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Courts: Location

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 12th June 2019.

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Photo of Carolyn Harris Carolyn Harris Shadow Minister (Equalities Office) (Women and Equalities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress his Department has made on finalising the location of the Problem Solving Courts across England and Wales.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

There are no plans to develop Problem Solving Courts in the criminal courts in England and Wales. Problem solving approaches are however being employed to address complex needs of offenders and resolve substance misuse/mental health problems in the community:

  • We are working with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, HM Prisons and Probation Service and Public Health England on a protocol to support the greater use of community sentences with treatment requirements in courts. The Community Sentence Treatment Requirement protocol is operating across five courts within England (as health is devolved in Wales). These sites are Milton Keynes, Northampton, Birmingham, Sefton and Plymouth.
  • The roll-out of NHS England’s Liaison and Diversion services also supports our efforts to intervene early for vulnerable offenders and divert them into services that address the underlying causes of offending. This service is currently operating across over 90% of England with full roll-out expected by 2020/21.

Problem-solving courts and initiatives are in use in family proceedings where families can get help to address their problems and reduce the likelihood of children being taken into care. Family, Drug and Alcohol Courts, which look to address substance misuse and related problems in the home, are operating in a number of local authority areas including London, Southampton, Coventry and Leeds. Family, Drug and Alcohol Courts and a number of other initiatives which are helping to keep families safely together have recently been given additional £15m funding from the Department for Education.

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