In an unusual move, the area of Clark County Nevada has decided to create a new court system that will specialize in serving gambling addicts. Instead of going through the traditional prison court system, this specialized court will cover non-violent crimes and offer treatment instead of jail time.
Nevada has one of the highest problem gambling rates in the United States, and this type of court has been pushed for quite some time. Judges will now have the ability to order counseling for gamblers and have oversight on their recovery instead of handing down a traditional punishment.
The new court system will provide a second chance for problem gamblers and be a cost-effective solution for the state. On average, treatment would cost an individual from $1,400 to as much as $2,500 or higher. With incarceration, the individual would cost the state $24,000 a year. The cost difference is huge and allows the state to help the individual with treatment and save money at the same time.
If a gambling addict is tried and they require treatment, they can seek assistance via grants that will be made available by the state. The goal is to provide a new type of treatment to such individuals, those who have not committed a violent crime, but may have made poor decisions based on their gambling addiction.
For a ten year time frame, Judge Cheryl Moss has fought to see this change in the court system. Her late mother was an advocate for treatment, one of the founding individuals fighting for this change. Moss has stated that this change in the court system in Clark County could be one of her greatest accomplishments in her 17 years within the Family Court.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the changes affect those who are considered gambling addicts and if the new option is one that shows results, helping the individual affected by the addiction as well as cut down costs for the state.