A loved one spiraling into drug use comes with many challenges, emotionally and financially.
If that drug dependency leads to an arrest, it further complicates the situation. Research by Pew indicates that only 1 in 13 people receive treatment for addiction while incarcerated. For some people, drug court offers an opportunity to break the cycle.
How does drug court work?
The Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court has been around since 1994. This collaborative program identifies drug-addicted offenders for alternative treatment instead of incarceration. To reduce reconvictions and rearrests, the program provides support and treatment under strict supervision.
What happens during the program?
During this 18-month program, participants must follow all probation conditions while also attending supervised treatment. This includes three monthly in-person meetings with a probation officer, verifying employment status and having two home visits. Participants must also submit random urine samples. The phased sampling decreases in intensity from two per week to one per month. Every month, the offender must attend court for a progress review. Drug treatment at a local provider happens throughout the program, as well as judicial monitoring to ensure program compliance.
Can anyone participate in drug court?
Drug court has eligibility requirements. Along with being at least 18 years old and a city resident, the nonviolent offender must provide proof of chronic drug abuse and have no charges from any other jurisdiction. A person on parole may not participate in this program. While determining eligibility, reviewers conduct a criminal background check. Any violent convictions, such as manslaughter or armed robbery, mean ineligibility.
The ability to participate in a drug court depends on the specific case and circumstances.