of Policy and Planning
New York State Courts
Veterans' Treatment Courts opened in Manhattan and Richmond counties and additional courts are in the planning phase.
For further information on Problem-Solving Courts or if you would like to schedule a court visit, please contact the Office of Policy and Planning at ProblemSolving@nycourts.gov