WHAT IS ATLANTIC JUDICIAL CIRCUIT DRUG COURT?
It is a court supervised treatment program for offenders with serious substance abuse problems and most often a long history of repeat offenses.
The Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court encourages and promotes personal responsibility by holding participants accountable for their actions. Participants must go through two or more years of intensive outpatient treatment. During that two years, participants must attend intensive outpatient drug treatment, along with regular Drug Court sessions and community-based support meetings as directed by the court and their treatment providers. (See below)
HOW IS ATLANTIC JUDICIAL CIRCUIT DRUG COURT DIFFERENT FROM THE TRADITIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM?
The goal of the traditional system is to prove guilt and incarcerate the offender. The goal of Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court is for the offender to acknowledge his or her guilt, restore personal responsibility, and complete effective treatment.
HOW DOES THE TREATMENT WORK?
Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court participants voluntarily submit to several specific requirements over a minimum 24 month period:
• Attend regular Court reviews with the Judge, court staff, defense attorney and assistant district attorney
• Attend intensive substance abuse treatment
• Attend individual counseling sessions with a licensed and approved substance abuse counselor
• Attend regular status review meetings with court staff, including a social service caseworker, defense attorney, and assistant district attorney
• Submit to random drug screens at least twice per week
• Gain, maintain, or improve employment options or enroll in school on a full-time basis
• Perform 80 hours of community service over the program period
• Pay $2000 towards the cost of treatment – to be paid over a 24 month period
• Pay any child support and restitution obligations
• Remain drug-free for a least 12 months prior to graduation
• Allow unannounced community policing visits to their home to check curfew
• Work toward a G.E.D. if not already a high school graduate
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE PARTICIPANT FAILS TO MEET THE CONDITIONS OF THE PROGRAM?
If the participant fails to abide by the conditions of the program the judge and the team hold the defendant accountable and sanctions will apply.
IF ATLANTIC JUDICIAL CIRCUIT DRUG COURT DID NOT EXIST, WHAT WOULD NORMALLY HAPPEN TO THIS PERSON?
He or she would be found guilty, serve time, or submit to supervision by an overworked probation officer. He or she would then promptly re-offend and repeat the cycle. While incarcerated, the offender would likely be exposed to an illicit prison drug trade.
With each cycle, the drug offender would dig a deeper hole for himself or herself and cost taxpayers more and more money. National statistics report that drug offenders are 60-80% likely to re-offend and be re-incarcerated.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR ATLANTIC JUDICIAL CIRCUIT DRUG COURT?
• Adults with active substance abuse and dependency problems who are charged with non-violent felony offenses. (For more details see contact information below)
• Participants usually have a long history of prior offenses
• Participants must have at least three years of probation or three years of a jail sentence arising from a current offense or violation of probation
• Applicants must be approved by the Drug or DUI Court team members after a review of their referral, a criminal background check by the ADA and a review of the participant’s A & D assessment results and comprehensive evaluation for the program has been discussed with treatment to determine if they are a good candidate for the program (if they have an addiction).
The following persons are not eligible for Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court:
• Those facing violent or sex-offender charges or gun-related charges
• Those with unresolved charges in other counties
• Those facing repeat convictions for the sale of illegal drugs and narcotics
• Those whose impairment would interfere with their ability to effectively participate and complete the program.
IS ATLANTIC JUDICIAL CIRCUIT DRUG COURT SUCCESSFUL?
Yes. The national rate of recidivism (repeat offenses) among substance dependent offenders is estimated at 60-80%. Recidivism among those completing the Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court program is approximately 19%. County statistics of Liberty, Long, Bryan, McIntosh, Evans, and Tattnall compare favorably to nation wide comparisons of similar programs.
According to a study released by the National Institute of Justice in 2003, from a sample of 17,000 drug court graduates nationwide, within one year of program graduation, only 16.4% had been rearrested and charged with a felony offense (Roman, Townsend, & Bhati, 2003).
In a study completed in August of 2011, SCCDC’s felony re-arrest rate was 5.77% and felony conviction rate was 3.85% for graduates of the program within one year of graduation.
The program works because participants are self-selecting and motivated, the standards are high and strict, the focus is on personal responsibility and accountability, and the treatment is individualized. In Liberty, Long, Bryan, McIntosh, Evans, and Tattnall County, Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court Participants attend 97% of all of their substance abuse treatments. The programs used by the Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court are evidenced based programs designed to address substance abuse, criminal thinking patterns, trauma related issues, and anger management.
HOW DOES ATLANTIC JUDICIAL CIRCUIT DRUG COURT HELP THE COMMUNITY?
* It saves money.
First, while the offender is in the program, he is not in jail. It costs taxpayers $45 per day to incarcerate an individual in the all Jails in the Atlantic Judicial Circuit which consist of Liberty, Long, Bryan, McIntosh, Evans & Tattnall, not including the cost of medical care if the individual has special medical needs, such as diabetes. In contrast, Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court costs taxpayers approximately $16.21 per day ($6.21 paid for through county budgets). Second, for each graduate of the Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court program, the number of days in the future that he or she would otherwise have spent in jail represents a savings of $29 per day
* It reduces crime.
Without the Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court, it is a near certainty that the offender would have committed some unknown number of future crimes, recycling back through the system. With the Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court, those crimes – and their costs to the community — don’t occur.
* It salvages lives and promotes citizenship.
The Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court is a means for us as a community to answer the imperative of common decency, in helping people who want help, ask for help, and are willing to work for it. It allows a person who has lost his or her sense of personal dignity, and who has become a liability to society, to regain that sense of worth and to become a productive citizen.
WHO RUNS ATLANTIC JUDICIAL CIRCUIT DRUG COURT AND WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court is under the jurisdiction of the Atlantic Judicial Circuit Accountability Courts For more information about Atlantic Judicial Circuit Drug Court, please contact:
Glenda Harriman, Coordinator
P.O. Box 2106
Hinesville, GA 31310
Phone: (912) 368-5897
Fax: (912) 877-0334