The Courts in Detail

There are four treatment courts included in the Boulder Treatment Courts:

Family Integrated Treatment Court (FITC)
Adult Integrated Treatment Court (AITC)
Juvenile Integrated Treatment Court (JITC)
DUI Integrated Treatment Court (DITC)

The Boulder Treatment Courts are an exciting, time-tested, research-based, collaborative approach to achieving better outcomes for parents and individuals in terms of long-term sobriety, safe and appropriate parenting, and recidivism reduction.

The Boulder Treatment Courts are more than a “drug court” because it includes some participants and parents with mental illness as well as substance addiction. Drug courts are not new and they have been exhaustively studied for effectiveness. The first drug court began in 1989, when Miami courts decided to try a different approach to managing Florida drug participants. According to the National Drug Court Institute, there are now 3,000 active drug courts in the United States.

In 2006, Judge Roxanne Bailin created the Boulder Treatment Courts to assist people involved with substance abuse and help them remain sober while stabilizing their lives. There are four treatment courts included in Boulder Treatment Courts:

Family Integrated Treatment Court (FITC)

  • The FITC is a special track for drug/alcohol-addicted parents. The FITC’s goals are to eliminate the need for removal of children from their homes, to return children to their homes quickly, or bring parents to their maximum functionality so that they can maintain an appropriate relationship with their children.
  • If a parent enters the FITC and their children remain in the home, they receive immediate and extensive wrap-around services including individual mental health and substance abuse therapy, family therapy, individual therapy for the children, and parenting education. If the children are removed, visits with the children are established and the treatment plan imposed with wrap-around services. Caseworkers from the Boulder Department of Housing and Human Services, Boulder County Public Health, and the Mental Health Partners provide services.
  • At each court review, the judge administers a punishment, sanction, or disincentive for non-compliant behavior. The judge provides a reward or incentive for compliant behavior. Administration of incentives and sanctions shortly after complying or non-complying conduct is a critical part of the drug court model. [1] The number of appearances in court declines over time if the parent does well; however, the parent never attends court less than once per month.

Adult Integrated Treatment Court (AITC)

  • The Adult Integrated Treatment Court is criminal court program. Felony participants on probation who are failing to comply with their sentence requirements because of drug or alcohol abuse, and sometimes co-occurring mental conditions, are assessed to determine whether they are eligible for the AITC. Use of AITC resources is restricted to addicted participants who pose a risk to the community. If they accept and if they are sufficiently stable, they are released from jail. Participants who are not sufficiently stable receive work release sentences, which allow them to work during the day and spend the night in jail.
  • Each participant receives a list of requirements for each two-week period. These requirements include participating in urinalysis on a random and frequent basis, taking breath tests and sometimes being subject to automated alcohol testing monitoring, attending all substance abuse and mental health treatment sessions, and obtaining safe and sober housing. Participants must also become financially stable. As time proceeds, the list of performance requirements changes based upon the increased expectations of the project and changes made by the participant. The judge administers a punishment, sanction, or disincentive for non-compliant behavior. The judge provides a reward or incentive for compliant behavior. Administration of incentives and sanctions shortly after the complying or non-complying conduct is a critical part of the drug court model.[2] The likelihood of significant sanctions in the indeterminate future has been shown to have no effect on behavioral change. On the other hand, the expectation of immediate rewards or sanctions does change behavior.
  • In 2008, AITC won a national award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which recognizes programs that “effectively use evidence-based practices in the treatment of substance abuse.” The AITC and the FITC were both awarded the Pinnacle Award from the Boulder County Commissioners in 2007 for excellence in public service.

Juvenile Integrated Treatment Court (JITC)

  • The JITC is a program for addicted teenagers who have committed crimes. The model is identical to the other treatment courts, but most closely resembles the FITC because of the involvement of the Department of Housing and Human Services and the need to treat the entire family.

DUI Integrated Treatment Court (DITC)

  • The DITC serves a population of participants who are facing at least their third DUI conviction. These are people with serious alcohol addictions who may also have addictions to other drugs. The model is identical to the AITC.
[1] In conventional courts, poor behavior or noncompliance is addressed through contempt hearings that occur weeks after the conduct and are usually ineffective.
[2] In conventional criminal courts, participants receive only sanctions for bad behavior and the sanctions are usually administered weeks after the noncompliant conduct.