Frequently Asked Questions - Types of Drug Courts

Frequently Asked Questions - Types of Drug Courts

A specially designed criminal court calendar or docket, the purposes of which are to achieve a reduction in recidivism and substance abuse among nonviolentiii substance abusing offenders and increase the offenders’ likelihood of successful habilitation. Interventions include early, continuous and intensive judicially supervised treatment, mandatory periodic drug testing, community supervision, and the use of appropriate sanctions, incentives and habilitation services (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2005).

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A Juvenile Drug Court is a specialized docket within the juvenile or family court system, to which selected delinquency cases, and in some instances
status offenders, are referred for handling by a designated judge. The youths referred to this docket are identified as having problems with alcohol and/or other drugs. The juvenile Drug Court judge maintains close oversight of each case through regular status hearings with the parties and their
guardians. The judge both leads and works as a member of a team comprised of representatives from treatment, juvenile justice, social and mental health services, school and vocational training programs, law enforcement, probation, the prosecution, and the defense. Over the course of a year or more, the team meets frequently (often weekly), determining how best to address the substance abuse and related problems of the youth and his or her family that have brought the youth into contact with the justice system (National Drug Court Institute & National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2003).

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A Tribal Healing to Wellness Court is not simply a tribal court that handles alcohol or other drug abuse cases. It is, rather, a component of the tribal justice system that incorporates and adapts the wellness concept to meet the specific substance abuse needs of each tribal community. It provides an opportunity for each Native American community to address the devastation of alcohol or other drug abuse by establishing more structure and a higher level of accountability for these cases through a system of comprehensive supervision, drug testing, treatment services, immediate sanctions and incentives, teambased case management, and community support. The team includes not only tribal judges, advocates, prosecutors, police officers, educators, and substance abuse and mental health professionals, but also tribal elders and traditional healers. The concept borrows from traditional problem-solving methods utilized since time immemorial, and restores the person to his or her rightful place as a contributing member of the tribal community. The programs utilize the unique strengths and history of each tribe, and realign existing resources available to the community in an atmosphere of communication, cooperation and collaboration (Native American Alliance Foundation, 2006; Tribal Law & Policy Institute, 2003).

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Pioneered at Colorado State University in 2001, Campus Drug Courts (a.k.a. Back on TRAC) adopt the integrated public health-public safety principles and components of the successful Drug Court model, and apply them to the college environment. These programs specifically target college students whose excessive use of drugs or alcohol have created serious consequences for themselves or others, and are jeopardizing their ability to complete their college education. The programs hold students to a high level of accountability while providing long-term, holistic treatment and rigorous compliance monitoring. They unite campus leaders, student development practitioners, treatment providers and health professionals with their governmental, judicial and treatment counterparts in the surrounding community. This partnership can then serve as a hub for comprehensive campus/community strategies for dealing with underage and excessive drinking, as well as illicit drug use (Monchick & Gehring, 2006).

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Veterans Treatment Courts use a hybrid integration of Drug Court and Mental Health Court principles to serve military veterans, and sometimes active-duty personnel. They promote sobriety, recovery, and stability through a coordinated response that involves collaboration with the traditional partners found in Drug Courts and Mental Health Courts, as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare networks, Veterans Benefits Administration, State Departments of Veterans Affairs, volunteer veteran mentors, and organizations that support veterans and veterans’ families (Office of National Drug Control Policy, 2010).

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Reentry Drug Courts utilize the Drug Court model, as defined in the 10 Key Components, to facilitate the reintegration of drug-involved offenders into the community upon their release from local or state correctional facilities. These are distinct from "Reentry Courts" (see below) which do not necessarily utilize the Drug Court model or focus on drug-addicted offenders, but often do work with similar populations. The offender is involved in
regular judicial monitoring, intensive treatment, community supervision, and drug testing. Participants are provided with specialized ancillary services needed for successful reentry into the community (Tauber & Huddleston, 1999).

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Federal Reentry/Drug Court is a post-incarceration, cooperative effort of the U.S. District Courts, U.S. Probation Office, Federal Public Defender and U.S. Attorney’s Office. They provide a blend of treatment and sanction alternatives to address re-integration into the community for nonviolent, substance-abusing offenders released from federal prison. These courts typically include early release from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons with a strict supervised-release regimen. They incorporate the Key Components of Drug Courts in a voluntary, but contractual, program of intense judicial supervision and drug testing lasting a minimum of 12 to 18 months. Each program wields court-ordered sanctions for violations of the offender’s contract for participation as well as incentives for client success (Huddleston, et al., 2008).

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Family Dependency Treatment Court is a juvenile or family court docket for cases of child abuse or neglect in which parental substance abuse is a contributing factor. Judges, attorneys, child protection services, and treatment personnel unite with the goal of providing safe, nurturing, and permanent homes for children while simultaneously providing parents with the necessary support and services they need to become drug and alcohol abstinent. Family Dependency Treatment Courts aid parents or guardians in regaining control of their lives and promote long term stabilized recovery to enhance the possibility of family reunification within mandatory legal timeframes (Huddleston, et al., 2005).

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A DWI Court is a postconviction court docket dedicated to changing the behavior of the alcohol or drugdependent repeat offender or high-BAC
offender arrested for Driving While Impaired (DWI). The goal of the DWI court is to protect public safety while addressing the root causes of impaired driving. DWI Courts utilize a team of criminal justice professionals (including prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers and law enforcement) along with substance abuse treatment professionals to systematically change participant behavior. Like Drug Courts, DWI Courts involve
extensive interactions between the judge and the offenders to hold the offenders accountable for their compliance with court, supervision and treatment conditions (Huddleston, et al., 2004).

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