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Chief Justice Rush talks return on investment in annual State of the Judiciary address

Loretta Rush shakes hands with a state lawmaker. Rush is a White woman with dark brown hair, wearing glasses and a black judicial robe.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush greets lawmakers as she enters the House Chamber for her annual State of the Judiciary address on Jan. 10, 2024.

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush said state courts are providing “bang for the buck” when it comes to the significant investment lawmakers made in the last state budget.

Rush laid out her proof to legislators Wednesday in her annual State of the Judiciary address.

Rush said increased state funding has made courts more efficient and helped improve citizens’ lives.

“Your funding has allowed us to expand problem-solving and commercial courts, address rural needs, leverage technology through innovation and build public trust through outreach,” Rush said.

Rush highlighted improvements in technology and behavioral health, and the work of Indiana’s many problem-solving courts. Those include courts specifically for people with addiction, military veterans and families in crisis.

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And Rush leaned heavily on personal stories of people in those courts who improved their lives.

“The real return on investment isn’t just a number and it’s not always quantifiable with a metric,” Rush said. “It’s the reclaimed lives.”

Thousands of people have graduated from Indiana’s problem-solving courts.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.