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Tennessee Recovery Courts Work!
It works if you work it!
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Together we can!
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Recovery Court = Hope!
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  • Tennessee Recovery Courts Work!
  • It works if you work it!
  • Together we can!
  • Recovery Court = Hope!

What Are Drug Courts?

What Are Drug Courts?

A drug court is a special court given the responsibility to handle cases involving offenders with substance use disorders through comprehensive supervision, drug testing, treatment services, and immediate sanctions and incentives. In Tennessee we refer to them as recovery courts, acknowledging the holistic nature of the recovery court intervention.

Recovery courts bring the full weight of all intervenors (judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, substance abuse treatment specialists, probation officers, law enforcement, and correctional personnel, educational and vocational experts, community leaders and others) to bear to provide accountability and support to individuals willing and eligible for recovery court.

In addition, recovery courts ensure consistency in judicial decision-making and enhance the coordination of agencies and resources, increasing the cost effectiveness of programs.

Are All Recovery Courts the Same?

Are All Recovery Courts the Same?

Certified recovery courts in Tennessee follow the 10 Key Components established in 1997. These components provide general guidelines for the structure and implementation of recovery courts. In the past few years, evidence-based standards have been developed to provide further guidance to recovery courts, and TADCP and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (the department with recovery court oversight in Tennessee) encourage implementation of these standards. Past that, the design and structure are developed at the local level to reflect the unique strengths, circumstances and capacities of each community. 

Many sectors of the community are involved in the planning and implementation process of a recovery court including: criminal justice, treatment, law enforcement, educational and community anti-drug organizations.  Not only do recovery courts address issues in the criminal justice arena, but family dependency courts, DUI drug courts, juvenile drug courts, veteran’s treatment courts, reentry courts and mental health courts are all built around the recovery court model.  In these courts, issues such as juvenile delinquency, child abuse and neglect and repeat drunk driving are all addressed.  Offenders are treated holistically and smoothly reintegrated into society in these courts.

Do Recovery Courts Work?

Do Recovery Courts Work?

Two decades of research and evaluation touting the success and effectiveness of recovery courts are available today. If you are interested in learning more about the research, the best place to find quality overviews is at http://www.nadcp.org/learn/facts-and-figures.

Who is Eligible for Recovery Court?

Who is Eligible for Recovery Court?

Recovery courts started out as diversionary programs dealing with less-serious offenders typically charged with simple drug possession or under the influence charges.

Continued evaluation and research on the program and cost effectiveness of recovery courts has found that individuals with a significant substance use disorder and a longer history of criminal offenses related to drug use/abuse are the best candidates for recovery courts. This is because of the intense, long-term supervision inherent in the recovery court model. Individuals with less serious drug-related charges are often better served through less intensive supervision with a shorter treatment schedule. Recovery courts provide thorough screening and assessment of potential recovery court participants to make this determination.

While eligibility is determined by each recovery court individually, a person is typically eligible if s/he has criminal charges that relate to a substance use disorder (and they don’t have to be drug-specific charges, but could be forgery, theft, etc.…charges that relate to the substance use), a substance use disorder, is able to participate in all program requirements, and resides in the area in which the recovery court has jurisdiction. Violent offenders are not typically eligible (although exceptions are made for veterans seeking help from veteran’s treatment courts). For more information about eligibility for a specific recovery court, contact that program. Contact information is under the recovery court director menu.

Do Recovery Courts Save Money?

Do Recovery Courts Save Money?

The short answer is yes, especially when recovery courts focus on the more high need (intensive treatment) and high risk (those with more serious offenses related to their substance use/abuse) individuals. Savings diminish when recovery courts are used for individuals committing less serious crimes and with less treatment needs. For more information, please visit http://www.nadcp.org/learn/facts-and-figures.

For more information and resources, visit the National Drug Court Resource Center at http://www.ndcrc.org or call us at 615-939-2872.