Surviving Court Programs, Probation, and the Legal Recovery System
Surviving court programs, probation, and the legal recovery system
Not all of us enter into recovery willingly. For some of us, it was being arrested, placed into jail and forced to make a decision. Either spend time in prison or get into a recovery program.
Courts often times offer some sort of substance abuse program in order to keep you from being charged and placed incarcerated. A felony charge can have lifelong effects such as preventing you from getting a job or gaining custody of your kids for instance. Court programs can offer you a second chance and surviving them is possible and has its lifelong benefits as well.
Drug court varies from state to state. As well as probation. In 1997, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) established six key components of drug courts:
- collaborative, non-adversarial, outcome driven court processing
- early identification of eligible offenders
- drug treatment integrated into criminal justice case processing
- urine testing
- judicial monitoring
- the use of graduated sanctions/rewards (NADCP, 2012)
Adult drug court treatment objectives are based on the six components that NADCP proposes. The main components of drug court programs include screening participants for drugs and alcohol, ensuring participants comply with treatment, and making sure participants attend status hearings in order for judicial staff to monitor individual progress in court.
Adult drug court programs target adults age 18 and older. Demographically, the population is diverse. Eligibility criteria for entering a drug court program are determined by certain characteristics including offense type, criminal history, and substance abuse history. Typically, drug court programs do not allow violent offenders to participate.
Forced rehab situations can be stressful and seem to be a “set up to fail” scenario. At least it appears that way. However, you get this decision to make, go to prison & serve your time, take your charges or stay out of prison, enter into a recovery program and try to live outside the cell in society to regain control of your life, while being monitored along the way.
Drug courts aim to reduce recidivism and substance abuse among eligible, nonviolent drug offenders. Drug courts require participants to abstain from drug and alcohol use, be accountable for their behavior and fulfill the legal responsibilities of the offenses they committed.
Ultimately, drug court programs are designed to rehabilitate drug offenders and teach accountability. Often used as an alternative to incarceration (post-adjudication models), drug courts provide offenders an opportunity to receive treatment and education services designed to help them live crime-free lives, while still being closely monitored. Drugs courts may also operate as diversion programs (pre-adjudication models) where offenders are offered entry into the drug court with an agreement that the charges against them will be reduced or dismissed upon successful program completion.
The main components of drug court programs include screening participants for drugs and alcohol, ensuring participants comply with treatment, and making sure participants attend status hearings in order for judicial staff to monitor individual progress in court.
Judicial staff collaborates with drug court staff to determine individual sanctions or rewards in response to a participant’s positive or negative behavior. Various rewards such as praise, tokens of achievement, or advancement to the next program phase are used to motivate progress. Sanctions may include increased treatment attendance, community service, or brief jail stays. It is up to each court’s discretion to determine which sanctions and awards are suitable for the situation.
If participants are compliant with program requirements, then advancement through three or more less intense stages occurs. Judicial and drug court staff members must decide if a participant has met the requirements of the phase necessary to progress.
If participants comply with program structure and complete mandated requirements, then successful completion is possible. The incentive to complete the program successfully is typically a reduced or dismissed charge.
It may seem like an uphill battle at first but with enough understanding and willingness, you can overcome those thoughts and begin to see the benefits. After completion of a program and getting your life back, many feel they can accomplish so much more now that they have had to deal with a court program with such rigorous demands. One may start to appreciate things more with a new outlook on what is possible and how the future seems much brighter than it did just a short time ago.