The Ada County Drug Court in Idaho is a pre-adjudication drug court program that provides court-supervised, community-based outpatient drug treatment and case management services to felony drug offenders. The goals of the drug court program are to increase offender accountability, decrease the likelihood of recidivism, and reduce drug dependency. The court has been accepting clients since 1999.
To be eligible for the drug treatment program, offenders must have been charged with a felony drug or drug-related offense. Offenders are ineligible if they a) have more than one prior felony conviction or felony drug possession charge; b) were convicted of sex, dealing/distribution, or a violent crime; c) have not admitted guilt; d) were assessed low risk; or e) lived outside of the county.
The Ada County Drug Court program consists of four phases of outpatient treatment for a minimum of 1 year. Each treatment phase is about 3 months, depending on an individual's progress. Throughout the four phases, participants are assisted or provided with referrals for educational services, skills assessments, vocational training, and job placements. Participants also attend group sessions, individual therapy, drug abuse education classes, and other rehabilitative activities.
Phase 1 requires twice-weekly urine testing and participation in cognitive self-change, drug abuse education, and process groups. Phase 2 requires weekly urine testing, attending individual treatment sessions, and completion of cognitive and drug abuse relapse packets. Phase 3 requires weekly urine testing and personalized treatment, which is focused on living in recovery. Finally, Phase 4 requires weekly urine testing and completion of a relapse prevention treatment plan, using the skills learned in treatment.
In addition to the community-based drug treatment services and regular drug tests, drug court program participants have occasional status review hearings with the drug court judge, and are subject to home visits. Graduates of the program are able to participate in alumni activities, relapse prevention, and other treatment services. To graduate from the drug court, program participants must a) successfully complete all treatment requirements; b) have 6 months of negative drug tests, c) obtain full-time employment or enroll in school full time; d) repay any restitution owed in full; and e) obtain, or initiate steps to obtain, a GED (if not already a high school graduate).
According to Shaffer (2010), drug court programs are based on the theoretical perspective of therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ). In applying TJ to drug courts, interactions between judicial staff and defendants, the structure and organization of the court proceedings, and legal rules and policies are all dealt with in a manner that encourages health and positive growth. TJ is applicable to drug court programs because the aim is to improve the lives of drug users. However, Shaffer cautions that while TJ is relevant to drug court programs, it does not prescribe what types of treatment should be provided to offenders outside of the courtroom setting.