Treatment courts save lives and strengthens our community

Syracuse Community Treatment Court (SCTC) opened its doors in January of 1997 as part of a growing movement to transform the way our justice system responds to substance use and mental health disorders. Rather than continuing the revolving door of addiction and related crime, Treatment Courts support our community to break this cycle, reunite families and offer life changing alternatives to those at their lowest point in life.

Treatment Courts like ours differ from traditional courts because we invite treatment providers and other public health professionals to be a part of the team. They ensure each person in our program receives an individualized, evidence-based treatment plan, and work together with the judge, defense attorneys, prosecutors, probation, and law enforcement to provide ongoing support and accountability. This approach allows our Treatment Court to identify and meet individual needs beyond clinical treatment, such as education, employment, housing assistance, family reunification, restitution, and healthcare.

With more than 4,000 Treatment Courts across the nation, this approach has proven to be the most successful justice intervention in our nation’s history.

Syracuse Treatment Court
(Outside the John C. Dillon Public Safety Building where Syracuse Community Treatment Court takes place)

SCTC holds their graduation ceremonies quarterly and March marked the first in-person graduation ceremony since the court went mostly virtual due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This special event not only celebrates the hard work and accomplishments of participants, but it’s also an opportunity for the SCTC staff and their treatment partners to see that their work makes a difference. During the ceremony, the Presiding Judge, Honorable Mary Ann Doherty introduced guest speaker Bradley, to address the graduating class. Bradley, a former graduate of Syracuse Community Treatment Court, spoke of his difficult journey to get sober and how he got to where he is now, a business owner and father to three children.

Treatment Court Judge
(Presiding Judge, Hon. Mary Anne Doherty introduces Bradley, a former graduate of Syracuse Community Treatment Court)
 Treatment Court graduate
Former graduate of Syracuse Community Treatment Court addresses current graduates to share his story)

“The day I went back to jail, I spoke to my daughter on the phone, and she said Daddy, you promised me that you would never leave me again. That right there was my moment, I took that and ran with it, I took every program offered to me.”

After leaving a local inpatient rehabilitation facility, he continued treatment, took on a full-time job and became involved in his children’s day-to-day activities.

Bradley left the graduates with a piece of advice, “Find your passion, find your purpose and embrace this new lifestyle.”

Bradley’s story is one of many that demonstrate why treatment courts are so critical in the effort to address addiction and related crime. Studies have found that Treatment Courts reduce crime and drug use, while improving employment, housing, financial and family stability.

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