In August 2019, the Supreme Court received and reviewed the 2019 Impact and Outcome Evaluation on Arkansas Specialty Courts. Working together with the Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee, the Court adopted a Specialty Court Self-Evaluation to assess adherence to national best-practice standards. The Court is supportive of specialty courts; however, these programs must comply with recognized standards to ensure they are accomplishing the intended mission. In the future, approval of specialty courts will be conditioned on adherence to standards, as well as satisfactory program outcomes.
In order to evaluate compliance with standards, the Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee is requiring each specialty court program to complete a Specialty Court Self-Evaluation. To ensure accuracy in reporting, Chief Justice Kemp recommended Judges complete the evaluation with all members of the specialty court team present. The specialty court team should comprise of the following representative from partner agencies, including but not limited to the judge, program coordinator, prosecutor, defense attorney, treatment representative, probation officer, and law enforcement officer. The estimated time to complete the evaluation is 45-minutes.