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8th Judicial District Wellness Court celebrates anniversary with first graduation

Monday, October 17, 2016

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Wellness Court of the 8th Judicial District (Jackson and Larimer counties) will celebrate its second anniversary during a ceremony marking the first graduation from the mental health-focused court program.

The Oct. 20, 2016, graduation will be part of the 3 p.m. court docket, which is closed to the public, but an open house will follow at 3:30 p.m. outside Courtroom 3B of the Larimer County Justice Center at 201 LaPorte Avenue in Fort Collins. At 4 p.m., presiding Judge Julie Kunce Field will lead a public presentation on the Wellness Court and introduce its staff.

Two Wellness Court participants are set to become the first graduates from the court, which has capacity for 35.

The court opened in July 2014 and is one of 80 problem-solving courts operating in Colorado. The Wellness Court helps ensure community safety while providing an alternative to incarceration for people whose mental health issues affect their criminal behavior. Eligibility for the voluntary program is determined by a multidisciplinary team of professionals that includes the Probation Department, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Larimer County Criminal Justice Services Division, SummitStone Health Partners and city and county law enforcement agencies.

Clients are held accountable through intensive court supervision, agree to actively engage in treatment and counseling, and make regular court appearances to monitor their progress.

“Our team is very proud and excited to share this important milestone with the public,” Judge Field said. “The Wellness Court and other problem-solving courts have become a critical component of Colorado’s criminal-justice system, having proved to be effective in reducing recidivism while saving public funds as an alternative to prison or jail.”

Problem-solving court programs in Colorado include adult and juvenile drug courts, family/dependency and neglect drug courts, DUI courts, adult and juvenile mental health courts, veteran trauma courts, and truancy courts.

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