PUBLISHED: 5:23 PM on Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Juneau Therapeutic Court celebrates second graduate
One of the first participants to enroll in Juneau Therapeutic Court has now completed the intensive 18 month program and is the second to officially graduate from the program. The program began in July 2005 and currently has fifteen participants, the majority of them charged with felony driving under the influence.

The Juneau Therapeutic Court is a collaborative effort of the Alaska Court System, the City and Borough of Juneau, Rainforest Recovery Center at Bartlett Hospital, Gastineau Human Services and the Juneau chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency.

It is funded by a grant from the Alaska Highway Safety Office. Judge Keith Levy presides.

The therapeutic court model is based on a process where the offender is mandated to a court-ordered program of long-term substance abuse treatment, intensive case management, close supervision with regular drug and alcohol testing, and frequent appearances before the therapeutic court judge.

This approach combines the coercive power of the court with addiction treatment. Therapeutic courts have a strong record of success in breaking the cycle of repeat addictive crime. Public safety is also increased through the monitoring and accountability that is a part of the therapeutic court program.

The Court is part of a statewide network of therapeutic courts, including courts in Anchorage, Bethel, Fairbanks, Palmer and Ketchikan. The inception of drug courts began in 1989 and there are currently over 1,500 therapeutic courts nationwide, including drug, family care, mental health and DUI courts.

Although the model for all therapeutic courts is essentially the same, the design and structure of each court program is developed at the local level to reflect the unique strengths, circumstances and capacities of the community.

Juneau Therapeutic Court hearings are scheduled every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in Courtroom B of the Dimond Courthouse and are open to the public.

Contact Kendall Merry, Therapeutic Court Coordinator, at 463-4756 for more information.