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Court Intervention Teams Target Substance Abuse

Two specialized programs in the Northern District of California are harnessing local resources to help high-risk individuals rebuild their lives. This short video explains how judges, pretrial and probation officers, federal defenders, and other court staff strive to keep some people out of prison and assist others once they’ve served their time.

The Alternatives to Incarceration Program (ATIP) in the U.S. district court in the Bay Area serves as an alternative to prison for those whose crimes were driven by substance abuse and addiction. Defendants receive intensive treatment and counseling services and can avoid incarceration if they achieve and maintain sobriety.

The second program, Reentry Court, combines the efforts of everyone involved in criminal cases – judges, probation officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and community-based counselors – to help people build crime-free lives after leaving prison. They are assisted with all aspects of reentry, such as finding housing and acquiring job skills or education. The reentry team also assists them with substance abuse issues, using some of the same community resources as the ATIP program.

Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said, “Reentry and ATIP give us the opportunity to be part of people’s successes and not just their punishment.”

Related Topics: Defender Services, Probation and Pretrial Services