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Spring 2010 Newsletter

In This Issue 

What's Happening at the CJC?

CJC by the Numbers

Dependency Drug Court Expands Programming

SF Collaborative Courts Launches New Housing Program

Client Profile: Shiela Keller

Motivational Incentives Program


What's Happening at the CJC?

CJCAnniversary.JPGSince opening its doors a year ago, the San Francisco Community Justice Center (CJC) has heard the cases of more than 1,800 defendants.  The CJC Service Center, located upstairs from the courtroom, helped 800 clients access drug and mental health treatment, primary care, employment, education support, and housing services.  Staff assessments have found that 64 percent of CJC clients have serious substance abuse problems, and nearly half are at risk for homelessness, financial troubles, and mental health issues.

One of the key elements of the CJC is working to build strong community partnerships.  Recently, Tomiquia Moss, the CJC's Coordinator, has established a partnership with the Community Court Panelists, a program overseen by the SF District Attorney's Office.  The panelists hold monthly meetings on-site to hear cases CJC Judge Loretta M. Giorgi refers to the program, which emphasizes restorative justice principles. The panel includes citizens from the neighborhood who talk to CJC participants about the impact their criminal behavior has on the community.  They then offer the appropriate sanctions, such as community service or fines.

The CJC Service Center also is supporting the Department of Public Health's Offender Services to provide intensive case management, therapy and treatment to the most vulnerable defendants involved in the criminal justice system.  In addition, the CJC has an innovative partnership with Adult Probation that allows probationers who have committed a crime in the CJC district to utilize services while they are monitored by a Probation Officer located at the CJC.


CJC by the Numbers

In its first nine months of operation, the CJC handled 900 misdemeanor citation cases, decreasing the median time between citation and arraignment from 45 days to 4 days. The CJC is the only community justice court in California to hear serious case types, including nonviolent felonies and probation revocation cases.  The felony caseload increased from 17 percent of cases in June to 33 percent of cases in November.  The average appearance rate for CJC clients is 73 percent.


Dependency Drug Court Expands Programming

The San Francisco Superior Court was recently awarded a two-year grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to expand its Dependency Drug Court (DDC) operations.  This grant will allow DDC to serve parents with children in long-term foster care placements, as well as incarcerated parents seeking a second chance to reunify with their children.  The SFSC's family drug court will be the first to serve this population.

DDC is a Court-supervised treatment and parenting program for parents involved in the child welfare system.  DDC promotes healthy, long-term reunification by supporting parents to address their substance abuse issues, navigate the requirements of their child welfare case, and work towards a better future for their families.  Through a team approach, DDC uses frequent Court monitoring, intensive case management, substance abuse treatment, and other services to help parents succeed.

In San Francisco, 38 percent of children in foster care for more than 12 months will have two or more placements.  Through this enhancement, the Superior Court seeks to decrease the number of children in unstable foster care placements and increase the rate of family reunification.  DDC will continue its mission to engage parents in acquiring the necessary skills for lifelong sobriety and family stability by providing coordinated recovery services, intensive case management, and frequent Court monitoring.

Dependency Drug Court is a collaborative project of the Superior Court, Human Services Agency, Department of Public Health, City Attorney's Office, panel of dependency attorneys, and community-based service providers.  The Homeless Prenatal Program is the DDC's lead community partner, offering intensive case management and wraparound services to parents, children, and families.


SF Collaborative Courts Launches New Housing Program

For homeless individuals facing criminal charges, housing is an essential element for addressing the underlying factors associated with their arrest.  SF Collaborative Courts has broken ground on the Moving Towards Permanency Housing Program (MPHP).  The program's primary objective is to provide a safe, stable living situation for high-need homeless and marginally housed Court clients with the goal of increasing treatment compliance, increasing compliance with Court-ordered conditions of program participation, and facilitating a successful exit from the criminal justice system.

San Francisco's Drug Court has experienced much success with this model.  The Superior Court received a 2007 Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) grant which provided transitional housing and enhanced intensive outpatient services to homeless Drug Court participants.  During its first year of implementation, between January and December 2008, the transitional housing program served a total of 95 clients, 40 percent more than originally anticipated.  Preliminary analysis suggests that the program significantly improved Drug Court retention: On average, transitional housing program residents stayed in the Drug Court program 57 days longer than a statistically matched comparison group of Drug Court clients who did not participate in the housing program.  This represents a 47 percent increase in treatment days and a large and statistically significant improvement in Drug Court engagement.

As a result of this success, the Court has received a 2009 BJA grant for $190,000 specifically for Drug Court clients and a Federal Stimulus (Recovery) funds for $225,000 divided among other collaborative justice programs: Drug Court, Behavioral Health Court, Offender Treatment Program (previously Proposition 36 Court) and the Community Justice Center.  These funds will support 25 dedicated housing units for Collaborative Court clients.


Client Profile: Shiela Keller

Sheila Keller.JPGFor the past decade, Shiela Keller had been in and out of treatment programs.  After completing a 6-month treatment program outside of San Francisco, she was accepted into SafeHouse, a women's program that provides intensive social support, therapeutic treatment, linkages to medical and mental health services and housing.  This was the defining moment in helping Shiela move forward in her life.   

Due to a possession charge several years ago, Shiela was on probation and was assigned to the CJC Probation Officer Gwendolyn Bates.  Shiela was overwhelmed by the support and "understanding of the people at the CJC."

Through SafeHouse, Keller was able to attain a 3-month internship position at the CJC.  She was excited and utterly fascinated to have the opportunity to be "on the other side" of the courtroom and to be helping those in need.  With the assistance from CJC staff Jamie Larson and others, she currently works as the front desk receptionist through the city's Jobs Now program.   

In the coming months Keller plans to complete Clean Slate, a program of the Public Defenders office (see http://sfpublicdefender.org) that helps participants clear their criminal records.  Keller wants to pursue her ultimate goal of getting her nursing license re-instated.

"The CJC has helped me in so many ways.  They've supported me through my treatment and probation, and as I move toward reuniting with my children and finding permanent housing."


Motivational Incentives Program

SF Collaborative Courts ramped up the Motivational Incentives Program to help participants in their recovery and to integrate back into the community.  Through a grant from the Adobe Foundation, the Court offers small rewards such as gift cards and theatre tickets as well as more substantial opportunities that recognize participant achievement and the attainment of incremental goals.  As a client moves toward greater self sufficiency, the incentives program offers support for longer-term goals like vocational training, completing school or attaining stable housing.  The program has provided funding for the purchase of school books, interview and work clothing, assisted with move-in costs or much needed dental work for a large number of successful participants.  

The program received generous support from the following organizations and local businesses.

 Walgreens Co.

 Landmark Theatres

 Oakland Athletics

 Rainbow Grocery Coop

 Magic Theatre

 Goody

 Sports Basement

Guayaki Yerba Mate Tea

 Magic Theatre

 Oakland Raiders

 Macy's

 Safeway

American Conservatory Theatre

Costco

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco




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San Francisco Superior Court
400 McAllister Street, Rm. 205
San Francisco, California 94102
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