What are Colorado Specialty Courts? | CourtRecords.org
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What Are Colorado Specialty Courts?

Colorado problem-solving courts provide a non-traditional approach to integrating treatment provision and criminal justice case processing. These courts work in close alliance with multidisciplinary teams such as members of the judicial treatment communities to offer accountability and treatment and services to offenders in order to reduce substance abuse and recidivism. Other goals of the Colorado Specialty courts include:

  • To minimize jail and prison crowding issues;
  • To reduce crime;
  • To increase the effective management of mental illness among the substance abusing and dependent participants of its programs;
  • To advance the effective integration of resources from the courts, justice system personnel, and community agencies and to expand collaboration among all agencies;
  • To assist participants in achieving long-term sobriety, maintain recovery, improve their lives and their families’ lives, and become useful members of their communities.

There are over 75 problem-solving courts in the 22 judicial districts in Colorado. Programs offered by Colorado problem-solving courts include: 

  • Adult Drug Courts;
  • Juvenile Drug Courts;
  • DUI Courts
  • Adult and Juvenile Mental Health Courts;
  • Family and Dependency/Neglect Courts
  • Veteran’s Treatment Courts

Also referred to as specialty, treatment, collaborative, or accountability courts, problem-solving courts address specific needs and problems of offenders that, for one reason or another, could or were not satisfactorily addressed in traditional courts. Some of such matters include addiction issues, mental illness, and domestic violence. These courts aim to promote outcomes that will benefit all concerned parties; the offender, the victim, and society. Colorado problem-solving courts work toward striking a balance between several points of tension:

  • Victim needs vs. offender rights;
  • Therapeutic vs. retributive goals of justice;
  • The desire to rehabilitate offenders vs. the need to protect members of the public

Colorado problem-solving courts share common traits such as:

  • Evidence-based practices—Specialty courts adopt practices that have been tested in real-life scenarios and proven by broad research to be effective.
  • Focus on outcomes—These courts are designed to provide positive case outcomes for offenders, victims, and society.
  • Collaboration—Specialty court develop partnerships with external parties to achieve set goals
  • Non-traditional roles—Courts and court personnel assume roles or processes not common in traditional courts. For instance, some specialty courts are less adversarial than standard criminal justice processing.
  • Screening and Assessment—Identification of appropriate individuals for special court programs are based on screening and assessment tools.

Colorado specialty courts operate an integrated, team-based structure that holds participants accountable and helps in their recovery, unlike what obtains from the regular supervision and treatment. These problem-solving courts are special court dockets. Participants in a specialty court program participate voluntarily and agree to follow the laid-down rules of the specific programs. To achieve the goals of the specialty court programs:

  • Probation officers or case managers closely supervise participants;
  • Participates are tested for drugs or alcohol randomly and frequently;
  • Participants are subjected to frequent home and probation officer/case manager visits;
  • Participants are engaged in enhanced or intensive drug treatment, and other treatments deemed necessary;
  • Participants are assisted in their compliance with efforts to achieve stability; and
  • Participants must visit the court at least twice a week (However, this may vary depending on the participant’s progress in the court program)

Before a problem-solving court docket, the court team meets to discuss those appearing on the docket. This team generally includes;

  • The judicial officer
  • Probation officer
  • Deputy district attorney or deputy public defender
  • Substance abuse and mental health treatment provider
  • Case manager
  • The court coordinator
  • Any other persons essential to the operation of the court (e.g., Guardian ad Litem, Child Support Enforcement Agency, Department of Human Services, Military Installations.)

During the meeting, and even before, the members exchange information concerning each person on the docket and discuss the participant’s compliance, successes, challenges, and other life circumstances that affect the participant’s progress. The team collaborates to adapt a joint response to the participant’s compliance or non-compliant behavior. In the course of the court session, participants receive incentives or sanctions based on their behaviors and conduct during the past fortnight or month.

A specialty court’s effectiveness is directly connected to the quantity and quality of information shared by the court team, the quality of treatment, the commitment and devotion of the team, the frequent contact with a compassionate yet resolute judicial officer, the random and frequent use of drug and alcohol testing, and the effective use incentives and sanctions. Positive outcomes are also engendered by collaboration between the city and the community in which the program occurs. Such collaborative activities include ancillary services such as housing, employment training and assistance, and financial aid. Specialty court programs may take up to two years or more to complete.

The contact information for the problem-solving courts are listed below:

ADULT DRUG COURTS

District: 1

Location: Golden

County: Jefferson

Coordinator: Tara Reinow

E-mail: tara.reinow@judicial.state.co.us

District: 2

Location: Denver

County: Denver

Coordinator: Jessica Currat

E-mail: jessica.currat@judicial.state.co.us

District: 3

Location: Trinidad

County: Las Animas

Coordinator: Josephine Harriman

E-mail: josephone.harriman@judicial.state.co.us

District: 3

Location: Walsenburg

County: Huerfano

Coordinator: Josephine Harriman

E-mail: josephone.harriman@judicial.state.co.us

District: 4

Location: Colorado Springs

County: El Paso/Teller

Coordinator: Andrea Sivanich

E-mail: andrea.sivanich@judicial.state.co.us

District: 5

Location: Breckenridge

County: Summit

Coordinator: Lisa Morton

E-mail: lisa.morton@judicial.state.co.us

District: 5

Location: Eagle

County: Eagle

Coordinator: Lisa Morton

E-mail: lisa.morton@judicial.state.co.us

District: 6

Location: Durango

County: La Plata

Coordinator: Lisa Roberts

E-mail: lisa.roberts@judicial.state.co.us

District: 7

Location: Delta

County: Delta

Coordinator: Doug Hanshaw

E-mail: doug.hanshaw@judicial.state.co.us

District: 7

Location: Gunnison

County: Gunnison

Coordinator: Doug Hanshaw

E-mail: doug.hanshaw@judicial.state.co.us

District: 7

Location: Montrose

County: Montrose

Coordinator: Doug Hanshaw

E-mail: doug.hanshaw@judicial.state.co.us

District: 7

Location: Telluride

County: San Miguel

Coordinator: Doug Hanshaw

E-mail: doug.hanshaw@judicial.state.co.us

District: 8

Location: Ft. Collins

County: Larimer

Coordinator: Alison Newcomer

E-mail: alison.newcomer@judicial.state.co.us

District: 9

Location: Glenwood Springs

County: Garfield

Coordinator: Valerie MacDonald

E-mail: valerie.macDonald@judicial.state.co.us

District: 11

Location: Salida

County: Chaffee

Coordinator: Jodi Agnes

E-mail: jodi.agnes@judicial.state.co.us

District: 11

Location: Canon City

County: Fremont

Coordinator: Jodi Agnes

E-mail: jodi.agnes@judicial.state.co.us

District: 12

Location: Alamosa

County: Alamosa

Coordinator: Shereen Gonzales

E-mail: shereen.gonzales@judicial.state.co.us

District: 12

Location: Ft. Morgan

County: Morgan

Coordinator: Tamara Alexander

E-mail: tamara.alexander@judicial.state.co.us

District: 13

Location: Sterling

County: Logan

Coordinator: Dawn Gerk

E-mail: dawn.gerk@judicial.state.co.us

District: 14

Location: Craig

County: Moffat

Coordinator: Stephanie Montgomery

E-mail: stephanie.montgomery@judicail.state.co.us

District: 14

Location: Steamboat

County: Rout

Coordinator: Stephanie Montgomery

E-mail: stephanie.montgomery@judicial.state.co.us

District: 16

Location: La Junta

County: Otero

Coordinator: Desiree Hermocillo

E-mail: desiree.hermocillo@judicial.state.co.us

District: 17

Location: Brighton

County: Adams

Coordinator: Tasha Buettenback

E-mail: tasha.buettenback@judicial.state.co.us

District: 17

Location: Brighton

County: Adams

Coordinator: Jesse Cain

E-mail: jesse.cain@judicial.state.co.us

District: 18

Location: Centennial

County: Arapahoe/Douglas/Lincoln/Elbert

Coordinator: Mike Hernandez

E-mail: michael.hernandez@judicial.state.co.us

District: 19

Location: Greeley

County: Weld

Coordinator: Heather Allen

E-mail: heather.allen2@judicial.state.co.us

District: 20

Location: Boulder

County: Boulder

Coordinator: Christina Orlowski

E-mail: christina.orlowski@judicial.state.co.us

District: 22

Location: Cortez

County: Montezuma

Coordinator: Kacie Henderson

E-mail: kacie.henderson@judicial.state.co.us

JUVENILE DRUG COURTS

District: 2

Location: Denver

County: Denver

Coordinator: Kylee Schroeder

Contact: kylee.schroeder@judicial.state.co.us

District: 3

Location: Trinidad

County: Las Animas

Coordinator: C. J Montoya

Contact: curtis.montoya@judicial.state.co.us

District: 8

Location: F.T Collins

County: Larimer

Coordinator: Mathew Jackson

Contact: matthew.jackson@judicial.state.co.us

DUI COURTS

District: 2

Location: Denver

County: City and County of Denver

Coordinator: Lynn Unger

Contact: lynn.unger@denvercountycourt.org

District: 2

Location: Denver

County: Denver District Court

Coordinator: Sarah Paliwoda

Contact: sarah.paliwoda@judicial.state.co.us

District: 3

Location: Trinidad

County: Las Animas

Coordinator: Josephine Harriman

Contact: josephine.harriman@judicial.state.co.us

District: 3

Location: Walsenburg

County: Huerfano

Coordinator: Josephine Harriman

Contact: josephine.harriman@judicial.state.co.us

District: 4

Location: Colorado Spring

County: El Paso/Teller

Coordinator: Erin Walker

Contact: erin.walker@judicial.state.co.us

District: 5

Location: Leadville

County: Lake

Coordinator: Lisa Morton

Contact: Lisa.morton@judicial.state.co.us

District: 5

Location: Eagle

County: Eagle

Coordinator: Lisa Morton

Contact: lisa.morton@judicial.state.co.us

District: 8

Location: Ft. Collins

County: Larimer

Coordinator: Harry McCrystal

Contact: harry.mccrystal@judicial.state.co.us

District: 11

Location: Salida

County: Chaffee

Coordinator: Jodi Agnes

Contact: jodi.agnes@judicial.state.co.us

District: 11

Location: Canon City

County: Fremont

Coordinator: Jodi Agnes

Contact: jodi.agnes@judicial.state.co.us

District: 12

Location: Alamosa

County: Alamosa

Coordinator: Shereen Gonzales

Contact: shereen.gonzales@judicial.state.co.us

District: 13

Location: Ft. Morgan

County: Morgan

Coordinator: Tamara Alexander

Contact: tamara.alexander@judicial.state.co.us

District: 18

Location: Centennial

County: Arapahoe/Douglas/Elbert/Lincoln

Coordinator: Jon Gordon

Contact: jonathan.gordon@judicial.state.co.us

District: 19

Location: Greeley

County: Weld

Coordinator: Kristin Owens

Contact: Kristin.owen@judicial.state.co.us

District: 22

Location: Cortez

County: Montezuma

Coordinator: Kacie Henderson

Contact: kacie.henderson@judicial.state.co.us

Additionally, there are hybrid court programs that serve both drug and DUI offenders - in the following locations:

District: 9

Location: Aspen

County: Pitkin

Coordinator: Valerie MacDonald

Contact: valerie.macdonald@judicial.state.co.us

District: 7

Location: Telluride

County: San Miguel

Coordinator: Doug Hanshaw

Contact: doug.hanshaw@judicial.state.co.us

MENTAL HEALTH COURTS

District: 1

Location: Golden

County: Jefferson/Gilpin

Coordinator: Kasha Swiatkowski

Contact: kasha.swiatkowski@judicial.state.co.us

District: 2

Location: Denver

County: Denver

Coordinator: Kassie Snoblen

Contact: Kassie.snoblen@judicial.state.co.us

District: 6

Location: Durango

County: La Plata

Coordinator: Catherine Gervais

Contact: catherine.gervais@judicial.state.co.us

District: 8

Location: Ft. Collins

County: Larimer

Coordinator: Mathew Jackson

Contact: matthew.jackson@judicial.state.co.us

District: 10

Location: Pueblo

County: pueblo

Coordinator: William Varley

Contact: william.varley@judicial.state.co.us

District: 11

Location: Canon City

County: Fremont/Park

Coordinator: Jodi Agnes

Contact: jodi.agnes@judicial.state.co.us

District: 18

Location: Centennial

County: Arapahoe/Douglas/Elbert/LIncoln

Coordinator: Melanie Pitkin

Contact: melanie.pitkin@judicial.state.co.us

Juvenile mental health courts locations:

District: 1

Location: Golden

County: Jefferson

Coordinator: Nicholas Lurz

Contact: nicholas.lurz@judicial.state.co.us

District: 17

Location: Brighton

County: Adams

Coordinator: Emily Housworth

Contact: emily.housworth@judicial.state.co.us

FAMILY/DEPENDENCE AND NEGLECT DRUG COURT

District: 1

Location: Golden

County: Jefferson

Coordination: Kelli Sutton

Contact: kelli.sutton@judicial.state.co.us

District: 4

Location: Colorado Springs

County: El Paso

Coordinator: Ophelia Battista

Contact: ophelia.battista@judicial.state.co.us

District: 7

Location: Delta

County: Delta

Coordinator: Doug Hanshaw

Contact: doug.hanshaw@judicial.state.co.us

District: 8

Location: Ft. Collins

County: Larimer

Coordinator: Harry McCrystal

Contact: harry.mccrystal@judicial.state.co.us

District: 11

Location: Fremont

County: Canon City

Coordinator: Jodi Agnes

Contact: jodi.agnes@judicial.state.co.us

District: 12

Location: Alamosa

County: Alamosa

Coordinator: Shereen Gonzales

Contact: shereen.gonzales@judicial.state.co.us

District: 13

Location: Sterling

County: Logan

Coordinator: Dawn Gerk

Contact: dawngerk@judicial.state.co.us

District: 13

Location: Ft. Morgan

County: Morgan

Coordinator: Tamara Alexander

Contact: tamara.alexander@judicial.state.co.us

District: 16

Location: La Junta

County: Otero

Coordinator: Desiree Hermocillo

Contact: desiree.hermocillo@judicial.state.co.us

District: 17

Location: Brighton

County: Adams

Coordinator: Emily Housworth

Contact: emily.housworth@judicial.co.us

District: 19

Location: Greely

County: Weld

Coordinator: Heather Allem

Contact: heather.allen2@judicial.co.us

District: 20

Location: Boulder

County: Boulder

Coordinator: Christina Orlowski

Contact: christina.orlowski@judicial.state.co.us

VETERANS COURT

District: 1

Location: Golden

County: Jefferson/Gilpin

Coordinator: Tara Rienow

Contact: tara.rienow@judicial.state.co.us

District: 2

Location: Denver

County: Denver

Coordinator: Kassie Snoblen

Contact: kassie.snoblen@judicial.state.co.us

District: 4

Location: Colorado Springs

County: El Paso/Teller

Coordinator: Kisten Born

Contact: kisten.born@judicial.state.co.us

District: 10

Location: Pueblo

County: Pueblo

Coordinator: William Varley

Contact: william.varley@judicial.state.co.us

District: 17

Location: Brighton

County: Adams

Coordinator: Tasha Buettenback

Contact: tasha.buettenback@judicial.state.co.us

District: 18

Location: Centennial

County: Arapahoe/Douglas/Elbert/Lincoln

Coordinator: Jon Gordon

Contact: jonathon.gordon@judicial.state.co.us

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