As a prison consultant I consider it my job to help my clients understand any and all changes that could influence how long they serve in federal prison.

To that end, I am sharing some news on a program the government calls, CASA—Conviction and Sentence Alternatives. A client of mine is making some progress towards entering this program. I consider the news extremely encouraging.

To learn more, I am posting information below directly from the website. I would encourage defendants who think they might qualify to take action.

CASA is a program in the U.S. District Court whose mission is to select individuals for participation in a program of Post-Guilty Plea Diversion as an alternative to conviction or imprisonment, and to provide those individuals a creative blend of treatment, alternative sanctions, and incentives to effectively address offender behavior, rehabilitation, and the safety of the community.

CASA was established in April 2012, as an outgrowth of the success of the District Court’s Substance Abuse Treatment and Reentry Program (STAR).  Individuals selected for CASA enter a guilty plea under a plea agreement which requires participation in the CASA Program and specifies the benefit to be received if the program is completed successfully: either a dismissal of the federal charges or a sentence reduced to a sentence which does not include a term of imprisonment.

Participants in CASA are subject to intensive pretrial supervision under conditions which require regular court appearances before the CASA program team and participation in programs designed by the CASA team to address the causes of the defendant’s criminal conduct, such as substance abuse and/or mental health treatment programs, employment or education programs, and restorative justice programs such as restitution and community service.  Program participation requires between 12 and 24 months.

Defendants who fail to successfully complete the program proceed to sentencing before the CASA Judge on the charges to which they entered guilty pleas.

CASA is a collaborative partnership among the United States District Court, United States Pretrial Services Agency, Federal Public Defender’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s office and various community-based treatment providers and organizations.”