The Tennessee Drug Court Treatment Act was originally signed into law July of 2003, which officially established a “Drug Court Advisory Committee” and a funding stream. Oversight of the recovery court program is through the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
Recovery courts are judicially-supervised court dockets that reduce correctional costs, protect community safety and improve public welfare. In treatment courts, non-violent, drug-addicted individuals remain in treatment for long periods of time while under close supervision. Treatment court participants must meet their obligations to themselves, their families and society. To ensure accountability, they are regularly and randomly tested for drug use, required to appear frequently in court for the judge to review their progress, rewarded for doing well and sanctioned for not adhering to program obligations. A treatment team is responsible for implementing daily operations of a specialized docket. The treatment team may include, but is not limited to, the following members: a judge, prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, coordinator, probation officer, licensed treatment provider and law enforcement.
Recovery courts are evidence-based programs with extensive research to support their effectiveness at reducing criminal behavior and illicit drug use. They all follow the same basic recovery court model, with minor adjustments based on the needs of the population served. Click HERE for more information on the research behind recovery courts.
Adult Recovery Drug Court
An adult drug court is a specially designed court calendar – or docket – with a goal to achieve a reduction in recidivism and substance abuse among drug-involved adult offenders in the community. An adult drug court seeks to increase the offender’s likelihood of successful recovery through continuous, intense judicially-supervised treatment, mandatory periodic drug testing, community supervision and use of appropriate sanctions and other rehabilitation services.
Juvenile Recovery Drug Court
A juvenile drug court is a docket within a juvenile court, to which selected delinquency cases and in some instances status offenders, are referred for handling by a designated judge. The youth referred to this docket are identified as having problems with alcohol and/or other drugs. During the program, the juvenile treatment court team meets frequently (often weekly), determining how best to address the substance abuse and related problems of the youth and his or her family that have brought the youth into contact with the justice system.
Family Treatment Court
Family dependency treatment court is a juvenile or family court docket, for which selected abuse, neglect and dependency cases are identified, when parental substance abuse is a primary factor. Judges, attorneys, child protection services and treatment personnel unite with the goal of providing safe, nurturing and permanent homes for children while simultaneously providing parents the necessary support and services to become drug and alcohol abstinent. Family dependency treatment courts aid parents in regaining control of their lives and promote long-term stabilized recovery to enhance the possibility of family reunification within mandatory legal timeframes.
Mental Health Treatment Court
Modeled after drug courts and developed in response to the overrepresentation of people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system, mental health courts divert select defendants with mental illnesses into judicially-supervised, community-based treatment. Defendants are invited to participate in the mental health court following a specialized screening and assessment. For those who agree to the terms and conditions of community-based supervision, a team of court staff and mental health professionals works together to develop treatment plans and supervise participants in the community.
A DWI court is a distinct post-conviction court system dedicated to changing the behavior of the alcohol-dependent repeat offender arrested for driving while impaired (DWI). The goal of the DWI court is to protect public safety by using the drug court model to address the root cause of impaired driving – alcohol and other drugs of abuse. Variants of DWI courts include drug courts that also take DWI offenders, which are commonly referred to as “hybrid” DUI courts or DUI/drug courts. DWI courts often enhance their close monitoring of offenders using home and field visits, as well as technological innovations such as Ignition Interlock devices and transdermal alcohol detection devices.
Veterans Treatment Court
Veterans treatment courts are hybrid drug and mental health courts that use the recovery drug court model to serve veterans struggling with addiction, serious mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders. They promote sobriety, recovery and stability through a coordinated response that involves cooperation and collaboration with the traditional partners found in drug and mental health courts, with the addition of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care networks, the Veterans’ Benefits Administration, volunteer veteran mentors and veterans and veterans’ family support organizations. The veterans treatment court model uses volunteer veteran mentors and veterans’ family support organizations to help defendants engage in treatment and counseling, as well as partners with local Veterans Affairs offices to ensure that participants receive proper benefits.