“Our office is committed to supporting this innovative collaborative, where certain non-violent drug addicted offenders are given the opportunity to accept responsibility for their illegal conduct. Participants work with trained treatment providers and other professionals to conquer their addiction and reclaim their lives from the effects of drugs and poor choices.” – District Attorney Jeff Reisig
Addiction Intervention Court (AIC) is a specialty court program that serves up to 20 individuals at a time who struggle with substance use disorders and are involved in the criminal justice system as a result of their addiction. The program is a collaborative effort between the Yolo County Superior Court, Yolo County Public Defender, the District Attorney’s Office, the Probation Department, and the Health and Human Services Agency. The program provides intensive support services and supervision aimed at increasing a participant’s overall quality of life while reducing recidivism.
In early 2017, the partners on this project began revising and reviewing the previous Felony Drug Court program that had existed in Yolo County for decades. AIC is the result of that reform; shifting the focus from a reactionary Felony Drug Court that was used as a last-ditch effort before sending an individual to state prison, to a proactive program designed to address addiction issues long before an individual gets to that point.
AIC utilizes a similar model to the successful Yolo County Mental Health Court program. Participants progress through four phases: 1. Engagement, 2. Transition, 3. Sustainability, and 4. Maintenance. Progression through the four phases includes increasing days of sobriety, drug and alcohol testing, participation in a 12-step treatment program or an equivalent program, obtaining employment and permanent housing, and decreasing the number of arrests. Program graduates are required to remain arrest-free for a minimum of 9 months, maintain a minimum of 180 continuous days of sobriety, and establish an exit plan with the program’s Clinician and Probation Officer.
The program is completely voluntary; AIC offers individuals who want to seek treatment for addiction issues a support system to help accomplish that goal. AIC uses a rewards-based system to encourage progression through the four phases, which may include, but are not limited to, gift cards, reduced reporting to the Probation Officer and AIC, reduction of fines and fees, letters of recommendation for employment and employment, and potentially the dismissal of charges upon successful completion of AIC and probation (at the discretion of the AIC team).
Crystal was arrested in Yolo County for vehicle theft. When the DA’s charging deputy reviewed the case it was clear that she had a significant heroin addiction. The prosecutor referred her for an AIC assessment and she was accepted into the program where she is flourishing thanks to the help of the AIC team. Crystal’s mom sent a note expressing her gratitude for the program:
“Crystal came home for the weekend. I have my daughter back!! Thank you!!! If she had been in the county where we live? Go to jail…DO NOT collect $200.00. I’ve never seen a court system or community resource assistance program like yours ever! I am grateful to you, her probation officer, public defender, the DA and the Courts! Please express my gratitude for me! This was very heart wrenching and traumatic for me.”