I am often asked if I think Syracuse Drug Court is a good idea. My answer is that I think drug court is a great idea for certain clients. Syracuse Community Treatment Court (SCTC) commonly known as Drug Court oversees delivery of comprehensive addiction treatment services under judicial supervision, thereby reducing drug dependency and recidivism in the nonviolent offender and returning him/her to the community as a productive citizen.
The Syracuse Drug Court is supervised by Chief Judge of the Syracuse City Court Hon. James H. Cecile. The judge takes an active interest in all aspects of participants’ lives and supervises their treatment for substance abuse, as well as their receipt of support services. Services include treatment, assistance with education, vocational training, housing, employment and counseling.
Defendants are required to appear regularly before the court for supervision, and emergency hearings for non compliant participants and those in danger of relapse are handled on a case-by-case basis. Treatment and community resource agencies will report to the judge each time before a defendant appears in court. Sanctions for non-compliant behavior can include an increase in court appearances and drug testing, a change in level or modality of treatment, and incarceration.
Drug Court looks to assist the whole person not just through substance abuse treatment but also education, and job training as well.
Eligible defendants must:
- Be charged with a non-violent felony or misdemeanor in the County of Onondaga;
- Be determined by the SCTC to be in need of treatment for a substance abuse/ addiction problems;
- Have no prior convictions for violent felony offenses.
Typically, if a person is successful, misdemeanor charges are dismissed. Successful participants who are facing felony charges will have their charges reduced to the underlying misdemeanor and receive a 1 year conditional discharge.