Santa Cruz County Collaborative PACT Making a Difference in Lives, Community
As the defendant steps up for his court hearing, Judge Denine Guy comments how he is wearing a different Star Wars T-shirt from his last appearance. She asks him how many he has and he replies, “Six or seven.” In a legal system where misdemeanors are often looked at in terms of specific case numbers rather than the individuals behind them, Judge Guy’s comments stand out. She remembers this defendant; she knows his story and what it will take to help him turn his life around.
The scene is played out again and again as part of a Santa Cruz County program where the focus is on helping individuals get off the streets and break the cycle of crime or hospitalizations. Launched in 2014, the Bob Lee Community Partnership for Accountability, Connection and Treatment (PACT) is an effective, collaborative program between the county and city. Its roots are in a city program focusing on the downtown area, but it has grown to include a variety of county services, including the district attorney, public defender, probation, sheriff, mental health and social services, as well as city and community groups.