Alternative Sentencing Program
and Mental Health Court



 Alternative Sentencing Program

and Mental Health Court

33 West Street
Keene N.H.

(603) 355-0160
Fax:  (603) 355-0159



Michael Potter, M.Ed., M-LADC

Director / Clinical Case Manager
(603) 355-0157


Judy Gallagher, MA

Clinical Case Manager

(603) 283-3319



Established in 2001 as the first of its type in the State of New Hampshire, the Alternative Sentencing Program and Mental Health Court serves the local criminal justice system and the community by providing bail monitoring and disposition options, which are both community-based and treatment-oriented, for cases which involve individuals who are diagnosed with substance use and/or mental health disorders. The program offers community-based case management and strict monitoring of client compliance to improve outcomes related to individuals’ clinical health and overall public safety. The Alternative Sentencing Program and Mental Health Court may also provide services as a pretrial monitoring program and/or diversion program for individuals who stand accused of criminal activity and who otherwise meet eligibility criteria.

Program Goals

  • Enhance justice and public safety

  • Reduce recidivism

  • Utilize motivational enhancement techniques and provide treatment opportunities to improve individuals clinical mental health and support recovery from substance use disorders


Program Components

  • Standardized assessment

  • Referral to licensed mental health/substance use treatment provider at the appropriate level of services (outpatient, intensive outpatient, inpatient)

  • Referral to self-help programs (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous), as appropriate

  • Referral to services such as GED tutoring, employment services/vocational training, parenting classes, affordable housing agencies, as appropriate

  • Random drug screenings

  • Clinical case management and compliance monitoring by Alternative Sentencing Program staff

  • Regular court reviews

  • Aftercare plan


Eligibility Criteria

  • Referral into the program by the criminal court by either:

    • Condition of bail (pretrial), or

    • Sentence as a part of a deferred disposition for a misdemeanor-level crime (adjudicated)


  • Individual must have a diagnosis of a substance use disorder or mental health disorder (if needed, individuals may be immediately referred for substance use and/or mental health evaluation

  • Individuals in the following categories may be considered for eligibility on a case-by-case basis:

    • Non-violent felony-level charges

    • Domestic violence related charges


One of the principal goals is to equip the individual with cognitive, emotional and behavioral skills necessary to choose and maintain healthier choices that include an alcohol, drug and criminal-free lifestyle.  Individuals must assume personal responsibility for their behavior despite the influences of environmental conditions and circumstances.


Clients are referred to the Alternative Sentencing Program and Mental Health Court by the criminal justice system for screening and standardized assessment. 


Based on the results of the assessment process, clients are referred to community-based network providers for appropriate services.  Referrals may consist of regular counseling sessions with treatment provider(s), psychiatric medication evaluation with follow-up, and/or twelve-step programs as appropriate.


Alternative Sentencing Program and Mental Health Court staff monitors clinical progress regularly through weekly one-on-one or group monitoring sessions with clients.  In addition, staff members conduct regular clinical review with treatment provider(s) directly, for verification and continual improvements or adjustments to the treatment plan, as needed.


Random drug screenings are a mandatory requirement for all clients who are diagnosed or indicated with drug or alcohol related disorders.


Clients must appear for review hearings, which are scheduled regularly before the Court.  During review, Alternative Sentencing and Mental Health Court staff provides the following:


  • Case Management plan review

  • Record of attendance with treatment providers

  • Results of drug screenings

  • Level of participation in the program and in the treatment plan

  • Clinical summary


Program participation lasts 90 days up to 1 year.  The length of program participation is determined by the Court, and is informed by compliance to the case management plan and overall clinical improvement. 


Clients who successfully complete the program are provided with the tools for success.  On an individual basis, aftercare plans are carefully developed and designed along with the client.  Aftercare plans include follow-up with community-based treatment providers, as well as information regarding other services