What is drug court?

Treatment-based drug court is an alternative to incarceration for defendants who enter the judicial system because of addiction.  Through a non-adversarial team approach combined with an intensive, judicially monitored treatment program, drug court offers defendants the opportunity to restore themselves as productive, non-criminal members of society.

A Drug Court has been defined by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs as having 10 key components:

  1. Drug Courts integrate alcohol and other drug treatment services with justice system case processing.

  2. Using a non-adversarial approach, prosecution and defense counsel promote public safety while protecting participants' due process rights.

  3. Eligible participants are identified early and promptly placed in the drug court program.

  4. Drug Courts provide access to a continuum of alcohol, drug and other related treatment and rehabilitation services.

  5. Abstinence is monitored by frequent alcohol and other drug testing.

  6. A coordinated strategy governs drug court response to participants compliance.

  7. Ongoing judicial interaction with each drug court participant is essential.

  8. Monitoring and evaluation measure the achievement of program goals and gauge effectiveness.

  9. Continuing interdisciplinary education promotes effective drug court planning, implementation, and operations.

  10. Forging partnerships among drug courts, public agencies and community-based organizations generates local support and enhances drug court effectiveness.