HCRS to expand treatment focused DUI program

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Health Care and Rehabilitation Services, southeastern Vermont’s community mental-health agency, is pleased to announce that the successful Windsor County DUI Treatment Docket court program has expanded to become the Southeast Regional DUI Treatment Docket by virtue of the program’s capacity to now serve Orange and Windham Counties. A five-year, $1.9 million grant received by the Vermont Judiciary from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration now supports not only an expanded service region but also expanded eligibility criteria for referral to this program along with expanded access to evidence-based services.

HCRS has been providing services for the Windsor County DUI Treatment Court since 2015. To date, 80 percent of participants in the program have successfully graduated with a low recidivism rate of just 20 percent. The national recidivism rate for DUI offenders is 25 percent. The program has been serving approximately nine individuals annually; this number is predicted to reach 40 individuals per year as a result of this funding.

According to HCRS CEO, George Karabakakis,“We have a team of dedicated professionals who are committed to ensuring the success of these program participants. We are pleased to be able to expand the region and eligibility requirements in order to reach more individuals struggling with substance use issues.”

Individuals who may be eligible to participate in this DUI court program based on their DUI offense can be jointly referred to the DUI Treatment Court program by defense and state attorneys. HCRS’ program coordinator then assesses the individual’s clinical appropriateness for participation in this 17-month intensive treatment and accountability program. Offenders receive clinical case management from HCRS staff on a regular basis to address presenting treatment, medical, transportation, and community support needs. Offenders also work with probation and parole on a regular basis and go before the judge twice every month throughout the first three phases of the program and once a month for the remaining two phases. The end goal is to help participants make deep and long-lasting lifestyle changes that support full sobriety and lead to safer roads.

The Southeast Regional DUI Treatment Docket program also assists offenders with accessing treatment services from other community organizations within their community. Clara Martin Center is the designated agency serving Orange County. In addition, HCRS will increase its collaborations with the Brattleboro Retreat as part of the expansion of this program into Windham County.

Renee Davis, Substance Abuse and Criminal Justice programs director for the Clara Martin Center identifies that the DUI Court Docket Treatment Expansion Project presents, “A very exciting opportunity for residents of Orange County to be able to participate in a successful court program. Clara Martin appreciates the good collaborations it has with HCRS in support of DUI Docket program participants, and we look forward to helping those in our catchment area who may need our assistance as they participate in this treatment expansion project.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity to expand needed treatment services into Windham County,” said Kurt White, senior director of Ambulatory Services at the Brattleboro Retreat. “Ultimately it will help reduce recidivism rates among people with drug and alcohol related driving offenses. The Retreat looks forward to partnering with HCRS in any way possible that will help ensure the success of people who will be served through this program.”

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