ALERNATIVE PROGRAMS BUREAU
The Alternative Programs Bureau screens and handles cases in several of Brooklyn’s specialized court parts. These include three court parts aimed at diverting drug-addicted offenders into treatment in lieu of incarceration (the Brooklyn Treatment Court, the Screening and Treatment and Enhancement Part, and the Misdemeanor Brooklyn Treatment Court), as well as the Youth Diversion Part and the Veterans Court Part. The bureau also runs the Drug Treatment Alternative-to-Prison (DTAP) program, for drug addicts who are recidivist, non-violent felony offenders. The bureau includes two specialized units: the Community Service Unit and Mental Health Court Unit.
MENTAL HEALTH COURT UNIT
The Mental Health Court Unit, in conjunction with the staff of the Brooklyn Mental Health Court, identifies and screens for diversion into treatment certain qualified offenders who have been diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental illness. Defendants’ treatment progress is carefully monitored to ensure public safety. In addition, the Unit, working with the clinical staff of a non-profit agency, also screens and diverts into treatment offenders who, while having a mental condition, including an intellectual disability, are not otherwise eligible for diversion through the Mental Health Court program. Assistant District Attorneys in the Unit also handle all proceedings associated with defendants who have been found unfit to proceed in court regarding the criminal charges against them, or have been found not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect for their criminal offenses. These proceeding take place not only in a special court part of the Brooklyn Supreme Court, but also at secure facilities such as Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center, Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, and South Beach Psychiatric Center.