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July 13, 2021 Gavel Talks | Season 3 - Episode 11

A Small-Town Judge Aims To Make A Big Difference One Kid At A Time

Featuring Hon. Michael P. Cotter, East Troy, WI

Hosted by the Hon. Richard Ginkowski

Juvenile courts were intended to turn delinquent children around to keep them out of the criminal justice system as adults. Nearly ten years ago Judge Michael Cotter of the East Troy Village Municipal Court in southeastern Wisconsin thought that it would be even better if there was a way to intervene earlier to keep kids out of the juvenile justice system as well.  Partnering with the Walworth County Human Services Department Judge Cotter implemented SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment) where juveniles charged with minor offenses and their parents would be required to meet on the spot with a special trained social worker to assess whether the child or the family would benefit from interventional services.  The program was successful enough to be expanded to all municipal courts in the county.  Judge Cotter joins Judge Richard Ginkowski to discuss how SBIRT came about and how other jurisdictions might benefit from a similar program.