CHEBOYGAN COUNTY DRUG COURT
A “drug court” as defined by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals is “a special court given the responsibility to handle cases involving drug-addicted offenders through an extensive supervision and treatment program.” Drug courts represent a non-traditional approach to prosecution of offenders who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Rather than focusing only on the crimes they commit and the punishments they receive, drug courts also attempt to solve some of their underlying problems.
Drug courts are built upon a partnership between the criminal justice system and the treatment community. This collaboration results in a drug court team that structures treatment, supervision, and intervention in order to break the cycle of drug abuse and associated criminal activity. Drug court participants undergo long-term counseling, sanctions, incentives, and frequent court appearances. Although drug courts vary somewhat from one jurisdiction to another in terms of structure, scope, and target populations, they usually share three primary goals: (1) to reduce recidivism, (2) to reduce substance abuse among participants, and (3) to rehabilitate participants.
Because of the unique problems and opportunities that present themselves in working with drug involved defendants, intervention and rehabilitation strategies must be “reality-based.” Drug court programs must therefore recognize:
· Addicts/Substance abusers are most amenable to successful intervention when they are in the crisis of initial arrest and incarceration, so intervention must be immediate.
· Preventing gaps in communication and ensuring offender accountability are of critical importance, so court supervision must be coordinated and comprehensive.
· Substance abuse seldom exists in isolation from other serious problems, which undermine rehabilitation, so intervention must include other available services and resources such as dual diagnosis intervention, educational assessments and job assistance.
· Relapse and intermittent progress are part of the recovery process, so sanctions and incentives must be integral to the drug court intervention strategy.