Adult Collaborative Courts
Drug Treatment Court
Defendants arrested for non-violent drug-related offenses, violations of probation, or certain property crimes have the opportunity to enter Drug Treatment Court. Upon acceptance into Drug Treatment Court, defendants will participate in the program at the Merced County Behavior Health and Recovery Services building. The program has four phases that lasts approximately 6 - 12 months. Drug Treatment Court provides on-site outpatient drug and alcohol treatment; individual and group counseling; family counseling; pro-social activities; mental health services; frequent drug testing; and probation supervision in the community. Defendants appear in Court on regularly, and the Judge reviews their progress. The probation officer monitors their progress throughout the duration of the program and prepares reports for the Judge. In addition, the probation officer attends weekly team meetings comprising of a Deputy District Attorney, Deputy Public Defender, and representatives from Behavior Health and Recovery Services to discuss defendants’ progress. If defendants are not in compliance with the program, they can be subject to a variety of sanctions (ex: GPS monitoring, community service hours, or incarceration). Upon graduation from the program, the charges may be dismissed or probation terminated. If defendants do not successfully complete the program, the ultimate sentencing decision is left to the Drug Treatment Court judge unless a plea was agreed upon before the defendant entered Drug Treatment Court.
Behavioral Health Treatment Court
The BHTC program operates collaboratively with members from the Court, District Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Officer, Probation Department, and Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. The probation officer attends weekly team meetings and court sessions. In addition, the probation officer meets with defendants at the office and in the community. The goal of the BHTC is to provide treatment for defendants with mental health and substance abuse disorders. The purpose of addressing the mental health and substance abuse issues is to reduce the recidivism of mentally ill defendants and to reduce their mental health hospitalizations. The BHTC program will provide coordinated and integrated treatment services to defendants suffering from severe mental health and substance disorders. Upon successful completion, the defendant's formal probation may be terminated.
Veterans’ Treatment Court
Launched in 2017, The Veterans’ Treatment Court was designed to assist veterans who suffer from qualifying disorders due to military service. The veteran receives an alternative sentencing, comprehensive monitored rehabilitative services, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. The Veterans’ Treatment Court is a collaborative program that includes the Probation Department, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Behavior Health and Recovery Services, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The veteran must agree to participate in the Veterans’ Treatment Court, and the duration of the program is between 12 to 24 months. The veteran undergoes a treatment program designed and provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Upon successful completion, the veteran’s case could be reduced, dismissed, or terminated.