Drug Court FAQ

Do drug courts work?

Since inception in 1989, American University reports that more than 200,000 participants have participated in drug court programs. The Government Accounting Office in 1997 reported that 71% of all offenders entering drug courts since 1989 have successfully completed their program or are currently active in a program.

Colombia University's National Center on Addiction of Substance Abuse (CASA) concluded in a 2000 study that drug courts provide the most comprehensive and effective control of the drug-using offender's criminality and drug usage while under the court's jurisdiction. The CASA report concluded; drug courts provide closer, more comprehensive supervision and much more frequent drug testing and monitoring during the program than other forms of community supervision. More importantly, drug use and criminal behavior are substantially reduced while offenders are participating in drug court.

Do drug courts save money?

The National Association of Drug Court Professionals presented the following national data. The incarceration of drug abusing offenders costs between $20,000 and $50,00 per person, per year. The capital cost of building a prison cell can be as much as $80,000. As an alternative, a comprehensive drug court system typically costs less then $2,500 annually for each participant.

Are drug courts "Soft on Crime"?

Maine's Adult Drug Treatment Court requires:

  • All participants be subject to random and frequent drug/alcohol testing
  • Daily phone contact and weekly meetings with an Adherence Case Manager
  • Weekly attendance in an intensive treatment program
  • Frequent meetings and interaction with Probation Officers and local law enforcement
  • All participants be subject to random and frequent searches of their person, vehicle and home
  • Weekly appearances before the drug court judge who will enforce and reward client participation and compliance
  • Travel constraints and curfews
  • Participants to maintain gainful employment and/or participation in an approved educational program
  • Weekly attendance of self-help meetings (AA & NA)

All noncompliance with the drug court program is met with immediate sanctions by the Judge, which can include terms of incarceration in response to violations.

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 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 also means different programs for men and women. DSAT treatment was developed specifically for adults who have broken the law and have alcohol or other drug issues. It is based on building critical life skills and has proven to be an effective way of helping people change their behaviors.