MISSION AND GOALS
The Collaborative Justice System is a collection of collaborative courts that aims to improve treatment outcomes, reduce recidivism, respond to public safety and victims’ rights concerns, and more effectively utilize public resources. Programs include Behavioral Health Court, Reentry Court, Veterans’ Court, PACT Court (Partnership for Accountability, Connection and Treatment), and Family Preservation Court. Courts are designed to improve participants’ lives by increasing their support networks, helping interrupt unhealthy patterns of behavior and assisting to achieve goals. This is accomplished through a collaborative team-based approach. The Court, Probation, Parole, County Behavioral Health, County Substance Use Department, Family and Children Services, District Attorney, and Defense Counsel work together to ensure that participants have the support needed to achieve their goals. Collaborative Courts are designed to achieve the following specific and measurable outcomes:
- Reduce the number of jail bed days
- Reduce the occurrence and/or frequency of new offenses and probation/parole violations
- Reduce psychiatric inpatient bed days
- Reduce days of homelessness
- Increase treatment compliance
- Increase days in pro-social activities
- Achieve a more consistent level of sobriety (if applicable)
- Resolve outstanding legal issues-fines/fees
- Reduce harmful behaviors
- Increase family and public safety
- Increase overall wellbeing
Behavioral Health Court (BHC) is a supportive post-adjudication review court in partnership with Santa Cruz County Behavioral Health Services designed to address the complex needs of participants with severe mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders through an integrated multidisciplinary team (Team). The program operates using the collaborative court principles and proven practices for successful problem-solving courts.
BHC Eligibility Criteria
- Diagnosed with a significant & persistent mental health disorder.
- Experience significant impairment in functioning resulting from a mental health disorder.
- Eligible for county case coordinator through an access assessment completed through the county.
- Amenable to psychiatric treatment and taking medication as prescribed.
- Santa Cruz County Medi-Cal beneficiary.
- Amenable to participate in BHC.
Santa Cruz Bob Lee Community Partnership for Accountability, Connection & Treatment (PACT) Court is a supportive pre-adjudication review court that partners with community services providers to address the complex needs of participants who struggle with homelessness, mental health, and co-occurring substance use disorders using an integrated multidisciplinary team approach. PACT Court supports people on mental health diversion to meet their treatment goals and successfully complete their court terms.
PACT Court Eligibility Criteria
- Living with mental illness and/or substance use conditions-impacting their lives and daily functioning.
- Experiencing high level of need, criminality and risk to recidivate.
- Post plea, non-violent misdemeanors.
- Granted mental health diversion
- Be amenable to participate in PACT-this is a voluntary court.
Reentry Court (RC) is a supportive review court that partners with Goodwill Central Coast to address the complex needs of people on parole suffering from mental illness, substance use disorders or co-occurring disorders using an integrated multidisciplinary team approach. This court is guided by collaborative court principles that keep people connected to health care in the community and out of custody to improve outcomes, reduce recidivism, respond to public safety and victims’ rights concerns, and more effectively utilize public resources.
RC Eligibility Criteria
- Be on an active parole caseload.
- Have a documented history of a substance use and/or mental health disorder.
- Have committed or at-risk of committing a violation of their parole terms.
- Be experiencing high level of need, have a history of criminal justice involvement and be at high risk to recidivate.
- Be amenable to participate in RC.
Veteran Court (VC) is a peer-support based collaborative court program, operating under CA Penal Codes § 1170.9 and § 1001.80, which provide alternative sentencing for veterans with service-related mental health and substance use issues. The goal is to connect justice system-involved veterans and their families with opportunities to improve the quality of life and to access treatment to address health concerns through a collaborative effort among justice system partners, community-based organizations, and local and national veteran’s services. The program operates using the collaborative court principles and proven practices for successful problem-solving courts.
VC Eligibility Criteria
- Served in the U.S. Military, regardless of length of service, combat experience or characterization of discharge.
- Struggle with a diagnosis of PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), substance use or other mental health symptoms directly related to military service.
- Amenable to participate in VC and voluntarily agree to all conditions including treatment for their qualifying conditions.
Family Preservation Court (FPC) is a voluntary court program for families with an open dependency case and for Non-Minor Dependents involved in Child Welfare. FPC is designed to preserve and reunify families by addressing issues that lead to court involvement. We promote accountability through supervision services and treatment to support participants in reunification and long-term permanency (when safe to do so) and to improve public safety. FPC increases access to treatment and services including substance use, mental health, parent-child relationships, traumatic brain injury, and trauma.
FPC Eligibility Criteria
- Have an open dependency case or a Non-Minor Dependent
- Struggles with substance use disorder
- Amenable to participate in FPC voluntarily
Eligible participants should be referred for an assessment by completing the following:
- Have client fill out the appropriate referral packet and sign all Releases of Information (ROI) attached (packet found in court or through social worker).
- If client has any additional mental health records, please include supportive documentation with referral packet.
- Attorneys should request that the Court conduct a Court Clinician Screening. Once referred, the Court Clinician will assess prospective participant and respond to the referral through a confidential document in Odyssey. Please allow up to three weeks for a response .
The Court Clinician is the primary point of entry to the Collaborative Courts. However, the Courts also accept referrals from the Probation Department, the Santa Cruz City Attorney’s Office, County Mental Health, and community treatment providers.