COURT OPERATIONS DUE TO COVID-19
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Location & Hours
Tompkins County Court
320 North Tioga Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Treatment Court Judge
Honorable Joseph R. Cassidy
All visitors must pass through a magnetometer upon entering the courthouse.
Mon.- Fri. 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m.
History of Tompkins County Felony Drug Treatment Court (FDTC)
Planning for the Felony Drug Treatment Court in Tompkins County began under the initiative of Judge Sherman, Judge Rowley and the Tompkins County probation department. The court began accepting cases in June of 2000 with the objective to provide services to felony defendants that were facing definite incarceration as a result of their alcohol/drug use and the serious criminal charges associated with this use. The program initially relied heavily on the model and staff of the Ithaca City Drug Court program but has since evolved under the leadership of Judge Sherman into a separate program devised to meet the legal requirements of serving the felony population of our county. FDTC strives to provide treatment and monitoring for the participant while also providing safety to the community.
Because of the seriousness of felony charges, each potential participant must be screened by the Court, the Probation Department, and the District Attorney's office prior to admission into the program. During the screening process a defendant may receive a release under supervision of a drug court probation officer or be placed on interim probation supervision that may include a period of electronic monitoring. If accepted into the program by the FDTC team, the defendant will then enter a guilty plea and be sentenced. This will occur after consultation with a defense attorney where they will receive a detailed explanation of the program requirements. All defendants are sentenced to a 5 year term of probation and must agree to comply with all of the mandates of the FDTC program.
As a condition of probation, the defendant must successfully complete the following three phases, each lasting a minimum of four months. The length of the program is variable depending on the progress of the participant. Movement through the phases occurs at the discretion of the court.
Phase I - Once participants have joined the program, they continue under the supervision of their probation officer. Reporting is three times per week and monitored drug/alcohol screens are conducted up to three times per week. During this phase, participants appear weekly in Drug Court for review before the Drug Court Judge. Additional requirements of this phase include 90 days of continued abstinence, alcohol and drug treatment, verified attendance at sober support activities, completion of an educational/employment assessment, and completion of a physical and dental exam. Participants are also subject to a 10:00 p.m. curfew. The purpose of this phase is to evaluate needs, and engage the participant in treatment/sober support activities.
Phase II - After all requirements of Phase I have been met, the participant progresses to Phase II. Meetings with probation officers are one to two times per week, drug screenings continue, and reporting in Drug Treatment Court occurs on a bimonthly basis. Throughout Phase II, participants continue group and individual counseling as recommended by their treatment provider and must obtain 90 days of continued abstinence. Mandatory attendance at sober support activities continues with verification required. Finally, participants are expected to be in an educational class or a job skill training if they are not currently employed.
Phase III - During the final phase of the program probation supervision occurs once per week and random, unannounced home visits continue. Appearances in Court occur every three weeks, and treatment continues as recommended. Drug screens are twice per week, 90 days of continued abstinence, and attendance at sober support activities continue to be required.
Participants who successfully complete Phase III, remain drug and alcohol free for at least 12 months, complete a community service project, and are currently engaged in a course of study or who have obtained meaningful employment, are eligible for graduation.
The FDTC provides rigorous monitoring. Participants who have been sentenced to drug court are supervised by the Probation Officers assigned to the Drug Court Program.
Supervision entails the following:
- Provision of intensive supervision of all FDTC participants including but not limited to meeting with participants a minimum of once a week to a maximum of five times a week;
- Administration of urine testing to each defendant up to three times a week or as needed,
- Monitoring of the participant's compliance with conditions of probation or contract agreements;
- Maintenance of close contact and communication with treatment counselors;
- Maintenance of close contact with family members and other collateral contacts in the defendant's life;
- Making home visits to all defendant's who are under the supervision of the Probation Officer;
- Referrals of defendants to other services in the community as needed;
- Preparation of progress reports for the court regarding compliance with treatment and program guidelines;
Drug Court probation officers may request Court reviews during the week if a participant has failed to appear or other serious problems have occurred. Electronic monitoring, the Day Reporting program, or Jail are available sanctions if deemed necessary by the court.
Program Discharge and Aftercare
An individual may choose at any time to be discharged from the program or the FDTC may be forced to discharge a participant for continued failure to comply with program requirements. This individual will then receive a sentence of incarceration at the discretion of the drug court judge.
Participants who have successfully completed the Drug Court program are invited to attend a formal graduation ceremony. Generally, participants have concluded their treatment prior to graduation, have 12 months of continuous abstinence, have completed a Restorative Justice Project, and are enrolled in school or employed full-time.
C. Alumni Services
Participants who have graduated are invited to return to Drug Court in order to receive continued support and an opportunity for service work with the Drug Court System. They provide mentoring for new participants and assist in the orientation process.