Drug Court & Family Treatment Court
Therapeutic courts are programs that offer a rehabilitative and treatment-centered approach to individuals charged with a crime who also suffer from a substance use disorder. The Drug Court team consists of a partnership between treatment providers, the prosecutor, defense counsel, probation, and judges.
There are two therapeutic court programs in Island County: Adult Drug Court and Family Treatment Court. In drug courts, participants have been charged with a criminal offense (most commonly property and drug possession crimes) and have been clinically diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD). The prosecutor's office reviews incoming cases for a causal connection between the defendant's substance abuse and the current charges, and screens out those who have a history of violent offenses. Participants commit to the Drug Court Program, and if they successfully graduate, the drug court case charges are dismissed with prejudice, leaving them without a conviction on the drug court matters. The program takes between 18 months and three years to complete, and involves regular drug testing, SUD treatment and mental health counseling, community service, and involvement in recovery groups.
In Family Treatment Court, participants are the subject of a dependency action (their parental rights are in jeopardy) and have been clinically diagnosed with a substance use disorder. Family Treatment Court offers SUD treatment, as well as access to education and therapy to address parental deficiencies. If a participant successfully completes the program and graduates from FTC, the dependency action is dismissed and the parent regains custody of their child(ren).
Eligibility for Drug Court Program
- Must be diagnosed as having a substance use disorder (SUD).
- Alleged criminal offense occurred after July 1, 1998.
- Eligible for Chemical Dependency Disposition alternative and/or other funding to cover the costs of treatment.
- How does Drug Court work?
Drug Court is for people charged with non-violent felonies whose drug addiction or dependency was a factor in the commission of their crimes. Participants must admit to the truth of all the evidence against them, in exchange for a two-year pre-trial treatment program. The treatment includes many restrictions on participants' daily activities, certified drug treatment and weekly drug testing, and close monitoring by a Drug Court judge.
A successful participant could get the charges against him or her dismissed at the conclusion of the program.
Failure to meet the program goals will result in termination, and automatic conviction and sentence to jail on the original charges.
- What does a drug court participant have to do while in Drug Court?
Drug Court participants must comply with numerous restrictions, as well as actively make progress in treating their addictions. At a minimum, participants must attend Drug Court every other week, they must obtain treatment according to a treatment plan prepared by a certified drug dependency treatment provider. Drug Court participants must participate in self-help groups, like Narcotics Anonymous. Drug Court participants must take random drug tests at least once a week. Participants, of course, must remain clean and sober, avoid contact with known drug users, and obey all laws. For all terms and conditions, review the Drug Court Procedures Manual, and the forms on our drug court page.
- Who determines who is eligible for Drug Court?
When a defendant asks to be considered for Drug Court, the prosecutor does initial screening for prospective participants. If the prosecutor determines the defendant is eligible for Drug Court, the entire Drug Court team will evaluate the defendant.