The Luzerne County Specialty Court was implemented in 2010 in order to link mentally ill offenders with long-term community-based treatment as an alternative to incarceration. The goals of Specialty Court are to assure that non-violent offenders with a mental illness receive treatment as early as possible and to maximize their chances of becoming productive, law abiding citizens. Specialty Court is a team-driven collaboration between the Court of Common Pleas, the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office, Defense Counsel, Luzerne / Wyoming Counties Mental Health and Developmental Services, Luzerne County Adult Probation and Parole, and local treatment providers.
In order to ensure the safety of the community and properly address the needs of the individual, all applicants to the program must be approved by the District Attorney’s Office and must undergo a thorough legal and clinical assessment. Participants are required to meet with a probation/parole officer on a weekly basis, attend all appointments, actively participate in mental health treatment and appear in court on a regular basis.
Assistant District Attorney Michelle Hardik has been with the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office since 2009. She has been the Assistant District Attorney assigned to this Specialty Court since its inception. ADA Hardik attends Mental Health Court team meetings and plays an active role in decisions regarding participant sanctions. She also represents the Commonwealth in all court appearances involving Specialty Court participants.