Spokane County Behavioral Health
Adult Felony Therapeutic Drug Court
The mission of the Spokane County Behavioral Health Adult Felony Therapeutic Drug Court (TDC) is to direct certain drug dependent participants from confinement into a highly structured and cost-effective pretrial release program that combines treatment, education, and intensive supervision to reduce drug use and associated criminal activity.
The Spokane County TDC program was created in 1996 to give drug-addicted participants the opportunity to enter recovery and address their addiction, while preventing a felony on their record. If a person decides to enter the TDC program, it will mean a chance to regain their life, mend their relationships, and become a positive member of the community. Instead of jail or prison, participants will enter a court-supervised, structured treatment based program designed to help them become abstinent and make healthier choices. See the flow chart that describes the Drug Court Personal Recovery Program. This unique opportunity is based on treating the whole person since addiction affects major life areas.
We work as a team, so participants are not alone in their recovery. There will be occasions where other participants struggling with their addictions interact to provide encouragement and strength. The treatment team leverages the skills of many professionals to help guide and support a participant's recovery efforts. Please review the Participant Handbook for a more detailed look at the program description and to answer any questions.
The Spokane County TDC has graduated over 500 participants since its inception. The presentation to Community Groups provides a general overview of the program. The 2012 Summary provides a brief summary of our accomplishments in 2012. The 2012 powerpoint presentation provides more detailed information about our 2012 accomplishments.
Reduce reliance on incarceration for non-violent drug dependent participants
Reduce substance abuse and related criminal activity
Reduce the impact of drug–related offenses on criminal justice resources
Return Drug Court graduates to society as drug-free contributing members
Hold drug dependent participants accountable for their actions through frequent random drug testing and other court requirements
Integrate substance abuse treatment with criminal justice case processing
Provide co-occurring disorders treatment and support services, as needed
Enhance community safety while protecting due process rights through non-adversarial court proceedings
Provide access for participants to resources and community supports to enable them to acquire skills necessary for sobriety
Promote partnerships between Drug Court and community-based organizations
The Behavioral Health Adult Felony Therapeutic Drug Court Team
The team is comprised of the judge, prosecutor, public defender, case manager representing treatment, a community corrections officer representing the department of corrections, and the therapeutic courts coordinator. While the decision-making authority resides with the judge, the team works in a cooperative and non-adversarial manner with the common goal of helping participants to break the cycle of drug abuse and criminal behavior. Based on available information and the discussion, the judge determines actions, including sanctions and incentives.
Honorable Ellen Kalama Clark, courtroom 400
The Judge is the centerpiece, providing the balance between accountability and successful treatment through periodic judicial status hearings. These hearings provide the setting and authority to administer timely sanctions and rewards with consistency and certainty. This result is accomplished through strong teamwork in weekly pre-hearing reviews with the entire team.
Mark Laiminger, Esq.
The Prosecutor is the gatekeeper, screening all new referrals to determine an individual’s eligibility based on defined criteria, balancing community safety needs with potential therapeutic outcomes.
Rik Wallis, Esq.
The Public Defender initially advises all prospective clients of their constitutional rights and legal options with potential sentencing outcomes, then serves as the client's legal adviser while in the program.
North East Washington Treatment Alternatives (NEWTA)
The Case Manager presents the individual treatment reports at the weekly team meeting and provides clinical recommendations.
Community Corrections Officer (CCO)
The CCO is the “eyes and ears” of the Judge in the community, responsible for community safety through monitoring housing arrangements, employment, and other field-supervision activities.
The Therapeutic Courts Coordinator is responsible for oversight of the financial resources, policies and procedures, and education/training.
Daily communication among team members occurs with regard to participant status and procedural decisions.
Meeting weekly one hour prior to the court reviews, the team staffs every client that is scheduled to appear before the court and every potential client that is being considered to enter the program. Each team member is afforded an opportunity to provide input relevant to each client. This process is conducted in an orderly and efficient manner due to the volume of clients reviewed. Some clients require a longer period to staff due to unusual life issues, legal circumstances, or noncompliance. Clients in compliance—functioning well and on course—may only need a cursory examination.
The team’s input is valuable—even if there is disagreement among members—so that the Judge is provided comprehensive information. Because the ultimate decision resides with the Judge, it is important the Judge’s decisions exercise leadership based on fact and historical information, while relying on judicial experience, expertise, and training.
For more Information:
If you have current felony charges pending and want to learn more about your eligibility, please contact the Public Defender, Rik Wallis at (509) 477-4842.
If you have other questions or would like ot learn more about how to support our success, please contact the Coordinator, Sandra Altshuler at (509) 477-6355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.