The Brunswick Model
The Brunswick Judicial Circuit Drug Court
Is specifically designed to facilitate the treatment and rehabilitation of non-violent felony drug offenders who meet the admissions criteria established by the Drug Court steering committee, are diagnosed with substance dependence or abuse, and wish to change.
Successful operation of Drug Court relies on the cooperation of the participants in the criminal justice process; however, each participant must adopt a role in Drug Court different from his or her traditional one. The judge steps beyond the independent and objective arbiter role and develops new expertise. The judge is the leader of the Drug Court team that seeks to provide drug treatment and rehabilitation to its participants. This active, supervisory relationship is maintained throughout treatment and allows for early and frequent judicial intervention. The judge actively engages with the participants by encouraging and rewarding appropriate behavior and discouraging and penalizing inappropriate behavior. The judge is knowledgeable about treatment methods and their limitations
1. Screening and Eligibility:
The responsibility for screening offenders for legal eligibility is placed on the District Attorney's Office. Referrals may be made by the public defender or private attorneys to the District Attorney. The Sheriff of each county will notify the Judge of that county of the arrests of drug offenders within 24 hours. The judge presiding over the Drug Court shall review the list for persons accused of drug violations. Those persons shall not be allowed to bond out of jail except through a bond issued by the Judge presiding over the Drug Court. Within seven days, the District Attorney will determine which of these arrestees are candidates for Drug Court Treatment. Those candidates will be screened by the treatment providers within the next seven days. If the participant is eligible according to the treatment staff, the defendant must make a decision with the advise of counsel as to whether the defendant wants to enter the drug court treatment program. If the defendant elects not to enter the drug treatment program, the presiding Judge sets bond. If the defendant elects to enter the program, the defendant enters a guilty plea, signs a contract and other relevant documents and receives an own recognizance bond. Adjudication is withheld at this time. Treatment begins the day the defendant decides to enter the drug court treatment program. Persons not entitled to drug treatment are immediately bonded by the judge presiding over the drug court. This judge also presides over all drug cases whether in drug program treatment or not.
In summary, cases are presented as follows:
A.) Cases come into the drug court by means of post-arrest screening by the District Attorney with referral by Defense Attorney.
B.) If an offender who is a first offender successfully completes the drug court program, the criminal prosecution against them is resolved by allowing the defendant to withdraw his or her plea and the case is dismissed.
C.) If an offender does not complete the drug court program the criminal prosecution against them is resolved by removing the case from the special procedures applicable to cases referred to the program and returning it to normal criminal case procedures which would include 20 to 24 months in a detention center. If the defendant has a prior conviction for a nonviolent drug offense but has had no chance at treatment, that defendant may be allowed in treatment. In that case, the defendant is given a prison term which is suspended so long as the defendant successfully completes drug treatment.
2. Clinical Screening:
A.) The clinical screening process is completed by qualified personnel who screen for substance use/abuse, mental health issues, motivation for treatment, residential needs, and level of care. The ASI/SASSI
and LSI-R are the major screening
/assessment instruments used.
B.) The time period for initial screening is seven days after arrest. After the screening, if the defendant qualifies and agrees to enter the drug court program, a contract is entered into between the defendant and the court. The contract will specify the terms of the treatment program, incentives, and sanctions. The contract orders that the defendant pay a minimum fee of $1,820.00 into the drug court program over the course of the treatment period. These funds will be used to assure future funding of the Drug Court when grant funds have been exhausted.
3. Clinical Assessments:
A.) Assessments are the responsibility of the treatment coordinator/program manager and the treatment team. Assessments will begin on the day the client arrives in treatment and may continue for six weeks before a final level of care is assigned. Residential needs are addressed immediately and placements made when appropriate.
Assessment criteria includes: substance abuse history, medical/health assessments, criminal history, mental health assessment (including potential for suicide), family history, relationship and support system, education and employment assessments, history of treatment.
Level of care is assigned - Four levels of care can be provided by the drug court treatment team: ASAM Level 1 and 2.1 .
4. Treatment Continuum and Plan:
A.) The treatment plan is developed by certified addiction counselors, licensed clinical social workers, registered nurses with medical and legal consultation.
B.) The treatment plan is updated periodically, reviewed, and approved by the Judge.
C.) The substance abuse treatment services available to participants are as follows: Addiction group counseling, in conjunction with self-help groups (AA, NA), addiction education, related group sessions and individual counseling which includes: (1.) An individualized program plan which is updated as patient needs change (2.) Case management (3.) Referral to specialty programs and (4.) Group and individual programs related to "living" problems, which emphasize relationships and family issues and anger management. Education and vocational training will be provided as necessary.
D.) Urine Drug Screenings will be completed on a random basis, observed and documented by the nurse. If a screen is positive, sanctions will be imposed.
E.) The ancillary health services available to participants include TB screenings.
5. Sanctions and Incentives:
Drug Court utilizes a system of evidence-based incentives and sanctions to shape participants’ behaviors. Incentives and sanctions affect not only the participant receiving them, but also the other Drug Court participants as well. Through a process of vicarious learning, other participants modify their behavior to earn incentives or avoid sanctions. Incentives are used as positive reinforcement designed to increase the likelihood that the participant will engage in the targeted behavior in the future. The program utilizes a graduated system of incentives which are awarded to participants as achievements and program goals are accomplished. Achievements such as maintaining “clean time,” phase advancement, finding employment, or earning a GED, may earn an incentive as outlined by the graduated incentive guidelines or as determined by the Drug Court judge. The following may be types of incentives earned or awarded:
(1) Praise and applause - Participant’s continuous days of sobriety, demonstrated recovery skills, verbalized insights, or other accomplishments are awarded praise and applause from the Drug Court judge and Drug Court team.
(2) Medallions -
The Drug Court judge may award participants achieving one, 90 days, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year or multiple years thereof of sobriety a medallion signifying the accomplishment.
(3) Certificates Participants who graduate from the program are awarded a certificate by the Drug Court Judge.
Sanctions are imposed when a participant relapses, violates a rule of the program, or violates the law. Sanctions are used as a consequence/deterrent to reduce the likelihood that the participant will engage in the targeted behavior in the future. The program uses a graduated system of sanctions in which the sanctions increase in severity if the unwanted behavior continues. Sanctions will be linked to individual participant needs and interests and may include additional community service, jail, or termination from the program. The following may be part of an imposed sanction:
(1) Intensified Treatment - The Drug Court team will discuss the need for more intensive treatment when appropriate. This may result from missed appointments, a series of positive drug screens, lack of participation or involvement, or other program violations.
(2) Increased Urine Screens - The judge may require participants to submit to urinalysis testing more frequently or on a daily basis.
(3) Community Service - Participants may be required to complete additional community service hours as a sanction/consequence for their behavior. The participant will be instructed to contact his or her case manager in order to make arrangements for the community service.
(4) Increased Reporting - Participants may be required to report more often to the treatment office or to the court if it is determined that they need to be monitored more intensively.
(5) Incarceration - Incarceration will be used as a “shock” sanction for use or relapse with the amount of time increasing with each successive incident; however, generally, a participant will not be incarcerated for more than twenty-one (21) days. Incarceration may be used as a transition for individuals who are awaiting space in a residential treatment facility if no other appropriate option is available.
6. Successful Program Completion:
The Drug Court program lasts a minimum of eighteen months (18) with 12 months clean or twenty-four (24) months with 6 months clean or longer if all requirements of the program have not been met. Drug Court graduations are held monthly.
Upon successful completion of the Drug Court Program, a graduation ceremony will be held and a certificate of completion will be awarded to each graduate. All appropriate orders promised to the defendant referencing defendant’s criminal status shall be filed at this time.