George Draper | St. Louis Public Radio

George Draper

Missouri Chief Justice George Draper, center, delivers his State of the Judiciary Address on Jan. 22, 2020as House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield and Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe listen.
Tim Bommel | House Communications

The chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court says the state needs to properly fund its public defender system to continue the criminal justice reforms it has passed in the past several years.

Speaking to a joint session of the state Legislature on Wednesday for his first State of the Judiciary address, Chief Justice George Draper applauded the General Assembly for boosting access to treatment courts and allowing more individuals to enter diversion programs. However, he cautioned those reforms can only go so far.