The Superior Court, County of Sonoma has established an on-going effort to improve its community outreach.
The Court offers school tours of court facilities for any school within Sonoma County.
Courage to Live
Judge Gary Nadler hopes local school kids will take it to heart when he presents to them the dangers of using drugs and alcohol, especially when it involves driving. In his Courage to Live program in Sonoma County middle schools, Judge Nadler uses the live testimonials of jail inmates and demonstrations of Field Sobriety Tests by local law enforcement officers to show kids the consequences of drinking and driving and using substances.
Judge Nadler uses the live testimonials of jail inmates when he presents the dangers of using drugs and alcohol.
"Our goal is that students will think before making bad choices," Nadler says. It is a tragedy that so many lives are damaged or ruined because of hasty choices made without thoughtful reflection." In fact, Judge Nadler points to the California Healthy Kids Survey 2008-09 and its Summary of Findings for Sonoma County, which states that more than one-third of seventh graders were passengers in a car driven by someone who had been drinking, and one-third of sixth graders have obtained alcohol from their own home. "We want to prevent these kids from killing or hurting themselves, or others," Judge Nadler said.
While the program presents factual data to demonstrate the harm caused by drug and alcohol abuse, it also seeks to incite students to take action in their schools to combat drug and alcohol use. Courage to Live targets intervention with kids before they acquire a driving license. Its goal is to prevent drinking and driving and to help youth make more informed and responsible decisions about alcohol use. Through the use of interactive exercises, informed discussion and a video presentation, the children are presented with strategies to make informed choices when facing social situations. The open forum format gives kids the opportunity to discuss realistic strategies to use when choices about alcohol and drugs arise.
The National Judicial College created the Courage to Live Program with the sponsorship of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention. Through the collaborative efforts of the Sonoma County Superior Court, the California Highway Patrol, local police departments and the Sonoma County Office of Education, the Courage to Live program is presented to middle schools across Sonoma County.
The concept of the Sonoma County DUI Court is to increase the level of accountability to high risk offenders by requiring them to participate in treatment combined with education, judicial scrutiny, testing and formal supervision. It is expected that these offenders will learn to control their alcohol addiction, become more productive citizens and present a far smaller risk of re-offending. The program is designed to target repeat DUI offenders who live in Sonoma County; those with two (2) and three (3) priors are the target audience for this program.
DUI Court is modeled after the County’s successful drug court program and is a collaboration of several agencies including the Superior Court, Probation Department, Alcohol & Other Drug Services, the Public Defender’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department and local law enforcement agencies. Program participants will receive professional help to confront their substance abuse issues and will learn how to make life changing improvements in their lives.
- Reduce recidivism among non-violent, adult DUI offenders
- Reduce alcohol abuse among non-violent, adult DUI offenders
- Increase the likelihood of successful rehabilitation through early, continuous and intensive judicially supervised treatment, random alcohol/drug testing and the use of graduated incentives and sanctions
The mission of the Sonoma County DUI Court is to enhance community safety, reduce DUI recidivism, and foster a healthier and safer life for the participants and their families, by increasing treatment, supervision and accountability of the high risk impaired driver.
The DUI Court program stresses the rebuilding of family ties, creating a stable living environment and pursuing a job or education, as pertinent. A person wishing to enter the DUI Court program must be open to treatment and ready to acknowledge they have an alcohol or substance abuse problem.
A person wishing to enter the DUI Court program must be open to treatment
The DUI Court program does not accept individuals with prior violence, sex crimes, or drug sales convictions. The intensive four-phase program entails weekly, group and individual counseling sessions with an assigned alcohol and drug counselor and testing with probation to ensure sobriety and program compliance. In addition, the participant will be expected to regularly attend self-help group as agreed with alcohol and drug counselor as well as enroll in a DMV approved SB1344 multiple offender program. Upon successful completion of the DUI Court, participants may revert to informal probation. Upon completion of SB1344 programs, participants can request early termination of probation.
The DUI Court program has 91% retention of its participants.