CASA is a post-guilty program in the U.S. District Court for select individuals that focuses on drug and mental health treatment, alternative sanctions, and incentives to effectively address offender behavior, rehabilitation, and the safety of the community. CASA divisions exist within the Los Angeles, Santa Ana and Riverside federal courts.
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 such that it 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 programs can include substance abuse and/or mental health treatment, employment or education programs, and restorative justice programs such as restitution and community service. Most participants undergo regular random drug testing. Program participation require a minimum of 12 months, and can sometimes be extended to two years.
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.