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1116 W. Broadway Ave
3rd Floor Annex
Spokane, WA 99260
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Spokane County Behavioral Health 
Adult Felony Therapeutic Drug Court

Mission Statement: 
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 550 participants since its inception on January 1, 1996.  This Power Point provides a general overview of the program, including funding sources, outcomes, and goals for the future.    

Program Goals/Outcomes

  • 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.

Judge

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.

          Prosecutor

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.

Public Defender

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.

Case Manager

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)

Bobbi Hewson

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.

Coordinator

Sandra Altshuler

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.

Team Review

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 saltshuler@spokanecounty.org.