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Special Programs

Special programs and activities are designed to improve the quality and advance the consistent, independent, impartial, and accessible administration of justice in Santa Barbara.

Please click on any of the topics and links for more information about Special Programs and other court services.

  • CADRe (Court Administered Dispute Resolution)
  • CMADRESS (Case Management ADR Early Settlement Session)

Substance Abuse Treatment Court

The federal and California state governments are jointly promoting the expansion of "drug treatment courts". Drug courts combine the close supervision of the judicial process with resources available through alcohol and drug treatment services. The goal is to reduce recidivism by maintaining drug offenders in a highly structured treatment setting until they establish a firm foundation for a clean and sober lifestyle.

Santa Barbara created the pre-conviction Substance Abuse Treatment Court (SATC) in March 1995. This program allows serious drug offenders to engage in 18 months of supervised treatment under a single treatment provider to earn a dismissal of the charge. The post-conviction Clean and Sober Calendar has been in operation since November 1994. This program allows convicted probationers to engage in 12 months of supervised treatment offered by a number of community based treatment providers as an alternative to jail time.

Eligibility and Evaluation:

Drug court programs are for non-violent offenders with felony or misdemeanor charges who demonstrate patterns of drug addiction or alcoholism. They are identified early in the court process by very experienced probation officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges as potential program participants. Defendants charged with drug possession, use of controlled substances, or with other non-violent offenses, such as theft, are considered for drug court programs if comprehensive assessment determines that serious substance abuse is a root cause of their criminal behavior.

Under the Clean and Sober program, the offender pleads guilty and engages in court monitored treatment as a term and condition of probation. In the SATC program, the defendant waives the right to have a jury trial before entering treatment. The offender agrees that failure in the treatment program will result in a trial where the judge only has to read the police report to determine whether or not the defendant is guilty. A treatment plan is developed for each participant which involves individual and group counseling, frequent drug testing, acupuncture to reduce cravings, regular AA or NA meetings and weekly court appearances.

To graduate, a defendant must complete the entire course of treatment and must have had no dirty tests or program violations for at least 6 months. Any failure in programming or dirty test is dealt with by use of graduated sanctions, from increased intensity of programming to incarceration. The Sheriff's Department has created the in-jail Sheriff's Treatment Program, where a problem participant might be sent for 30, 60 or 90 days of inpatient treatment.

One way to ensure continued community involvement is for the courts to consider initiating, maintaining, or enhancing court community outreach programs. There are many types of outreach programs that can help inform and involve the public.

Community Outreach Programs in California:

  • Community Outreach
    The California Courts and the Judicial Council recognize the importance of listening to the public. Efforts to improve the courts are ongoing, and engaging with court leaders and surveying the general public are top priorities.  See below for more information on recent projects and how the Courts are helping and listening to you.
  • Courthouse tours:
    Free docent tours are conducted at 2pm daily except on Sunday. Additional tours are conducted at 10:30am on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Please contact the docents at (805) 962-6464 for further information.

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