Adult Treatment and Recovery Courts
The Maine Treatment and Recovery Courts (TRC) are specialty dockets for eligible individuals whose involvement with the criminal justice system has been fueled by a serious substance use disorder (drugs and/or alcohol).
Individuals are admitted to a TRC after entering into a plea agreement and accepting responsibility for their conduct. Entry into a TRC is voluntary.
Key components of the program
- Intensive judicial oversight that includes regular status hearings before the presiding judge;
- Multi-disciplinary treatment team that includes the presiding judge, prosecutor, defense lawyer, probation officer, case manager, treatment provider, law enforcement officer, and coordinator, all of whom have received specialized training;
- Comprehensive, individualized treatment plans, including medically assisted treatment (MAT), if appropriate;
- Community supervision;
- Case management to help the participant with scheduling, housing, and employment;
- Frequent, random, and observed drug testing;
- Strict accountability and sanctions for noncompliance; and
- Incentives for compliance and an opportunity to progress to program completion.
Participants who successfully complete the program will receive the successful completion sentence in their plea agreement. Participants who are expelled or withdraw from the program will receive the unsuccessful outcome sentence in their plea agreement.
Locations and Case Manager Contact
|County||Court & Case Manager||Phone|
|Androscoggin||Androscoggin County Superior Court – Auburn
|Cumberland||Cumberland County Superior Court — Portland
Maine Pretrial Services
|Hancock||Hancock County Superior Court — Ellsworth
Maine Pretrial Services
|Penobscot||Penobscot County Superior Court Judicial Center — Bangor
Maine Pretrial Services
|Washington||Machias & Calais District Courts
Maine Pretrial Services
|York||York County Superior Court— Alfred
Maine Pretrial Services
- 18 years of age or older;
- Serious criminal charge(s) or probation violation(s);
- Serious substance use disorder involving drugs and/or alcohol;
- Significant risk of future criminal conduct without intervention; and
- Poor prognosis for successful treatment of the substance use disorder without supervised intervention.
Generally, participants must live in the county of the TRC to which they apply. If they do not, participants must have reliable transportation in order to meet frequently with their case manager, treatment service providers, law enforcement, and attend court. If the charges arose in another county, the District Attorney from that county must agree to transfer the case to the county with the TRC. A request for transfer should be noted on the Treatment Court Referral Form (CR-234). The referral form may be submitted by anyone, but usually is submitted by the defense lawyer or probation officer.
Medical marijuana use
TRCs receive federal funding and must adhere to federal regulations regarding medical marijuana. Medical marijuana may not be used while participating in a TRC and participants with a medical marijuana card must agree to stop using marijuana or marijuana products during their time in TRC.
When a Defendant or Probationer May Apply
A Treatment Court Referral Form (CR-234) may be submitted at any stage of the criminal case, including:
- Bail hearing; or
- Dispositional conference.
A referral will not be considered after a trial and a finding of guilty but the defendant may ask that TRC be included in the sentence if they meet the entry criteria.
- Download, print, and fill out the Treatment Court Referral Form (CR-234) and submit to the clerk’s office where the charges are pending. The clerk’s office can also provide paper copies of the referral form and other treatment court forms.
Anyone can submit a referral form, including a lawyer, family member, probation officer, law enforcement officer, jail personnel, or the defendant. Questions about completing the referral form should be directed to the case manager for the specific TRC. See Locations and Case Manager Contact information on this page.
- After the referral form is submitted, the case manager for the specific TRC will gather all necessary information to be reviewed by the TRC team.
The District Attorney's office will verify information on the applicant's pending charge(s) and criminal history.
The case manager will complete an initial screening, including a referral to a treatment provider for an assessment. The assessment is done at no cost to the applicant.
- The TRC team then reviews all required information to determine:
- If the applicant is legally eligible;
- If the applicant is considered high-risk and high-need; and
- Whether services are available to treat the applicant.
- If the team recommends admitting the applicant to the TRC, the District Attorney's office contacts the applicant’s lawyer regarding bail conditions and a plea agreement.
- The applicant’s lawyer reviews the plea agreement and other program documents with the applicant. Program documents include:
- Entry/Bail Contract and Order Admitting Defendant into MTC (CR-235);
- Maine Treatment Court Plea Agreement and Waiver of Rights (CR-238);
- Maine Treatment Court Participant Testing Policy (CR-240);
- Authorization to Release Information Within the MTC Teams (CR-236);
- Maine Treatment Court Prohibited Substances Agreement (CR-248); and
- Maine Treatment Court Physician and Pharmacy Conditions (CR-251).
Before final admission, defense counsel reviews the preliminary treatment plan and program expectations with the applicant. If the applicant confirms his or her interest in proceeding, the applicant appears before the TRC judge with defense counsel for an admission hearing.
Upon admission, the participant signs the plea agreement, bail contract, other program documents, and an Authorization to Release Information Within the MTC Teams (CR-236). This release is required so that information may be shared with TRC team members throughout the course of the defendant’s participation in the TRC.
Entry into a TRC is voluntary. Once admitted, the participant must have permission of the presiding judge to leave the program.
Meeting with a Lawyer before Final Admission
All eligible participants are required to meet with their lawyer, or, if they are unrepresented, with a court-appointed lawyer, before final admission to a TRC to make sure they understand the potential consequences of waiving certain procedural rights in order to participate in the TRC.
Waiver of Confidentiality Concerning Substance Abuse Diagnosis and Treatment
In addition to waiving certain procedural rights, the defendant must voluntarily and knowingly consent to waive all rights of confidentiality established by federal and state laws associated with substance use disorder diagnosis and treatment (42 CFR Part 2) and mental health diagnosis and treatment in order to facilitate judicial supervision and the sharing of information among treatment providers, the TRC team, and the court.
If an Applicant is Not Admitted
Because of the intensive nature of the program, the TRC can serve only a limited number of participants at a time. Not every applicant who may be eligible or want to participate will be admitted. The court may exclude any applicant:
- Deemed to present a substantial danger to his or her victim or to the community;
- Deemed to present a substantial risk to the integrity of the judicial process; or
- If there is a lack of services to address the applicant’s needs.
If the team declines to recommend an applicant for admission, a letter of explanation will be provided. The applicant may request reconsideration in writing, including additional relevant information that was not included in the original referral to assist the team in reviewing its prior decision. The request is submitted to the clerk of the specific TRC.
Requirements of Participants
The TRC program is rigorous and may seem overwhelming at first. The majority of participants find that the requirements can be managed and are beneficial to recovery.
These requirements include:
- Meeting with the judge and the TRC team every week or every other week along with other participants at the courthouse to discuss progress;
- Meeting weekly with the court case manager for check-ins;
- Providing urine samples for random and observed drug and alcohol testing no fewer than two times per week;
- Attending treatment as recommended by the treatment provider;
- Attending community recovery support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous as recommended by the treatment provider;
- Taking all medication as prescribed;
- Abstaining entirely from alcohol and drugs, unless the drug is prescribed;
- Complying with nightly curfews;
- Changing the people, places, and things that contribute to relapse;
- Avoiding places where alcohol or cannabis is served or drugs are being used;
- Working, attending an approved educational program, or performing community service; and
- Making payments on any past or current restitution, fines, child support, and/or treatment co-payments.
Participants progress through the TRC program in five highly-structured, court-supervised phases.
- Phase 1: Orientation, engagement, and stabilization—minimum length 30 days
- Phase 2: Sobriety and abstinence—minimum length 90 days
- Phase 3: Maintenance and relapse prevention—minimum length 90 days
- Phase 4: Maintenance and community involvement—minimum length 90 days
- Phase 5: Early recovery and alumni—minimum length 90 days.
During phase 1, participants will spend a minimum of six to twelve hours per week on program activities. As the participant progresses through the program, requirements change and the minimum number of hours may be reduced.
More information on the program can be found in the Maine Treatment Court Participant Handbook, including:
- Rules and expectations.
- Treatment services.
- Program phases.
- Program responses for noncompliance and compliance.