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18th Judicial District expands problem-solving court offerings

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Problem-solving courts in Colorado’s 18th Judicial District (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties) soon will be able to serve new populations of offenders with intensive monitoring, supervision and treatment with the addition of new programs.

The district has begun accepting applications for a new track in the Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) for offenders who are assessed as presenting a lower risk of accumulating new criminal charges or endangering themselves or others; and will soon begin accepting applications for clients to participate in the new Sobriety Court program.

Since its inception in 2013, the VTC was designed to serve high-risk, high-need adult clients who suffer from diagnoses including post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury related to their military service. The addition of the new Veterans Support Court (VSC) track will serve military veterans who, while assessed as presenting a lower risk, need treatment and monitoring similar to that provided to the high-risk population.

The expansion will give the VTC the ability to help more veterans successfully complete probation and assist them in accessing the wide range of community services available to them through various veterans organizations.

Of the 78 veterans who have enrolled in the voluntary program with the VTC, three-quarters have graduated and only one has been found guilty of a new offense after graduation.

The Sobriety Court will begin accepting applications in mid-December. People eligible to participate must have a felony driving under the influence charge in the 18th Judicial District and be assessed as presenting a high risk of reoffending or failing to complete a less-intensive intervention. Applications should be submitted by defense counsel or Probation Department officials.

Like other problem-solving courts, participation in the VSC and in Sobriety Court will be voluntary. Clients must agree to all terms and conditions of the programs, which could include intensive treatment, frequent court appearances and reports to probation officers and frequent drug testing.

“Problem solving courts have provided a successful alternative to incarceration for thousands of people in Colorado and across the country,” said Judge Bonnie McLean, who presides over the 18th Judicial District’s problem-solving courts. “Our entire problem-solving court team is excited to be able to offer this alternative to a wider range of people in hopes of keeping them together with their families and working in their communities.”

Nearly 80 problem-solving courts are in operation around Colorado including 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. Such courts operate under a collaborative model involving not only court and probation officials, but also prosecutors, defense attorneys and treatment professionals.

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