Judge Marion Warren, Director of N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to present a plan that proposes to unify NC treatment courts and put them in every judicial district in the State. The plan, entitled Judicially Managed Accountability and Recovery Act (JMARA), proposes to coordinate court, community, and college social work resources for accountability and recovery in our communities.
According to the presentation, this model will provide treatment, when needed, and case management. The treatment would be provided by community treatment providers, with little to no funds from the state. Senator Barringer expressed approval for the plan and emphasized that there are many community based recovery and support programs that are volunteer based, requiring no additional funding from the state. Judge Warren stated that he thought the many case managers that would be needed for this plan could be harvested from the schools of social work at the colleges and universities around the state. He indicated that, under the supervision of professionals, these students would benefit from practical, real world experience and the state would benefit financially from using students in this important role.
Senator Van Duyn expressed concern for the DWI Court in her county of Buncombe, which she felt may be threatened by this new statewide plan. Judge Warren indicated that the existing treatment courts would be folded into the new system. How that would happen and who would fund those new courts is currently undecided.
There is currently no legislation that associated with this model. We will continue to closely follow and report on this proposal.