Date of Award

Spring 4-19-2024

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Criminal Justice

First Advisor

April Carrillo

Second Advisor

Sandy McKeown

Third Advisor

Wendy Hess


Drug Court, DUI Court, Problem-Solving Court, Specialty Court, Treatment Court, South Dakota

Subject Categories

Courts | Criminal Law | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Law | Legal Writing and Research


Drug/DUI courts have existed in the state of South Dakota since 2007 when the state became the last to implement a drug/DUI court program. Currently, South Dakota has 17 problem-solving courts which include drug, DUI, mental health, and veterans courts. The drug/DUI court model works to circumvent participants out of the criminal justice system by targeting the root cause of their criminal behavior. The role of the judge in this model is essential. Previous research has found that how participants view the quality of their interactions with the presiding judge is one of the most influential factors for their success in a drug/DUI court. In South Dakota, drug/DUI court judges preside over both traditional court proceedings and drug/DUI court sessions. This gives drug/DUI court judges a unique perspective of the criminal justice system. Interviews with three drug/DUI court judges in South Dakota reveal the benefits that these courts have on communities in the state. The perspectives of these judges highlight the importance of drug/DUI courts while also exposing areas where there is room for expansion and improvement.



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