Monday, September 25, 2017
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Twelve participants will celebrate their graduation from the 4th Judicial District’s Recovery Court Adult Criminal Drug Court (ACDC) track on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. This rigorous program combines judicial oversight with individualized treatment and intensive supervision. The 4th Judicial District’s drug court was the second of its kind in Colorado and began in 2001.
“This graduation celebrates the successes of this group of very dedicated Drug Court participants who have reached a milestone not only in their recovery but also in their lives,” said 4th Judicial District Court Magistrate Daphne Burlingame, who will preside over the graduation ceremony.
In light of the felony drug law changes effective July 2013, the program revamped its admissions criteria and program requirements to meet the needs of the high risk/high need offenders it serves. This group of graduates is the first to complete the new program’s requirements of at least 2 years supervised probation, to include successfully completing their substance abuse treatment program, remaining substance free, maintaining employment and applying important life skills. By completing community based treatment, many of them have earned the right to have their felony conviction converted to a misdemeanor.
“To our graduates, I say always know there are people out there who care very much about your success and your future. What this means is that not only do you have the support of your friends, your family, and the Recovery Court Teams, but also you have the support of our entire community,” Magistrate Burlingame said. “Why do we as a community put so much effort into Problem Solving Courts? The answer, simply put, is that Problem Solving Courts work! We are saving lives, and improving communities -- all at a cost far less than what it would take to simply warehouse in jails and prisons those who commit non-violent acts as a result of alcohol and drug addictions.”
The National Institute of Justice’s Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation (MADCE) found that: Drug court participants reported less drug use (56 percent versus 76 percent) and were less likely to test positive for drug use (29 percent versus 46 percent) than the comparison probationers. Participants also had fewer rearrests than the comparison probationers. Additional MADCE research found that drug courts produce an estimated $1.50 in benefits for every dollar in costs. (National Criminal Justice Reference Service, https://www.ncjrs.gov/spotlight/drug_courts/summary.html)
Locally, the success of the ACDC participants has been overwhelming. A statewide search shows that out of 368 graduates of 4th Judicial District’s drug court since 2009, 79% have not received new criminal convictions. Through continued hard work by each of our participants and with the support of our entire community, we will continue to break the cycle of drugs and alcohol dependence. By doing so, we will strengthen families and improve our community.
Nearly 80 problem-solving courts are in operation around 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.