DRUG TREATMENT COURT
The Sixth Judicial District Drug Treatment Court Program is designed to provide intensive community supervision to probation clients who would be sent to prison if the program did not exist. The clients served in this program are those who have abuse and dependency issues related to one or more substances, and who are sentenced to probation on an Aggravated Misdemeanor or Felony charge. Many of the clients served in this program also have mental health issues of varying levels of severity.
Through supervision in the Drug Treatment Court Program, and through use of restorative justice principles, individuals are encouraged to invest in their community. They are encouraged to create ties to pro-social people and activities that will provide them the support needed to avoid relapse and the behaviors that lead to recidivism. Individuals are provided with substance abuse treatment and are also assisted in accessing mental health services, obtaining safe and stable housing, and obtaining employment. By investing in the community and creating these ties to supportive services, individuals involved in the Drug Treatment Court Program are better equipped to be self-sufficient and able to maintain the positive changes they create even after community supervision is completed.
A member of the Drug Treatment Court Program attends regular court hearings where they are expected to update the Drug Treatment Court Team and their peers on their progress towards their case plan goals. The team rewards positive behavior with incentives, such as certificates, small prizes, and positive feedback from the judge. Negative behavior earns a sanction from the team, which could include loss of a privilege, an assignment of some sort, or jail time. In addition to court appearances, the client is expected to see their probation officer, attend all recommended substance abuse treatment, and provide random UAs as requested.
The Drug Treatment Court Program consists of five phases, and frequency of contact decreases as a client progresses through the phases. The minimum amount of time required to complete the program is 12 months, while the average is expected to be approximately 18 months.
The Linn County Drug Treatment Court Program began hearings on September 24, 2007. The Johnson County program began hearings on February 23, 2008.
During the time that the Drug Treatment Court Program has been in operation, clients have been assisted in accessing numerous community resources to address their individual needs. Often, these resources have been geared towards addressing treatment needs as well as a need for a supported living situation. Other community referrals include those to mental health treatment, transportation assistance, medical treatment facilities, domestic violence intervention counseling, and parenting groups.
There has been shown to be a significant cost savings associated with the Drug Treatment Court program. The average cost per day to house one inmate in prison is $54.02. The average cost per day to have one client on community based supervision is $1.88. During the first year of existence, there were 4504 days of community based supervision provided by the Drug Treatment Court Program (3677 in Linn County and 827 in Johnson County). It should be noted as well that in cases in which a person is supervised for multiple cases concurrently, each calendar day is reflected as one day of supervision, rather than one day of supervision per each case. Since it is assumed that these are people that would be in prison if the Drug Treatment Court Program were not in existence, there is a savings of $234,838.56 by supervising these clients in the community rather than incarcerating them.
At this time there are plans to continue to develop the format of the program. There will be support groups beginning that will be offered to clients who have completed their primary substance abuse treatment. There are also plans to explore community service projects as an opportunity for the involved clients to give back to their communities. And finally, when there are graduates from the programs, alumni involvement will be a key piece of the program as well, in the form of alumni support groups and potential mentoring relationships.