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Rockland County Enhances Treatment Court for Justice-Involved Individuals

In a significant move to address addiction issues within the justice system, Ninth Judicial District Administrative Judge Anne Minihan announced changes to the treatment court structure in Rockland County on Tuesday. The newly combined Superior Court for drug treatment, located in the Rockland County Courthouse, now accepts both felony and misdemeanor cases.

The drug treatment courts are specialized courts designed to help justice-involved individuals charged with felonies or misdemeanors who may be suffering from addiction. This initiative aims to provide comprehensive support and rehabilitation rather than traditional punitive measures.

The Rockland County Treatment Court represents a collaborative effort involving the Ninth Judicial District, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, the Rockland County Public Defender’s Office, the local defense bar, the Rockland County Department of Probation, and various local service providers. This partnership is integral to the court’s operation and success.

The Office for Justice Initiatives’ Division of Policy and Planning, under the leadership of Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Edwina Richardson and Statewide Problem-Solving Court Coordinating Judge Toko Serita, played a crucial role in the planning and implementation of the new treatment court structure.

Drug Treatment Courts aim to divert suitable cases of individuals suffering from substance abuse, offering them substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, and ancillary services. The model features rigorous treatment services, intensive judicial monitoring, and coordination among stakeholders, with programming tailored to incorporate best practices.

Referrals to the new court can be made by defense counsel, prosecutors, clinicians, probation officers, and other sources. Potential participants will undergo assessments to determine eligibility for substance abuse treatment, healthcare, housing, and other services and benefits.

Participants who successfully complete the treatment and meet other court requirements may have their charges reduced or dismissed. This innovative approach is designed to support rehabilitation and reduce recidivism.

Judge Amy Puerto presides over the new Rockland County Treatment Court, overseeing its operations and ensuring that it meets its goals of providing justice and support to those in need.

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