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Fifth Judicial District Celebrates National Drug Court Month

Monday, May 2, 2016

EAGLE, Colo. – In celebration of National Drug Court Month, the Fifth Judicial District’s Problem Solving Courts are welcoming visitors to attend court hearings and learn more about court programs throughout the month of May. 

The public and media are encouraged to attend court proceedings to learn about the work being done in these courts and witness the tremendous positive impact these courts have on our community to reduce drug use, crime, and recidivism while saving lives, families, and valuable resources for our state. The Fifth Judicial District has four separate Problem Solving Courts in three counties; Eagle, Lake and Summit.  

“The work isn’t done until the people who need sobriety find it,” said the Honorable Jonathon Shamis, Lake County Court Judge.

National Drug Court Month is coordinated by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). This year, treatment courts throughout the nation are celebrating National Drug Court Month with the theme “Criminal Justice Reform in Action.” Today, 2,966 treatment courts are in operation in all 50 states, plus US territories, successfully treating close to 150,000 substance?addicted individuals each year. Since 1989, these courts have saved over 1.4 million lives and billions of tax dollars.

“Drug courts and other treatment courts are the most successful programs for seriously addicted individuals in our nation’s history and represent true criminal justice reform in action,” said NADCP CEO Carson Fox. “Drug courts and other treatment courts restore lives, reunite families, and make communities safer, all while saving money for taxpayers. Instead of punishment, these programs provide life?saving treatment to those who need it most.”

The Fifth Judicial District Problem Solving Courts reduce correctional costs, enhance community safety, and improve public welfare. In these programs, seriously addicted individuals remain in treatment for long periods of time while under close supervision. Court participants must meet obligations to themselves, their families, and society.

To ensure accountability, clients are regularly and randomly tested for substance use, required to appear frequently in court for the judge to review their progress, rewarded for meeting goals, and sanctioned for not meeting clearly stated obligations. Research continues to show that treatment courts work better than jail or prison, better than probation, and better than treatment alone.

“When I got here, I had given up on life,” said Ashby Capito, a program graduate. “This (Eagle County DUI Court) is the best thing that could have happened to me.”

Treatment courts are this nation’s most effective strategy to reduce recidivism among substance addicted, nonviolent offenders with criminal histories. Nationally, 75% of individuals who complete such programs are not re?arrested. These courts save up to $13,000 for every individual they serve and return as much as $27 for every $1 invested.

The Fifth Judicial District is comprised of four Problem Solving Courts; two DUI Courts in Lake and Eagle Counties and two Drug Courts in Summit and Eagle.  Our DUI Courts have a graduation rate of 75% and our Drug Courts have a graduation rate of 52%, both above national averages.  These courts have been running since 2009 & 2010.  We welcome anyone from the community to visit our court programs and reach out for additional information. 

Our treatment court schedule for May 2016:

May 6th – Lake County Sobriety Court, 9:15am, Lake County Justice Center

May 11th – Eagle County Drug Court, 2:30pm, Eagle County Justice Center

May 13th – Summit County Recovery Court, 10:15am, Summit County Justice Center

May 18th – Eagle County DUI Court, 2:30pm, Eagle County Justice Center

May 20th – Lake County Sobriety Court, 9:15am, Lake County Justice Center

May 25th – Eagle County Drug Court, 2:30pm, Eagle County Justice Center

May 27th – Summit County Recovery Court, 10:15am, Summit County Justice Center

For more information, please contact Problem Solving Court Coordinator Karen Hoeger at karen.hoeger@judicial.state.co.us or 970-328-6435.

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