- Associated Press - Sunday, November 2, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - Judicial officials in Massachusetts are partnering with the University of Massachusetts Medical School to create a center that will help establish uniform and best practices for specialty courts around the state.

The Center of Excellence is designed to strengthen the state’s ability to increase public safety while addressing issues of mental health, substance abuse and trauma within the criminal justice system.

Specialty courts focus on improving the treatment and management of defendants with serious substance abuse and health problems.

The new center will be located at UMass Medical School in Worcester. It will develop training for specialty court staff and judges.

The center will work with leaders from the courts and various state agencies, including the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Veterans’ Services and the Governor’s Crime Commission.

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