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12. Different types of court-directed rehab modalities

Drug treatment courts, drug courts, DWI courts, family drug treatment courts, juvenile drug treatment courts, veterans drug treatment courts, and veteran's courts all follow a "mandated compliance" model: the "court-directed rehab modality." They all share the model of team effort at mandating compliance-a quick response team that continues to nudge the addict toward substance abstinence for at least 12 months. Deferred Prosecution in criminal justice drug court proceedings are rarely used and allow for dismissal of all charges after graduation.

Drug treatment court and drug court: The term "drug treatment court" was initiated to distinguish courts using treatment in its operations as distinguished from a court dealing with drug sellers, growers, manufacturers muscle men and smugglers. The purpose of the latter courts focused on prison, not rehab. These days, "drug court" and "drug treatment court" are used essentially interchangeably. I use the 2 terms essentially interchangeably herein except where my text is focused on treatment.

DWI Courts exist in many larger NC counties now. They are much like a "drug treatment court" except they accept only DWI clients--the vast majority of whom consider alcohol as their drug of choice. The literature indicates repeat DWI offenders function better if they are separated out from controlled substances addicts. It seems alcoholics and "hard drug" users tend to look down on one another, so separating them seems to have a therapeutic benefit.

My judicial district is too small to have separate courts for repeat DWI offenders and controlled substances abusers, so they DWIs and controlled substance users are combined in one court in my district. My opinion (devoid of statistics) is that we do better to combine DWI and controlled substance addicts than to fail to treat DWI. I have no reason to doubt the analysts when they report a DWI court that separates alcoholics from controlled substance users has should have a higher success record than a combined court. My combined court, however, has good results with repeat DWIs. Many DWI offenders are also frequently controlled substance users. Do you remember Al? He shot up on heroin before he drove drunk. We did not know about the heron until he spoke at a drug court graduation. So when the population is too small to separate DWI from controlled substance courts, I say, "Combine and conquer."

Veterans Treatment Courts are criminal justice-focused drug treatment courts that accept only veterans. Lectures and testimonials at National Association of Drug Court Professionals as well as North Carolina press coverage indicate that addicted veterans who are put in treatment groups with vets only have much better results than when vets are mixed with civilians in treatment. (See NADCP website, Veterans court utilize veterans to serve as mentors for the probationers in the court.

Mental Health Courts are comprised of persons who get in trouble due to mental health problems. These offenders are like drug treatment court clients in that both moved into the criminal justice system by violating some law. The difference is that mental health court clients fail to take their pills, whereas traditional drug treatment court clients can't seem to stop taking pills.

Juvenile drug treatment courts are very much like traditional drug treatment courts only for juveniles. It was a violation of the law that brought both juvenile drug treatment court clients and traditional drug treatment court clients into the treatment court. Parents of the juvenile are brought into the juvenile drug treatment court process and are put under court order.

Family treatment courts are courts that apply the lessons learned in the "mandated compliance" model or "court-directed rehab model." to parents of children in foster care. Foster care usually starts with a court proceeding where children are alleged to be "abused, neglected and dependent" children. "Abused, neglected and dependent" cases are brought by Department of Social Services (DSS) on behalf of children who were determined to be abused, neglected or dependent. The objective is to get the "abused neglected and dependent" children in a permanent stable environment. The law of "abused neglected and dependent" children defines what it means to be "abused neglected and dependent." A family treatment court team has no district attorney prosecuting and no probation officer supervising. There is no sentence of months or years hanging over the head of the parent. The judge has the power to punish for contempt to incarcerate a non-compliant parent. Family treatment court has a treatment team much like drug treatment court, except that the District Attorney and Probation are replaced by Department of Social Services (DSS) attorney and DSS investigators.

What about earning a dismissal in drug courts? At one time, about 10% of the participants in the Judicial District 9A drug treatment court would be able to earn a dismissal of their pending charges by completing drug court. Different counties and different DA's approach these courts differently. These cases are so-called "deferred prosecution" cases or "pre plea" cases. (We have reduced our use of this mechanism at my suggestion because national data and the experience of the treatment team indicates this group is less likely to succeed than those who are on probation when they enter the program.) These cases must be approved by the elected District Attorney before they are entered in drug court in hope of eventual dismissal of the charges. With almost all of these cases, the defendant does not have a significant criminal record. These cases are closely evaluated and reviewed by the elected District Attorney and the drug court judge before the defendant is referred to drug court. In the larger districts, drug court participants in an "deferred prosecution" or a "pre-plea" are separated from probationers who have experienced a conviction.