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Larimer County DUI Recovery Court marks 10th anniversary

Monday, September 14, 2020

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Larimer County DUI Recovery Court recently marked its 10th anniversary of providing participants with substance use disorder treatment and intensive monitoring as an alternative to incarceration.

The first participant entered the DUI Recovery Court program in July 2010. Since then, 120 people have successfully graduated from the program, which generally takes 20 to 30 months to complete.  The program, which serves people convicted of felony DUI whose DUI behavior can be traced to a clinical substance use disorder, currently has 19 participants. Participants access comprehensive treatment while continuing to live and work in the community. They are held accountable through a sentence that combines an initial term of work release, intensive probation supervision and biweekly or monthly court reviews, during which they speak with presiding Magistrate Matthew Zehe about their progress in treatment and on other program goals.

“This program works from the concept that recovery from substance use disorder, along with structures built on compassion and support to help participants stay true to their recovery, will accomplish resilient sobriety for our participants and safety for our community,” Magistrate Zehe said.  “After 10 years, the program is pleased to look back and see how successfully that vision played out.”

The DUI Recovery Court is a collaborative effort managed by program coordinator Harry McCrystal and representatives from the Probation Department, Larimer County Criminal Justice Services Division, Creative Counseling Services, the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, and the private criminal defense bar. The team also has included representation from the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, and the Loveland and Colorado State University police departments. The team provides supervision and treatment services to participants, recommends appropriate court responses to compliance issues, and maintains program planning and development.

“I am awestruck looking back at the 10 years of dedication and hard work shown by this program’s team,” said team member Nathan Hansen, who represents the private criminal defense bar. “Actively participating in the individualized rehabilitation and rebuilding of so many lives in this community is a tremendous privilege. This program saves lives and should be celebrated.”

In August 2017, the program became the first DUI court to receive state accreditation in recognition of its adherence to evidence-based best practices for problem-solving courts. It is one of 76 problem-solving courts in 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.

Due to COVID-19 precautions, the program will defer a celebration of its anniversary until after pandemic conditions have eased.

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