John P. Cohalan, Jr., Courthouse
400 Carleton Avenue
Central Islip, NY 11722
General Info: 631-208-5775
Suffolk County District Court Judge
Acting County Court Judge
Hon. Jennifer A. Henry
Edward Gialella - 631-208-5776
Meaghan Wright - 631-208-5970
Selin Yigitsoy - 631-208-5972
Department of Mental Hygiene
Gina Ciccone - 631-208-5978
James O'Neal - 631-853-8007
Chris Malchiodi - 631-853-5706
Karla Sabillon - 631-853-8006
Drug Treatment Court is a specialized part of the Suffolk County District and County Criminal Courts. It is a court-supervised, alternative to incarceration program for those who have drug and/or alcohol addiction, and are arrested in Suffolk County on Misdemeanor or Felony charges. Drug Treatment Court combines the resources of the court, law enforcement, substance abuse and mental health service providers to bring effective intervention to individuals caught in the cycle of substance abuse and crime. The defendants are required by the Drug Treatment Court to make regular court appearances before the Judge.
Eligibility for the Drug Treatment Court
The District Attorney’s Office evaluates each defendant and their prior criminal history. It is they who decide whether or not the defendant may enter the program. They can accept any substance abuser arrested in Suffolk County who is charged with any non-violent offense, either misdemeanor or felony. The defendant must reside in Suffolk County and have had no criminal history involving violence. Defendants are ineligible if they are charged with a felony-level drug sale or any violent offense.
If the treatment team determines that the defendant has a substance abuse problem and is clinically eligible for treatment, a recommendation will be made to the judge. If a defendant wishes to participate, they must plead guilty to a crime and the judge will defer sentencing until treatment is completed. The defendant must appear for all schedule Court dates, follow the treatment plan developed by the treatment team, and live a law abiding life.
The clinical staff of the Division of Community Mental Hygiene will provide the defendant with a referral to an appropriate treatment program. No defendant will be denied treatment due to an inability to pay.
Participating in the Drug Treatment Court
The defendant will agree to stay in Drug Court for at least one year on a Misdemeanor or 18 months if pleading to a Felony. The participant agrees to abide by the Rules of the Court and those specifically designated for his/her program, as per their contract signed at the time of plea. During their time in the program, defendants will be assigned to an officer with the Department of Probation and be subject to the terms of Probation outlined in their contract. If the defendant successfully completes treatment, the charges will be reduced or dismissed depending on the agreement between the District Attorney, the Judge, and the participant. The defendant will be aware of this disposition prior to entering the Drug Court Program.
The court will use a system of graduated sanctions and rewards to induce compliance if the defendant is doing well in treatment, his progress will be recognized by the judge. If the defendant is not complying, the judge will impose sanctions. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to a modified treatment plan or jail.
If the defendant fails to complete the program by his/her own wishes, or is asked to leave the program for non-compliance, then the court will impose the jail sentence that was agreed upon in the Drug court Contract.
Key Staff and Referral Process
Program staff includes the Presiding Judge, Project Director, clinical staff from the Department of Community Mental Hygiene, Department of Probation, and case managers.
Generally, defendants are referred to Drug Court by their attorney and/or the Judge Presiding over their case. Once a defendant is referred, he or she is scheduled for an assessment to determined their clinical eligibility for the program. If they are found eligible, the defendant is given the option to enter. Defendants who choose not to participate continue through the normal criminal justice process. Those who are eligible and decide to participate plead guilty to the charges and become program participants.