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Ithaca City Court


Ithaca Community Treatment Court (ICTC)

Primary Contact:

DARLENE DESMOND, Resource Coordinator II
E-Mail: ddesmond@courts.state.ny.us
Phone: 607-216-6604 (Tompkins County Court)
Phone: 607-216-6660 (Ithaca City Courthouse)
Fax: 212-952-6461 (Ithaca City Courthouse)

Additional Contacts:

RONNA J. COLLINS , Chief Clerk Ithaca City Court
E-Mail: rjcollin@courts.state.ny.us
Phone. 607-216-6660 (Ithaca City Courthouse)

Mailing Address:

Ithaca Community Treatment Court
Main office at Tompkins County Court
320 North Tioga Street
Ithaca, New York 14850

Introduction

In January of 1998, Ithaca City Court opened a specialized program for alcohol and other drug abusing defendants, the Ithaca Drug Treatment Court. The mission of the Ithaca Drug Court is to establish coordinated mechanisms for identifying defendants at the earliest stages of the judicial process whose crimes are either directly or indirectly related to alcohol and drug addiction; insuring that these defendants receive appropriate substance abuse treatment; and provide education, vocational training, and employment to those who enter and successfully complete the rehabilitation process associated with the Ithaca Drug Treatment Court.

The need for a new approach was obvious. While numerous studies both locally and nationally have found that the majority of criminal defendants have substance abuse problems (1), few are given the opportunity for meaningful help while in the criminal justice system. In Ithaca, defendants were being sent into treatment on a piecemeal basis and without stringent monitoring. Drug Treatment Court represents a new option. The program combines close judicial supervision, probation case management, intensive drug treatment, regular drug testing, and graduated responses to provide a highly structured environment for appropriate defendants. Through the use of judicial authority, defendants are thus both supported and held accountable for their performance in treatment. In addition, in the Ithaca program, participants complete an educational and vocational assessment early on so that long-term educational and employment goals can be established. Participants' family members are also encouraged to participate in the program and are provided services free of charge. As participants progress in treatment, the program emphasis expands to include life skills and job training. Defendants who successfully complete this treatment and rehabilitation program are provided with a reduction of their charges or mitigation of their sentences, including early discharge from probation.

Participants initially appear in Ithaca Drug Court once a week when their progress over the past week is reviewed. Prior to Court, the Drug Court Team consisting of the program coordinator, probation officers, district attorney, defense attorneys, treatment counselors, education and job training counselors, and others from social service agencies, review each case and make recommendations to the Court. When participants appear in Court, their progress is applauded (sometimes, literally applauded), problems addressed, and setbacks reviewed. Program violations are met with responses ranging from stern warnings to community service work to brief periods of incarceration. Participants progress through the 9 to 16 month program by accomplishing the requirements of each of 3 phases.

In January of 2004, the name was changed to the Ithaca Community Treatment Court (ICTC) to reflect community involvement in the drug court.

 
1. A 1991 study completed by William Benjamin concluded that 72% of inmates housed at the Tompkins County Jail were alcohol and/or drug addicted. 

Program Requirements

The goal of the Ithaca Community Treatment Court (ICTC) is to assist you to break the cycle of addiction and criminal activity. This program is staffed by a team from community agencies and is led by the ICTC judge. The ICTC program is one to two years in length, depending on how focused you are. To enter this program, the first thing you will need to complete is the Awaiting Assessment Phase:

AWAITING ASSESSMENT: The focus of this stage will be to evaluate your receptiveness to the program and treatment. This stage begins when you are released under the supervision (RUS) of an Ithaca Treatment Court Probation Officer. To be eligible for the ICTC, here is what you need to do (note that the first 4 requirements are the same for every phase):

* Report to your Probation Officer as directed. 

* Complete and verify 3 Sober Support Activities each week. One must be a group activity

* Submit to random drug screenings and alcohol breath tests by Probation.

* Allow unannounced and scheduled home visits by Probation. 

* Attend your Ithaca Community Court Orientation session. 

* Complete a substance abuse evaluation with Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services (CARS) or the Alcoholism and Drug Council of Tompkins County (ADCTC)

* Attend weekly Ithaca Community Treatment Court sessions.

* Follow a 10 p.m. curfew.

Once your substance abuse evaluation is completed and treatment recommendations are made, you, your attorney, and the ICTC team will decide if program participation is appropriate for you. The ICTC consists of three phases:

PHASE I - Early Recovery: The focus of this phase is to engage you in treatment and support your efforts to stay clean, sober, and healthy. In this phase you will continue to: 

* Report to your Probation Officer as directed. 

* Complete and verify 3 Sober Support Activities each week. One must be a group activity

* Submit to random drug screenings and alcohol breath tests by Probation.

* Allow unannounced and scheduled home visits by Probation. 

and...

* Appear in Ithaca Community Treatment Court weekly.

* Complete a physical exam, with your own doctor or as part of your alcohol/drug treatment evaluation.

* Participate in recommended alcohol/drug treatment.

* Complete an Education, Employment and Literacy assessment as needed.

* Follow a 10 p.m. curfew.

The goal of this early recovery phase is for you to abstain from drug and alcohol use and to begin to develop the skills necessary to maintain this healthy state. To advance to Phase II you need to establish that you have tested clean on all drug tests for 60 days and have met all other Phase I requirements.

PHASE II - Decision Making: The goals of this phase include demonstrating a commitment to living without alcohol and other drugs and getting involved in an educational/employment program. In this phase you will:

* Report to your Probation Officer as directed. 

* Complete and verify 3 Sober Support Activities each week. One must be a group activity

* Submit to random drug screenings and alcohol breath tests by Probation.

* Allow unannounced and scheduled home visits by Probation. 

as well as...

* Report to Ithaca Community Treatment Court every other week.

* Attend group and individual substance abuse counseling sessions.

* Start educational classes or job skill training. (unless you are already employed or in school)

* Complete a mental health screening and attend all recommended follow-up or treatment appointments.

To advance to Phase III, you need to establish that you have tested clean on all drug tests for 90 days and have met all other Phase II requirements.

PHASE III - Community Transition: In this phase you will focus on relapse prevention and maintaining a clean and sober life. Emphasis is on your educational and vocational training. In addition to obtaining and maintaining employment, you will:

* Report to your Probation Officer as directed. 

* Complete and verify 3 Sober Support Activities each week. One must be a group activity

* Submit to random drug screenings and alcohol breath tests by Probation.

* Allow unannounced and scheduled home visits by Probation. 

and... 

* Report to Ithaca Community Treatment Court every 3 weeks.

* Attend group and individual substance abuse counseling as recommended.

* Complete all graduation preparations.

To advance to Graduation, you need to establish that you have tested clean on all drugs for 90 days, for a total of at least Six (6) months of sobriety.

COMMENCEMENT: Before you graduate, with your attorney’s help, you will need to resolve all pending criminal cases and pay all fines, surcharges, and restitution. If you have an outstanding treatment bill, you will need to demonstrate that you have a payment plan in place with your treatment provider. In addition, you will need to have maintained employment or be in an education or training program to graduate. You will fill out a graduation application and attend a graduation review panel.

INCENTIVES/REWARDS

The ICTC rewards honesty. Whatever your set-back is, voluntarily admitting the set-back before you are questioned or tested will lead to a lighter sanction.

Examples of incentives and rewards are:

* no criminal record or reduced charges

* decrease in reporting to court and probation

* praise, gift certificates, books and other small gifts

* increased self-respect & respect of others

* employment and/or educational goals realized

* more money and better relationships

* sobriety and the rewards of a sober way of life

SANCTIONS

Following the ICTC rules will help you move toward graduation. Not following any of these rules will lead to sanctions of increasing severity.

For example, if you:

* create an unexcused absence (from Court, treatment or any required ICTC appointment)

* produce a positive drug test

* provide a fraudulent or altered test sample

* use disruptive or disrespectful behavior

* fail to attend sober support activities

* fail to complete a sanction

* get arrested on a new charge

There may be sanctions:

*You may be assigned an essay to write.

*You may be questioned in court by the judge.

*You may be directed to report more often to ICTC programs and/or court.

*You may be directed to report daily to your probation officer and/or attend Day Reporting.

*You may be assigned to do community service.

*You may be placed on Electronic Monitoring.

*You may be sent to jail for serious or repeated problems.

*You may be terminated from the ICTC and face resentencing.

ALUMNI GROUP

Participants who have graduated are invited to return to Drug Court in order to participate in regularly scheduled alumni meetings. These meetings assist the graduate with receiving continued support and an opportunity for service work with the Drug Court System. They provide mentoring for new participants and assist in addressing the relapse process.