OPTIONS Program-Clinical Case Management and Sentencing Mitigation

OPTIONS: “Optimal Practices To Increase Opportunities To Navigate Sentencing

OPTIONS is a clinical case management and sentencing mitigation program for felony defendants represented by 18-B counsel. OPTIONS is a new program created by the Office of Assigned Counsel ("OAC") in conjunction with the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Council of Orange County ("ADAC") with funding received through a grant from NYS Office of Indigent Legal Services.  

Highlights of the OPTIONS program include: 

  • Comprehensive screening and assessment process to determine eligibility, any substance use disorder, and other risks and needs;
  • Court advocacy at all points from program referral through program completion (note: an OPTIONS advocate will be available for in person appearances in Orange County Court only);
  • Communicating regularly with clients individually to assess progress, engage in client planning, and resolve individual problems that occur in a supportive, non-judgmental, and participatory manner including crisis intervention;
  • Clarifying and reinforcing the goals and expectations of the OPTIONS program with all stakeholders; communicating regularly with both assigned counsel and treatment providers to maintain a coordinated approach and clear understanding of client status;
  • Orienting the client to community-based release planning and treatment, so he or she can be prepared to participate successfully. Make appropriate treatment referrals;
  • Brokering additional services and developing networks of services to meet client needs;
  • Ensuring that clients have access to the full continuum of available community services including benefits referrals; and
  • Advocating at sentencing for mitigation via a comprehensive evaluative analysis narrative often referred to as a “pre-sentence report”.

In contrast to comparable initiatives in which your clients may have engaged, this program stipulates that any information pertaining to the screening and treatment advancements of the defendant shall remain confidential and undisclosed to the Court or any other parties unless expressly authorized by the defendant and their legal representative.   Consequently, this initiative presents an avenue for defendants and their counsel to acquire a clinical evaluation and facilitate access to resources for the defendant, all while avoiding the obligatory reporting obligations to Courts inherent in alternative programs.   

Referrals to the OPTIONS program can be made by completing the OPTIONS Referral Form.  The form is straightforward and only requires some client information, a copy of the order of assignment, and the criminal history or RAP sheet of the defendant.  All information provided to ADAC for the OPTIONS program will be kept strictly confidential.  

The OPTIONS program at ADAC is led by Case Manager, Evelyn Kemmelman, with the assistance of Joseph Hodges, Project Director.  If you would like to discuss the OPTIONS program or a potential referral, please contact Evelyn at 845-637-5035 or via email at ekemmelman@adacinfo.com

The OPTIONS program at the OAC will be led by Community Program Coordinator, Cameron Marker. if you have any questions for Cameron  he can be reached at 845-360-6830 or cmarker@orangecountygov.com

For additional information, a copy of the OPTIONS program brochure can be found here: OPTIONS Brochure

(Note: Defendants facing charges under PL Article 135 (Kidnapping, Coercion and Related Offenses”), PL Article 130 (“Sex Offenses"), or Article 150 (“Arson”) are not eligible for the OPTIONS program.  If you require an assessment or pre-sentence report services for such cases or for other instances where eligibility for the OPTIONS program is not met, kindly reach out to the OAC for additional assistance.)