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BARBOUR COUNTY DRUG COURT PROGRAM
The ultimate key to sustainability for any drug court is planning to become an integral and proven approach to the drug and alcohol program, rather than an interesting experiment. Long before accepting the first drug court participant, drug court teams should lay the foundation for sustainability through careful and strategic planning. Such planning includes considerations of structure and scale, organization and participation and, of course, funding. When developing a long-term sustainability strategy, experienced practitioners suggest that jurisdictions start by developing a clear vision of their desired drug court model and an analysis of each necessary program component. Dissecting the drug court into smaller components serves a two-fold purpose. First, it helps the drug court team understand what facilities or services are needed to meet client needs. Second, once there is a clear understanding of each component within the drug court program, a foundation is laid for the process of developing strategies to secure each component. Only then should a planning committee continue the process by determining how each component may be funded or supported.
The primary focus of the planning process should be addressing the needs of the target populations and the community. Drug court will need to continue exercising creativity and flexibility in securing funding sources over the lifetime of the program. Representatives from the state administrative office of the court, representatives from state and local alcohol and drug agencies, regional drug court managers, local drug coordinators, judges, and interdisciplinary drug court team members should all participate in the development of sustainability plan to ensure the prolonged existence of the drug court.
Many drug courts begin with initial seed money in the form of federal grant. However, as soon a court applies for a grant, thought must also be given to sustaining the drug court program beyond grant funding. Federal funding opportunities are valuable resources that can be a vital source for initial program development, program evaluation, and training of drug court practitioners. Grants can provide a window of time to demonstrate positive results and practitioners. Grants can provide a window of time to demonstrate positive results and publicize community impact. However, grants can impose limitatins on expanding courts to an optimum capability. Grants also may include requirements that may not fit the community or the proposed target population in need of services. As all federal resource are limited in time and scope, it is critical that state and local resources are evaluated and incorporated into the strategic plan.
Community mapping identifies opportunities for building new resources. Once a plan is developed, courts should clearly identify all program cost elements and remains vigilant about examining potential areas for cost reductions. Programs administration and stakeholders must be alert to circumstances that may affect current or future funding opportunities and craft contingency plans. Even if a drug court has a strategic funding plan, this plan must be reviewed and updated on a yearly basis to respond to changing circumstances and allow for the growth of the drug court. Initial planning effort or to build the quality and capability of existing drug courts so they may continue to provide solutions for the community and the justice systems for years to come.
The drug court plan for implementing cost-effective local drug court systems for adults. The courts must provide a local action plan for implementing cost-effective drug court systems, including developing information-sharing systems to ensure that county actions are fully coordinated, and to provide data for measuriing the success of the local action plan in achieving its goal. Acceptable uses of the funds include drug coordinators, case managements, training, drug testing, treatment, and transportation.
However, when an economic downturn resulted in drastic reductions in tax revenues, financial support for drug court was seriously threatened. We had to depend on the grants to fund drug court.
To obtain certification, drug court must demonstrate compliance with the drug court statute, drug court rules, and the Ten Key Components. The certification procedures examine six key areas including application procedures, administration, the Ten Key Components, program management, drug court operations, facilities, fiscal management, and personal management. Drug court that demonstrate compliance with each of those areas may receive a certificate of approval to operate as a certified drug court.
The drug court statue authorized certified drug courts to assess and collect a user fee of up to $500.00 per referral to cover drug court services including screening for eligibility, clinical assessment, education, referral service coordination, case management, and other appropriate services.
Once a defendant has been identified as a possible candidate for drug treatment, the case is sent to a hub court that has the resources to conduct a more extensive assessment. All defendants referred for an assessment are administered a comprehensive evaluation conducted to determine if they have an addiction and their legal eligibility to participate in the program.
Drug court works with other partner agencies to provide staff, resources, and services to drug treatment courts, based on the understanding that these agencies would be providing services to drug court participants including attorneys, law enforcements, various treatment providers and case managers.
The key for drug courts to obtain local funds is to develop strong relationships with local governmental officials and present an effective case for the need for drug courts by demonstrating the economic benefit to the local community. Other possible funding sources on the local level include abandoned property funds, abandoned trust funds, punitive damage awards, and non-dispersed class actions funds. In developing drug court funding strategies, some jurisdictions have successfully looked to local, county, and municipal government funding or in-kind stuff. In many instances, there are funding opportunities that have gone untapped or assessment systems that could be revised to support critical local intervention efforts.
In many drug courts, offender user fees have been utilized to support treatment, testing, supervision, and assessment of drug court participants. Research demonstrated the value of client fees for drug court participants in the that paying fees for treatment teaches offenders accountability and responsibility in the treatment process. These fees may be imposed on a sliding scale, or clients may be given until the end of the program or the end of probationary period to pay for their participation. Fees may also be reduced for clients who participation in extra treatment or support meetings, or reduced for performing additional community service. There may also be monetary sanctions for missed groups that can be given to nonprofit providers to support incentive systems. Participants who cannot pay for services or supervision can be put through educational and vocational rehabilitation programs before being found by the court to be truly indigent. In some courts, if an individual is unable to pay, indigent status is verified by the court and the client is assessed to determine what other positive contribution the client can make to the program, the court, or the community.
Requiring each participant to pay a fee to help offset part of the cost of the program is not only positive for participants. It also helps convince stakeholders, funding sources, and the community of the program’s value. Restitution and court cost obligations that are met at higher rate may impact program acceptability by victims groups and court administration.
Drug Courts uses several incentives to assure participates’ compliance; however, monetary incentives have shown the most success. Each participant receive a voucher directly from the judge in the amount of fee reduction earned for that appearance. The participates can either give the voucher to the case manager at the next visit, or wait until to acquire several vouchers and turn them all in at once. A participate must have all fees paid in full to advance to the next phase and to graduate from the program. Having the vouchers gives the client something tangible earned through program compliance. This program of incentives not only assists the participant in being compliant, but also help sustain the program.
Drug courts are only effective when developed and operated by multidisciplinary teams. The contribution of these local agencies and organizations creates a sustainable environment for the drug court. Justice agencies often provide staff, financial resources, or in-kind services to drug courts because of their belief in the successfulness of the drug court model. These agencies and organizations are often serving these individuals already, although drug court requires a greater intensity of services than is regularly provided, it is understood that this will improve.
Ensuring long-term sustainability of a drug court requires more than securing lasting funding sources. To truly ensure the longevity of a drug court program, teams must work to build program capability, evaluate program effectiveness, and engage in long-term anticipatory planning. Drug court programs must also undertake community outreach and education efforts. Finally, drug court programs must nurture the continued commitment and expertise of drug court team member and must provide for staff transition and renewal.
Barbour County Drug Court needs to include the community outreach and education efforts. Educating the community about reductions in recidivism and system-wide cost savings can set the stage for the long-term community commitment and sustainable funding. Finally, to ensure longevity, drug courts must nurture the continued commitment of drug court team members. Drug court programs should also provide regular training for drug court staff members. Drug court program should also develop methods to accommodate staff transition and renewal. Drug court programs need to foster team member commitment and expertise.
Barbour County Drug Court is only operating on grant fund monies. ervention efforts.
Drug Courts uses several incentives to assure participates’ compliance; however, monetary incentives have shown the most success. Each participant receive a vouc