Thursday, December 14, 2017


Adult Drug Court

Established in May 1995, the Drug Court Program began in collaboration with law enforcement and health officials. It was based on the first Drug Court created in Miami, Florida that was established in 1989. The goal of the program is to provide treatment and rehabilitation of certain nonviolent drug possession/use and property crime offenders. The focus is on increasing awareness of drug abuse/ addiction, increasing the ability of participants to live drug-free, access to community resources which support positive lifestyle changes, and to reduce drug-related crime and recidivism. Drug Court is a collaborative court that involves a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) approach consisting of the Court, District Attorney, Public Defender, Probation, and County drug treatment providers.

To be eligible for Drug Court, all offenders must have a history of, or evidence of, the following:

  • Present drug abuse or addiction
  • Abuse or addiction is at least one motivating factor in the commission of the crime
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Must not be on parole

The Sacramento County Probation Department oversees the treatment programs. Treatment is provided by the following agencies:

  • Sacramento Department of Health and Human Services
  • Wellspace Health
  • CARA (Nutrition, Mind-Body, and Acupuncture)

Treatment providers provide substance abuse counseling as well as address the participant's needs in the following areas:

  • Linkage to government assistance programs
  • Housing assistance
  • Educational and career assistance

Eligible offenders enter a plea and sign a contract accepting admission to the program. The jail/prison time is suspended pending successful completion, and they are placed on formal probation supervision. Participants make regular court appearances before the court so the MDT can monitor and promote the treatment and rehabilitation of the participants.

Participants must establish a consistent pattern of clean drug tests, employment or enrollment in vocational or educational programs, and other proof of a stabilized lifestyle. Upon successful graduation from Drug Court, which also includes satisfaction of any victim restitution owed, the participant may be allowed to withdraw their plea and have the case dismissed.

Mental Health Court (MHC)

Mental Health Court (MHC)is a collaborative court established in 2007. It involves a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) approach consisting of the Court, District Attorney, Public Defender, Probation, and County mental health providers.

The goal of the MHC is to provide treatment for criminal offenders with mental health issues. The focus is on getting offenders to address their mental health issues by taking medication and/or attending therapy. In addition, if they have substance abuse issues (co-occurring conditions) then the court will also mandate that the offender address this issue as well. The purpose of addressing the mental health/substance abuse issues is to reduce the recidivism of mentally ill offenders and to reduce their mental health hospitalizations. There is a great cost savings to the County revenues that would otherwise be spent on jail or hospital stays for mentally ill offender.

Treatment is overseen by the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Service treatment providers:

  • Turning Point Pathways
  • Turning Point Integrated Services Agency
  • Transitional Living ' Community Support
  • Sierra Elder-Wellness Program (El Hogar)
  • Telecare - Sacramento Outreach Adult Recovery (Telecare-SOAR)
  • Transitional Community Opportunities for Recovery and Engagement (T-CORE)
  • Regional Support teams

The treatment providers address the participant's needs in one or more of the following programs:

  • Mental health treatment (medication and/or therapy)
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Linkage to government assistance programs
  • Housing assistance
  • Educational and career assistance

Eligible offenders enter a plea and sign a contract accepting admission to the program. The jail/prison sentence is suspended pending successful completion, and they are placed on formal probation supervision. Participants make regular court appearances before the court so the MDT can monitor and promote the treatment and rehabilitation of the participants. Participants remain in the program an average of 12 to 18 months. Upon successful graduation from Mental Health Court, which includes satisfaction of any victim restitution owed, the participant's plea may be withdrawn and the charges dismissed.

Re-Entry Court

Established in 2013, Re-Entry Court is a collaborative court where the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) approach consisting of the Court, District Attorney, Public Defender, Probation, and Volunteers of America (VOA).

Re-Entry Court is a Drug Court model program designed to assist moderate to high-risk offender's transition from jail to become productive members of the community. The treatment program is provided by the Probation Department's Adult Day Reporting Centers. The goal of Re-Entry Court is to provide comprehensive rehabilitation and supervision and to reduce recidivism of the participants.

Participants remain in the program 12 to 18 months. Upon successful graduation from Re-Entry Court, which also includes satisfaction of any victim restitution owed, the suspended period of incarceration will be vacated and the probation period is reduced to 2 years from the date of the graduation unless victim restitution is still owing.

Prop 36 Court

Unlike Drug Court, which is based on evidence based practices in the approach to treat offenders with substance abuse issues, Prop 36 is a statutorily mandated drug-treatment court established in 2001 for non- violent drug possession offenses. All non-violent drug offenders are usually eligible for Prop 36 court absent some exclusion. The goal is to provide treatment to offenders with substance abuse issues in order to reduce recidivism for drug offenses.

Treatment is overseen by the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Service treatment providers:

  • Wellspace Health
  • Strategies for Change
  • County of Sacramento - System of Care
  • NCADD
  • Bi-Valley

Eligible offenders enter a plea and are accepted into the program. The jail/prison sentenced is suspended pending successful completion, and they are placed on formal probation supervision. Participants make regular court appearances before the court to monitor and promote the treatment and rehabilitation. Failure to comply with the terms of supervision results in resuming criminal proceedings, however, many unsuccessful participants of Prop 36 become eligible for Drug Court. Upon successful graduation from Prop 36, the participant shall be allowed to withdraw their plea and have the case dismissed.

Domestic Violence Home Court

Established July 1997, Domestic Violence Home Court began hearing non-evidentiary matters for all felony and misdemeanor domestic violence cases. The District Attorney, Public Defender, and Probation Department received an 18 month federal grant at the start of this pilot. The goal of the Domestic Violence Court is to establish an integrated approach to crimes of domestic violence in order to provide a comprehensive, consistent, fair, and effective criminal justice response to our community.

Defendants with misdemeanor and felony domestic violence charges appear in Domestic Violence Court for hearings and disposition of all cases. Those pleading guilty or no contest to the domestic violence charges are sentenced and referred to a community batterer's treatment program. The 52-week program includes counseling and follow-up with assigned probation officers. Defendants must also return to court at least three times for progress reports from the treatment program and probation.

Veterans Treatment Court

Established in July 2014, Veterans Treatment Court involves a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) approach consisting of the Court, District Attorney, Public Defender, Probation, and the Office of Veteran's Affairs (VA) by the Veteran Justice Outreach (VJO).

Only veterans who are eligible for VA benefits and have committed their offenses due to sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury (TBI), post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or mental health condition stemming from service in the US Military (PC 1170.9) are allowed to participate.

Treatment is provided by the Department of Veteran's Affairs by the VJO. Participants will be referred by the VJO to treatment programs which will address one or more of the following:

  • PTSD
  • TBI
  • Drug and or alcohol (substance abuse) conditions
  • Co-occurring conditions
  • Other mental health needs
  • Housing needs
  • Medial conditions
  • Career and educational pursuits

Eligible participants will enter a plea and sign a contract accepting admission to the program, and their jail/prison time is suspended.

Participants make regular court appearances before the court to monitor and promote the treatment and rehabilitation. Participants remain in the program 12 to 18 months. Upon successful graduation from Veterans Treatment Court, which also includes satisfaction of any victim restitution owed, the participant may be allowed to withdraw their plea and have the case dismissed. Those not allowed to withdraw their plea still have their jail/ prison vacated or a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor.

Loaves and Fishes Court

The Loaves and Fishes calendar provides relief to homeless low level traffic and misdemeanor offenders who cannot afford to pay court fines and fees. In lieu of these fines/fees and in some instances jail time, they are given the option to complete community service hours through Loaves and Fishes, a local shelter for the homeless. Participants must be a client of Loaves and Fishes in order to qualify.

The Loaves and Fishes Court is heard once per month. The majority of the cases involve "homeless" type infractions, such as vending on the side of the road, trespassing, and drinking in public. However, it can also include certain misdemeanor violations for which the court fines/fees can be converted to community service hours. Completion of the community service hours does not result in the dismissal of the case, and the participant may have other sentence requirements to fulfill before the case is closed.

Stand Down Court

Stand Down is a collaborative three-day event, held in the fall of each year, that assists homeless veterans to resolve their infraction and minor misdemeanor court fees/fines by converting them to community service hours. The majority of cases are similar to those listed for Loaves and Fishes Court.

Stand Down utilizes a similar Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) approach, but on a much broader scale. Stand Down planning begins several months in advance of the event and utilizes the services of the Court, District Attorney, Public Defender, the County Department of Revenue Recovery, the Veterans Administration, and a myriad of other State, County, and local agencies.

In addition to court services, veterans can receive immediate assistance and/or referrals for:

  • Food and shelter
  • Clothing
  • Health, dental, and vision services
  • Education and legal services
  • Social Security
  • Employment Development
  • Department of Motor Vehicle Issues
  • Child Support referrals

Any qualifying homeless veteran can participate and receive the services listed above on a yearly basis, with the exception of court services. The conversion of court fines/fees is not allowed if the veteran has already utilized court services three years in a row. After three years, there must be a one year break before a veteran is allowed to receive those services again.

Upon completion of the community service hours, the vetern's court fines/fees are suspended; however, any applicable conviction will still remain on their criminal history/driving record.

2015 marked the twenty-fourth year for Stand Down Court.

Violation of Probation (VOP) Court

The Violation of Probation (VOP) Court that began in September 2007 is the first of its kind in the state. It is an efficient, cost-effective, and fair way of relieving congested court calendars and reducing mail jail overcrowding while holding felony and misdemeanor probationers accountable for their criminal conduct. It was initiated by District Attorney Jan Scully and organized by the Criminal Justice Cabinet. Partnering justice agencies include the District Attorney, Public Defender, Conflict Criminal Defender, Probation, Sheriff, and Superior Court.

When an offender violates their probation by committing a new crime, the District Attorney makes the decision to file charges for the new crime, or file a violation of probation (VOP) in lieu of the new crime. Filing a VOP in lieu allows for speedy adjudication of a new offense through violation proceedings and avoids unnecessary court appearances, preliminary hearing and/or a jury trial. Over the years this way of addressing new offenses has saved the County millions of dollars.