Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren, JD
In 1996, Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren was elected to the County Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit of Florida. She graduated from The University of Miami with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Public Affairs (1980) and from Nova Southeastern University College of Law (1983). Lerner-Wren’s prior professional experience included serving as Public Guardian for the 17th Judicial Circuit. As administrator and director of Broward’s guardianship program, Lerner-Wren was responsible for directing and administrating all operations of the program. Her responsibilities included ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of disabled adults through comprehensive case management and client advocacy. She was responsible for all treatment planning and worked collaboratively with community based social service providers.
In 1993, Lerner-Wren was selected by Florida’s Protection and Advocacy System, The Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities Inc. In this role, she oversaw the implementation of a Stipulated Consent Decree in the Federal Class Action of Sanbourne v. Chiles pertaining to South Florida State Psychiatric Hospital. Lerner-Wren served as Plaintiff’s monitor on behalf of the patients at South Florida State Hospital and was responsible for monitoring the adequacy of individualized discharge plans and other related monitoring responsibilities.
In 1997, upon her election to the County Court, Lerner-Wren was assigned to a criminal division, where she was appointed by Chief Judge Dale Ross to pioneer and administrate the nation’s first Mental Health Court. Broward’s Mental Health Court is a problem-solving therapeutic court dedicated to the safe diversion of people arrested with mental illnesses and co-occurring substance disorders for non-violent misdemeanor offenses.
Broward’s Mental Health Court innovation is a national and international model. The specialized court has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, and NPR. The Court was showcased as a best practice by the U.S. Department of Justice and was the model for the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 2000. Lerner-Wren was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, where she chaired the Criminal Justice Sub-Committee (2001-2003).
Lerner-Wren has received numerous honors and awards. Most recently in 2015, the National Council for Behavioral Health selected Lerner-Wren for the Award for Excellence in Advocacy, Elected Official. In 2013, she was voted “Top Finalist” (Successful Innovation), Innovating Justice Awards, The Hague Institute for the Internationalization of Law, The Hiil Foundation, The Hague, The Netherlands.
Lerner-Wren is an adjunct professor for Nova Southeastern University, College of Psychology and Criminal Justice Institute, Graduate Programs. She also contributes to The Huffington Post and is a presenter on a wide range of subjects related to therapeutic jurisprudence, problem-solving courts, mental health, and criminal justice.