LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican outlined the accomplishments of the state’s judicial branch in his annual State of the Judiciary address to lawmakers Wednesday.
Heavican said the courts are expanding their public services to protect abused children, keep former prisoners from re-offending, and help some counties safe money.
He citeded as an example a joint pilot program with the Nebraska Dept of Health and Human Services in 3 counties – Dawson, Lancaster, and Madison – to increase the number of foster children who get reunited with their parents.
He also pointed to the growing number of so-called problem-solving courts throughout the state to help young adults, people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, and veterans who face certain criminal charges. Heavican said those courts “effectively reduce recidivism and increase community safety while being very cost-effective.”
The state judicial branch now offers clerk services district courts in addition to its long-standing funding of the county courts in an effort to increase efficiency and reduce local costs. Heavican said that “because district court clerks have traditionally been funded by county property taxes, this option has resulted in cost savings for those counties” that have taken advantage of the offer.