ROCKLAND COUNTY MISDEMANOR DRUG COURT AWARDED $329,000 IN FEDERAL GRANT MONEY

DA’s Press Release

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe announced Monday that a total of $329,504 in grant money has been obtained from the United States Department of Justice to help plan and implement the county’s newly created misdemeanor drug court.

“Under the grants, we have been able to launch and support our misdemeanor drug court in the Village of Spring Valley, which has become a model for suburban prosecutors,” said Zugibe. “We are leading the way by using this new approach to deal with the impact of alcohol and substance abuse related crimes in our community.”

The federal grant money was sought to specifically fund new misdemeanor drug court, allowing efforts to intervene with chemically-addicted, nonviolent low-level offenders before their addiction and criminal behavior worsen.

The funding will be used for case management, staff and support training, drug testing supplies, participant incentives, technology, office supplies and program evaluation.

The New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA) has designated the Village of Spring Valley Justice Court as the hub court to hear eligible misdemeanor drug and alcohol cases from every Justice Court in Rockland County.

Village of Spring Valley Justice David Fried, who was identified through an application process, will head up the new court. “Drug courts have consistently proven their value, being one of most effective alternative to incarceration programs available to defendants,” said Fried. “This new funding will enable us to reach into all communities so we can strategically reduce crime and its spiraling to further and potentially more serious criminal acts.”

Individuals with pending misdemeanor offenses in Rockland County courts are eligible to plead into the misdemeanor court following a criminal background check and a substance abuse assessment.

If participants fail to comply with the rules of the program, the court may impose certain sanctions, including increased court appearances, county jail time and termination from the program.

The grant money for the court was obtained through the efforts of Judy Rosenthal, Director of Fiscal & Program Operations at the District Attorney’s Office and the Education & Assistance Corporation (EAC).

Founded in 1969, EAC is a not-for-profit human service agency based in Hempstead, New York. With a network of 66 programs throughout Long Island, New York City and the Hudson Valley, EAC helped over 62,000 people of all ages in 2011.

EAC’s mission is to help children who have been physically or sexually abused, senior citizens needing support, people struggling with substance abuse and/or mental illness, youth in the foster care system, persons on public assistance seeking financial independence, adults and youth who are under or unemployed, individuals needing help to mediate disputes and families in crisis.

In Rockland County, EAC has provided training, financing and other support for several innovative programs, including Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (TASC) and case management for the Drug Treatment Alternative to Incarceration Program (DTAP) since 2000.