What is a Drug Court?
A drug court is a specially designed court program. The purpose is to achieve a reduction in recidivism and substance abuse among offenders and to increase the likelihood of successful rehabilitation through early, continuous, and intense treatment; mandatory periodic drug testing; community supervision; appropriate sanctions and incentives; and other rehabilitation services, all of which is supervised by a judicial officer.
Rigorous evaluation and research has demonstrated that where drug courts are implemented consistent with models and procedures developed based on objective studies, they significantly reduce recidivism and substance abuse among high-risk substance abusing offenders. Drug courts that are properly implemented also increase the likelihood of successful rehabilitation while simultaneously reducing the cost to the public below the historic costs of addressing these problems in the criminal justice system.
Pursuant to W.Va. Code §62-15-2(5), a drug court is defined as a judicial intervention process that incorporates the Ten Key Components of drug courts. It may include pre-adjudication or post-adjudication participation. The Ten Key Components used by drug courts are:
- Drug courts integrate alcohol and other drug treatment services with justice system case processing. Early, continuous, and intense treatment is an evidence-based effective component of drug courts.
- In drug courts, prosecution and defense counsel use a nonadversarial approach to promote public safety while protecting participants’ due process rights.
- Eligible participants are identified early and are promptly placed in a drug court program.
- Drug courts provide access to a continuum of alcohol, drug, and other related treatment and rehabilitation services. Recovery support through step-down services over the term an offender participants in drug court, provided in phases, is incorporated in every West Virginia drug court.
- Abstinence is monitored by frequent alcohol and other drug testing. Drug testing is mandatory and random.
- A coordinated strategy governs drug court responses to participants’ compliance. This includes the use of appropriate incentives and sanctions to alter offender behavior.
- Ongoing judicial interaction with each drug court participant is essential. Close judicial supervision and involvement, including judicial interaction with participants and frequent status hearings, is a foundation of drug court evidence-based practice.
- Monitoring and evaluation measure the achievement of program goals and gauge effectiveness.
- Continuing interdisciplinary education promotes effective drug court planning, implementation, and operations.
- Forging partnerships among drug courts, public agencies, and community-based organizations generates local support and enhances drug court effectiveness. A drug court team of appropriate disciplines and an advisory committee of a variety of interested disciplines are required to establish a drug court in West Virginia.
- Drug courts reduce crime.
- Drug courts save money.
- Drug courts ensure compliance.
- Drug courts restore families and citizens.
For more details on these facts, visit www.nadcp.org/learn/drug-courts-work
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