In July 2014, the Sheboygan County Criminal Justice Advisory Committee, in response to the rise in opiate abuse and overdose deaths across the nation and in Sheboygan County, formed a committee to explore the creation of a Treatment Court within Sheboygan County, building on the success of the Veterans Court already in place in the county. Our goal is to help offenders break the cycle of addiction, rebuild their lives and avoid continued criminal conduct; creating a safer and healthier community for all.
This group has worked tirelessly since to establish the framework for an evidence-based treatment court program.
Why a Treatment Court? Today, 2,966 treatment courts are in operation in all 50 states, successfully treating close to 150,000 substance-addicted individuals each year. Treatment Courts are the most effective criminal justice intervention for breaking the cycle between substance abuse and criminal behavior. National research shows that substance abusing/addicted criminal offenders need regular supervision by a Judge or they drop out of treatment too early. A staggering 70% drop out before they have had a chance to benefit from treatment. Treatment courts are six times more likely to keep offenders in treatment long enough for them to get better.
The Treatment Court is a multi-disciplinary collaborative effort between the Courts, District Attorney’s Office, The Public Defender’s Office, Health and Human Services, the Department of Corrections and the Police and Sheriff’s Department. In preparation the team has done research on best practices, attended training offered by the Wisconsin Association of Treatment Court Professionals, identified resources, developed procedures and programming and will be receiving further training from the staff of the National Drug Court Institute.
The Sheboygan County Treatment Court will begin accepting referrals in July of 2016. The Treatment Court is a five-phase, 18-24-month program that surrounds participants with supervision, treatment, and support. Research shows that this model is nearly 45% more effective in reducing crime when compared to traditional sentencing methods.
Additionally, we are eager to build community partnerships for participants. We will be looking for employment, housing, transportation, and community service opportunities for our participants, along with self-help meeting support and other assistance as needed.
For specifics on the Treatment Court Program, see the article posted in the Sheboygan Press.