Adult Felony Drug Court
Adult Felony Drug Court is a partnership between the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court, the State Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, Alachua County Department of Court Services, Defense attorneys, Clerk’s Office, and treatment providers. Adult Felony Drug Court is available to eligible defendants who have been arrested and charged with substance abuse related offenses. It is available to eligible participants as a Pre-Trial Diversion program or Post-Plea program.
Adult Felony Drug Court provides the following services: group and individual therapy, support groups, random drug testing, and case management. The philosophy of this program is that providing rehabilitation for individuals with substance abuse problems will reduce recidivism. It provides an alternative to incarceration and is based on a therapeutic rather than punitive model.
The average length of Adult Felony Drug Court is between 14 -16 months. Successful completion for participants accepted into the Pre-Trial Diversion program will result in the participant’s charges being dismissed by the State Attorney’s Office or it will be resolved per agreement for participants accepted into the Post-Plea program.
Mental Health Court
Mental Health Court is a partnership between the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court, the State Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, Alachua County Department of Court Services, Defense attorneys, Clerk’s Office, and treatment providers that work with defendants arrested for qualifying misdemeanors, certain criminal traffic offenses, and approved third-degree felonies who are mentally ill or developmentally disabled. The primary goal of Mental Health Court is to provide defendants access to the least restrictive treatment, training, and support services necessary to reduce recidivism and ensure public safety. The program is designed to divert the mentally ill and developmentally disabled defendants from jail and to expedite legal case processing through the criminal justice system.
Defendants are referred to Mental Health Court by Judges, the State Attorney’s Office, defense attorneys, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, mental health providers, and the Forensic Program Director at the Alachua County Jail. Defendants accepted into the program must have been diagnosed with a major mental health illness or a developmental disability.
Mental Health Court is a Pre-Trial Diversion program and participants determined to be eligible for this program are not declared mentally incompetent to proceed. Participation in Mental Health Court Program is voluntary. The average length of Mental Health Court is between 9 -12 months. Upon successful completion of Mental Health Court, the charges will be dismissed, and the criminal case closed.
Felony Forensic (916) Court
Felony Forensic Court is a partnership between the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court, the State Attorney’s, the Public Defender’s Office, Clerk’s Office, Department of Corrections, defense attorneys, and treatment providers to ensure that mentally ill defendants are effectively managed by the criminal justice system. This court works with felony defendants that have been found to be: Incompetent to Proceed (ITP), Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGI), and defendants that are on probation and are required to abide with mental health conditions. This court ensures that their criminal case is resolved as quickly as possible, and schedules ongoing court hearings to review their progress while receiving mental health treatment.
Criminal Justice, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Grant (CJMHSAG)
CJMHSAG is a grant that Meridian Behavioral Healthcare receives from the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). The grant is dedicated for services in Alachua County and part of a statewide program known as the CJMHSAG Reinvestment Grant Program. The purposes of this grant are to help counties plan, implement, or expand initiatives that increase public safety, avert increased spending on criminal and juvenile justice systems, and improve the accessibility and effectiveness of treatment services for adults and juveniles who have a mental illness and/or substance abuse disorder and who are in, or at risk of entering, the criminal justice system. Additional information can be found here.
Veterans Treatment Court
Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) is a partnership between the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Alachua County Department of Court Services, the State Attorney’s Office, The Public Defender’s Office, treatment providers, and other community stakeholders. The Court accepts military veterans and service members arrested for certain non-violent felonies and misdemeanors.
Veterans Treatment Court is available to eligible veterans as a Pre-trial Diversion program or as a Post-Plea program. Both tracks utilize a treatment-based, holistic approach focused on the particular needs of veterans. Participants are linked to appropriate tools and services in the community to provide support as needed after the program has been completed. Mentors form a major component of the program; every participant receives a veteran mentor who acts as a source of information and support during the course of the program. The average length of Veterans Treatment Court is 12-14 months. Additional documents for Veterans Treatment Court can be found on Judge Phillip A. Pena‘s webpage.
You may contact the Veterans Treatment Court Mentor Coordinator, Jim Yakubsin, at (352) 222-8837 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org.