Restorative Justice

CO-OCCURING DISORDER COURT (CODC)


 

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The Co-Occurring Disorders Court (CODC) focuses on those charged with non-violent crimes who suffer from both a mental illness and a substance abuse problem and as a result, have frequent contact with the criminal justice system. Established in April 2007 to target the downtown/Skid Row population, the CODC currently serves approximately 60 participants at any given time and is available to adults with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders who are charged with non-violent criminal drug related offenses and who agree to participate in the 12 to 15 month comprehensive, court-supervised co-occurring disorders treatment program, instead of a jail sentence.

The CODC is a specialized drug court that combines intensive judicial supervision with community-based treatment services. Utilizing a multi-agency and multidisciplinary team approach, the CODC aims to reduce recidivism and reintegrate individuals back into their community by providing access to intensive treatment services and case management while minimizing incarceration. Treatment services are provided by a Department of Mental Health (DMH) Full Service Partnership (FSP) provider: SSG Project 180 located in Downtown Los Angeles. Participants and program staff develop service delivery plans that are tailored to meet the particpant’s specific needs and goals based on the information collected in on-going assessments. All particpants begin treatment with a three-month residential stay at the County-owned and operated Antelope Valley Rehabilitation Center in Acton before moving into a DMH FSP. Participants move through the three treatment phases based on motivation and compliance with treatment and court requirements, extended sobriety and demonstrated increases in behavioral and functional stability. Particpants who successfully complete the program and graduate can petition the court for for early termination of probation, dismissal and expungement.

The CODC program has demonstrated many positive outcomes since it began. As compared with their histories before entering the program, participants have experienced a decrease in the number of days spent in jail, a drop in the number of arrests, a decrease in homelessness, an increase in their Global Assessment of Functioning (a standard mental health assessment of stability and overall functioning) and an increase in the percentage of clients employed or in education programs. From project inception through March 2012, over 120 participants have been formally enrolled in the program and 47 have graduated. The CODC’s achievements have been recognized by the Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission in 2010 and the National Association of Counties in 2011.

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