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Huerfano County Alternative Court Program celebrates first graduation

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

WALSENBURG, Colo. – The first clients to graduate from a Huerfano County program offering intensive supervision and treatment as an alternative to incarceration will be celebrated in a ceremony Jan. 15, 2015, at 3:30 p.m.

Two participants will graduate in a ceremony held in District Court in the Huerfano County Courthouse, marking their completion of the 15-month Adult Drug Court Program. Clients in the voluntary program are held accountable for their offenses while community safety is ensured through close supervision and monitoring.

“The program is demanding and challenges participants to dig deep within themselves to make the necessary changes for long-term success,” said Martin Malouff, Chief Probation Officer of the Third Judicial District (Huerfano and Las Animas counties). “Everything once believed about offenders and treatment is being challenged by the notion that it’s not enough to simply demand change or expect a jail cell or the threat of one to do it for you.”

The program began in September 2013 through collaboration among the courts, Probation Department, substance abuse and mental health treatment professionals, and law enforcement. A multidisciplinary team evaluates potential clients to determine their eligibility for participation.

Each client receives individualized treatment based on their needs and best interests, and treatment team members maintain near-constant contact so they can best respond to each client’s needs.

“There’s no silver bullet for what they’re facing,” said Chief Judge Claude W. Appel, who presides over the Alternative Court Program. “But we know that close supervision and availability of treatment and other resources the court team provides can help clients return to their lives and their communities prepared to make positive and productive contributions.”

Participants receive incentives such as reduced reporting requirements as they progress through the program, while violations of the program’s requirements can result in appropriate sanctions up to and including jail time based on the severity of the behavior.

The program is one of nearly 80 problem-solving courts operating in Colorado, including three others in the 3rd Judicial District. Such courts 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.

Rob McCallum

Public Information Officer

Colorado Judicial Department

720-625-5815

robert.mccallum@judicial.state.co.us

Twitter: @rwmccallum

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