The therapeutic court is the direct result of a $199,000 grant from the state Administrative Office of the Courts, intended to increase the number of therapeutic courts in Washington state, especially at the municipal and district court levels.
Therapeutic courts are a proven way to holistically address and coordinate treatment for individuals in the legal system with behavioral health or substance use disorders.
The primary goal of the therapeutic court is for participants to go on to lead happy and healthy lives. Participants learn methods to manage mental health or substance use disorders, or combinations of both. Essential life skills are also taught, which can include managing family or social challenges, finding stable housing, and employment or educational needs.
Therapeutic Court Eligibility
To be eligible for therapeutic court, participants must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a substance use disorder and/or behavioral health needs
- Be charged with an eligible misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor
- Be able to receive services in Mason County
If approved, participants sign a contract agreeing to a list of rules and responsibilities, such as telling the truth, remaining drug and alcohol-free, attending all court sessions as ordered, and complying with drug testing. If therapeutic court is completed, the case charges are dismissed.
Participants meet weekly with a team consisting of a judge, court facilitator, prosecutors, defense attorneys, a probation officer, treatment providers, educational providers, and community providers.
Participants remain in the treatment court program for a minimum of 9 or 12 months, and must generally complete program requirements within 18 months.
Court is currently held in five languages - English, Spanish, Mam, Q’anjob’al, and Aka Teko. Interpreters are available at each court meeting.