Adult Drug Court

Adult Drug Courts provide an alternative approach to incarceration by combining judicial oversight, treatment, and supervision to promote long-term recovery and reduce recidivism. Here are some key features and components of Adult Drug Courts:


  1. Eligibility and Voluntary Participation: Adult Drug Courts typically have specific eligibility criteria that individuals must meet to participate in the program. These criteria often include a non-violent offense, a substance use disorder diagnosis, and a willingness to engage in treatment and comply with program requirements actively. Participation in the Adult Drug Court program is typically voluntary, and individuals may choose to enter the program as an alternative to traditional criminal court proceedings.
  2. Collaborative Team Approach: Adult Drug Courts operate with a multidisciplinary team consisting of a judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, treatment providers, probation officers, and other key stakeholders. The team collaborates closely to assess participants, develop individualized treatment plans, monitor progress, and make decisions regarding rewards and sanctions based on compliance with program requirements.
  3. Treatment and Supervision: Adult Drug Courts integrate substance use disorder treatment services into the criminal justice process. Participants are required to engage in evidence-based treatment, which may include counseling, therapy, group sessions, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and other support services. Treatment plans are tailored to meet the specific needs of participants, addressing both substance abuse and any co-occurring mental health disorders. Supervision is provided by probation officers who work closely with participants to ensure compliance with court orders and treatment plans.
  4. Regular Court Review Hearings: Adult Drug Courts hold regular review hearings where participants appear before the judge. During these hearings, participants’ progress is assessed, treatment compliance is reviewed, and rewards or sanctions are determined based on their performance. The judge provides guidance, support, and accountability and may adjust the treatment plan or impose sanctions for non-compliance. Rewards, such as reduced sentences or dismissal of charges, are offered to incentivize positive behavior and progress.
  5. Phased Approach and Graduation: Adult Drug Court programs often utilize a phased approach, where participants progress through different stages of the program based on their compliance and progress in treatment. Each phase may have specific requirements, such as regular drug testing, community service, employment, or educational participation. Graduation from the program is typically contingent upon successful completion of treatment, compliance with court orders, and sustained sobriety.
  6. Monitoring and Support Services: Adult Drug Courts employ comprehensive monitoring and support services to ensure participants’ compliance and progress. This may include regular drug testing, case management, referrals to additional support services (such as housing assistance, employment programs, or mental health counseling), and ongoing supervision by probation officers. These services are designed to provide participants with the necessary tools and support for successful recovery and reintegration into society.
  7. Collaboration with Community Partners: Adult Drug Courts often collaborate with community organizations and service providers to enhance participant outcomes. These partnerships may involve connecting participants with housing support, vocational training, educational programs, and peer support groups. By engaging with community resources, Adult Drug Courts help participants address various life domains and build a supportive network outside the criminal justice system.
  8. Data Collection and Program Evaluation: Adult Drug Courts prioritize data collection and program evaluation to assess their effectiveness and make informed decisions for program improvement. This includes tracking participant outcomes, recidivism rates, treatment completion rates, and overall program impact. Evaluations help inform evidence-based practices and identify areas for enhancement.


Adult Drug Courts have shown promising results in reducing substance abuse, improving participant outcomes, and reducing criminal recidivism rates. By combining judicial oversight, treatment, and supervision, these courts provide an alternative pathway for individuals struggling with substance use disorders to break the cycle of addiction, address underlying issues, and reintegrate into society as productive and law-abiding citizens.