By: Simon A. Stone, JD, Addiction
Senior Vice President, Safety Officer and Court Liason'
Over the past 15 years I have watched a miraculous change in the climate of the Court system with regards to the sentencing of non-violent, low-risk, non-sex offense, defendants. When our services were first introduced it was generally seen as a very “out of the box” option. Of course, there were various “Court Programs” run by very capable professionals on the County level, however, the availability of an affordable alternative for long-term education, treatment, housing, and re-entry was still a point of heated discussion in chambers and generally opposed by the District Attorney’s Office. There were laws that specifically carved out power to the Court to mandate alternative sentencing provided the treatment center met the strict criteria set forth by the County Probation Department and also maintained State Licensure and Certification.
This opportunity, at first, was of great interest to the Court, however, it opened up some risk to the sentencing Judge if the defendant relapsed and had new legal entanglements. This was in large part solved by providing a qualifying defendant a “DEJ disposition” (Deferred Entry of Judgment). In a sense this provided the opportunity for the defendant to attend a probation-approved treatment program and earn credits against any jail time that could be imposed by the Court. (These credits were “day for day” credits and did not provide “good time/work time” credits, so the defendant that agreed to abide by the DEJ offer would serve a specific non pro-rated period in treatment with the benefit of not sitting in a jail cell.) The Court has used this sentencing structure with Cornerstone of Southern California for over 15 years and has seen many successes!
If you or a loved one has legal issues and you have retained representation directly or indirectly related to substance abuse – It is most advantageous to find help in a Probation-Approved Residential Treatment Facility at the earliest possible opportunity. This will invaluably assist your counsel in the mitigation of potential jail time through the cost-effective, defendant paid, life-saving option of Chemical Dependency Treatment in a Probation-Approved Residential Treatment Facility such as we provide here at Cornerstone of Southern California.
There are no absolute guarantees to stay out of jail, however, a defendant putting forth the effort to save their own life, regain control, stay abstinent, in a structured treatment program where responsibility and accountability are required will greatly reduce recidivism and show a good faith desire for change.
SIMON A. STONE, JD, Senior VP, Safety Officer & Court Liason
Cornerstone of Southern California