From the Health Care Foundation blog: Trauma-informed courts work to keep people in treatment, out of justice system

By Mark Wiebe

Courtrooms are no strangers to trauma. This includes the trauma many defendants experience throughout their lives, and the trauma they experience in court as they stand before a judge. In Wyandotte County District Court, these realities are beginning to inform the work judges do when encountering defendants who live with behavioral health challenges.

Call them “trauma-informed courts,” as Judge Kate Lynch does in her care and treatment docket, or “Behavioral Health Court,” the designated name for a docket over which Judge Michael A. Russell presides. Both judges participated in a panel discussion March 8 as part of Alive & Thrive Wyandotte County’s efforts to promote trauma-informed practices in the community. Alive & Thrive, a Healthy Communities Wyandotte Action Team, also raises awareness about the impact traumatic experiences and Adverse Childhood Experiences have on the county’s overall health.

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