waukesha county's alcohol treatment court

staffing the program

Once a week, Kristy Gusse and Andrea Wolf walk across the street from their offices on Moreland Boulevard to the Waukesha County courthouse.

They are caseworkers for Waukesha County's Alcohol Treatment Court Program.

Gusse and Wolf are employed by the non-profit agency, Wisconsin Community Services.

The county hired the agency to handle the day-to-day supervision of the convicted drunk drivers who are trying to get sober.

weekly staffing meetings

Each Thursday afternoon, Gusse and Wolf attend a weekly staff meeting with Judge Lee Dreyfus and Public Defender Jean Latour.

There they discuss the progress made by program participants.

Gusse and Wolf explain who has stayed sober and met the program requirements.

They also tell the rest of the staff who has slipped up.

Gusse says her job as a case worker is to build trust with clients and be supportive.

She says she also looks for red flags that might signal a relapse, that could send an offender back to jail.

video Gusse on the "red flags"

"finding a balance"

At the staffing meeting, the judge, the public defender, Gusse and Wolf work out the rewards and penalties that will be handed out in the courtroom later that afternoon.

The group has to balance punishment with rehabilitation.

Gusse and Wolf both say the staffing sessions are helpful in trying to figure out the right recommendations.

video Wolf on staffing sessions

"each case is different"

Judge Dreyfus has handled the treatment court since last August.

He replaced Judge Kathryn Foster when she rotated out.

Judge Dreyfus says a treatment plan is tailored for each of the program's participants.

He says he makes it a point at the staffing sessions to learn personal details about each of the participants, somethings judges don't often have time to do.

He says it is an important part of overseeing the treatment process.

video Drefus on oversight

Each staffing session can last up to two hours as the details are worked out.

"All rise."

Then, a sheriff's deputy, waiting in a nearby courtroom, receives the nod to unlock the courtroom door.

The offenders, who have been congregating in the marble hallway for the four o'clock session to start, file into the courtroom.

Once they are seated in the gallery, the judge enters the courtroom.

The face-to-face session between the participants and the judge is about to begin.

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