For Immediate Release: Nov. 16, 2023
Contact: Alisa Bousa, Public Information Officer
Alisa.Bousa@ujs.state.sd.us | 605.773.2031
Treatment Court Professionals Attend Statewide Conference
PIERRE, S.D.—More than 170 professionals, experts and stakeholders in the Problem-Solving Courts community came together on Nov. 7-9, 2023, in Deadwood for the South Dakota Problem-Solving Courts Statewide Conference: South Dakota RISE23.
Hosted by the South Dakota Unified Judicial System, the biannual event provides education and networking for public safety and public health leaders working to expand treatment for people with substance use and mental health disorders who become involved in the justice system. In South Dakota, treatment courts are referred to as Problem-Solving Courts and include Drug Court, DUI Court, Veterans Court and Mental Health Court.
“This conference provides a unique platform for attendees to share their knowledge, experiences and best practices related to Problem-Solving Courts, which aim to lead people living with substance use and mental health disorders out of the criminal justice system and into lives of recovery and stability,” said Director of Problem-Solving Courts Noreen Plumage. “Attendees learn from leading experts in the field, connect with peers and colleagues, and gain practical insights and strategies to improve their work in Problem-Solving Courts.”
The conference was attended by Problem-Solving Court coordinators, judges, court services officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement officers, substance use and mental health treatment providers, and others who work to ensure that individuals in the justice system have access to evidence-based treatment and recovery. Attendees heard from speakers on a wide-range of topics including the future of treatment courts, peer recovery support, core correctional practices, sequential intercept model, intent versus impact, understanding emerging adults, aiming higher than compliance, and psychoneuroimmunology—when stress, trauma and addiction intersect.
During the conference, Albert Awards were presented to team members who rose above in their contributions to their treatment courts in nine disciplines. Award contenders were nominated by their team members and reviewed, scored and selected by an independent panel. 2023 Albert Award winners were:
- Judge: Todd Hyronimous, Pennington County Veterans Court
- Coordinator: Ashlee May, Pennington County Drug Court & Pennington County Veterans Court
- Court Service Officer: Aamy Drotzmann, Yankton County Drug & DUI Court
- Substance Use Disorder Treatment Representative: Cynthia Binde, Codington County Drug Court
- Mental Health Treatment Representative: Tammy Dramstad, Beadle County Drug Court
- Prosecutor: Thomas P. Maher, Sixth Circuit Drug & DUI Court
- Defense Attorney: Kim Kinney, Fourth Circuit DUI Court
- Law Enforcement: Michelle Boyd, Second Circuit Drug Court and Sioux Falls Mental Health Court
- Other: Darla Crown, Veterans Court mentor, Pennington County Veterans Court
“Each day in our Problem-Solving Courts, we seek to shape behavior by offering incentives when our clients demonstrate a new skill, go above and beyond, simply do their very best, with the hope that all the small steps they take will create a life in recovery,” Plumage said. “When asked about participation in Problem-Solving Court, team members will often say it is some of the most difficult yet rewarding work they have been tasked with doing.”
In Problem-Solving Courts, treatment providers ensure that each person receives an individualized, evidence-based treatment plan, while probation officers ensure close community supervision. They work as a team with law enforcement, defense, prosecution and the judge to hold participants accountable and provide ongoing support. Problem-Solving Courts save lives, reunite families, make communities safer and save money.
To learn more, visit https://ujs.sd.gov/Circuit_Court/Problem_Solving_Courts.
About South Dakota Courts: The Unified Judicial System (UJS) consists of the Supreme Court, Circuit Courts and State Court Administrator’s Office. The Supreme Court is the state’s highest court and final decision maker on South Dakota law. The Circuit Courts are the state’s trial courts where criminal proceedings and civil litigation are handled. The State Court Administrator’s Office provides centralized administrative assistance and support services for the South Dakota judiciary. Learn more at https://ujs.sd.gov.