Collaborative Justice Courts
Collaborative justice courts – also known as “problem solving” courts – promote accountability by combining judicial supervision with rigorously monitored rehabilitation services and treatment in lieu of detention. Collaborative courts are designed to improve justice system outcomes by focusing on underlying problems such as mental health issues or substance use disorders.
Collaborative justice courts use a multidisciplinary, non-adversarial team approach with involvement from the court, attorneys, law enforcement, and community treatment and service agencies. Collaborative justice courts receive guidance from the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Defining Drug Courts: The Key Components. This resource elaborates on the purpose of and performance measurements for drug court. For more information about Collaborative Justice Courts visit the California Courts website.
The Sierra County Drug Court (SCDC) was established in 2003 as an alternative to traditional sentencing options for non-violent drug-related offenders. SCDC is a collaborative effort among the Superior Court, the Office of the District Attorney, the Office of the Public Defender, the Probation Department, the Sheriff’s Department, the Department of Human Services, and Drug Court Medical Advisor.
The five-phase SCDC program consists of intensive supervision by the Probation Department, individual and group counseling provided by substance abuse counselors, frequent court appearances, random drug and alcohol testing and regular team meetings to assess the participant’s progress.
As participants progress through the program, they are held accountable to program requirements. If a participant is non-compliant, a series of sanctions may be imposed that range from essay writing, community service and flash incarcerations to expulsion from the program. Participants are also rewarded with incentives for achievements in following the program, such as phase advancements, decreased program requirements, gift cards, and graduation recognition.
Upon successful completion of the program, probation is terminated or charges are dismissed. The program is designed to help participants break the addiction cycle, acquire the tools necessary to help further their education and/or obtain vocational training to maintain stable employment and sustain themselves as productive members of society.
It is the mission of the Sierra County Drug Court to:
Provide a Court-supervised, Probation-based, comprehensive substance abuse treatment program for non-violent offenders.
Build upon existing positive relationships between the participating County Departments to structure a treatment program that is more effective in addressing substance abuse related crime than the present system.
Develop a therapeutic Drug Court program that is equally responsive to the rehabilitation needs of the participant and the anti-crime concerns of the community.
Develop a science-based, outcome-orientated system that is both cost effective and realistic in its allocation of resources