Drug Treatment Court FAQ

Do drug courts save money?

Since the beginning of the initial Drug Treatment Court in 1989, a large volume of high quality research has demonstrated that, practiced with fidelity to the Drug Treatment Court model, these courts improve retention in treatment thus supporting recovery, significantly reduce recidivism, improve public safety, and result in dramatic cost savings and cost avoidance to the criminal justice and the public health systems.

Are drug courts "Soft on Crime"?
  • These dockets require participation in a rigorous program with a high degree of accountability. 
  • All participants are subject to random, frequent, and observed drug and alcohol testing.
  • There is daily phone contact and weekly meetings with the Court's case manager.
  • All participants attend intensive treatment programs as well as 12-step and other types of self-help groups.
  • If on probation, participants continue to meet with their probation officers.
  • All participants be subject to random and frequent searches of their person, vehicle and home.
  • The Drug Treatment Court judge meets weekly or every other week with all participants and enforces and rewards client participation and compliance.
  • Dependent on progress, participants may be restricted to their county of residence and have to abide by curfews.
  • Participants must maintain gainful employment, attend an approved educational program, or perform community services.
  • Noncompliance with the Drug Treatment Court is met with immediate sanctions by the judge, which may include short terms of incarceration in response to violations.
  • If a participant is ultimately unsuccessful in the Court, he or she will be   required to serve the significant prison sentence agreed upon at     admission
  • The great majority of prisoners who have not participated in a Drug Treatment Court are released back into the community after completing their sentences, often without treatment.  The relapse rate for these former prisoners is very high.
What can a participant expect to receive for substance abuse treatment while in Maine's Drug Court?

Differential Substance Abuse Treatment (DSAT) is a cognitive behavioral treatment model developed and funded through the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services and is provided to the Adult Drug Treatment Court by local nonprofit substance abuse treatment agencies licensed by the state. DSAT is an outpatient group treatment program that provides specialized treatment for people who have committed crimes and have alcohol and/or other drug abuse problems. Differential means that the amount of treatment provided matches each individual's needs based on the seriousness of the problem. This may also mean different programs for men and women. DSAT seeks to build critical life skills and has proven to be an effective way of helping people change their behaviors.

For participants in the Co-Occurring Disorders and Veterans Court and the Family Treatment Drug Court, a range outpatient treatment services to address substance abuse, mental illness, and trauma.

Treatment services are paid for by the State of Maine, MaineCare, other insurance, or out of pocket depending on income.