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Drug Court is a specialized court program designed to address the needs of individuals with substance abuse issues who are involved in the criminal justice system. It offers an alternative to traditional incarceration by focusing on rehabilitation, treatment, and accountability.  Drug court is available for felony cases in each county in the 19th Judicial Circuit – St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee, and Indian River.
How Does Drug Court Work?

1.     Assessment and Eligibility: Participants are assessed for their eligibility based on factors such as willingness to participate in the program and statutory criteria.  A participant’s case may come into the program as either a diversion or a condition of probation.
2.     Treatment Plan: Upon acceptance into the program, participants work with a team that includes judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, treatment providers, and probation officers to develop an individualized treatment plan.
3.     Regular Court Hearings: Participants attend regular court hearings where their progress is reviewed by the judge. Compliance with treatment, drug testing, and other program requirements is monitored closely.
4.     Support Services: Participants have access to a range of support services, including substance abuse treatment, counseling, vocational training, and education programs..
5.     Accountability: Participants are held accountable for their actions through a system of rewards and sanctions. Compliance with program requirements is rewarded with incentives, while non-compliance may result in sanctions such as increased court appearances or temporary incarceration.
6.     Graduation: Upon successful completion of the program, participants may have their charges dismissed or probation terminated early, and they are better equipped to lead a life free from substance abuse and criminal behavior.
Benefits of Drug Court

1.     Reduced Recidivism: Studies have shown that participants in drug court programs are less likely to reoffend compared to those who undergo traditional incarceration.
2.     Cost-Effectiveness: Drug court programs are often more cost-effective than traditional incarceration, as they reduce the burden on the criminal justice system and promote long-term recovery.
3.     Community Safety: By addressing the root causes of criminal behavior, drug court programs contribute to safer communities by reducing drug-related crimes.
4.     Treatment Access: Drug court programs provide access to comprehensive treatment services that address the underlying issues driving substance abuse.
5.     Restoration of Lives: Drug court offers participants an opportunity to rebuild their lives, repair relationships, and reintegrate into society as productive members.

Drug Court offers a compassionate and effective approach to addressing substance abuse within the criminal justice system. By prioritizing rehabilitation over punishment, it has proven to be a successful model for promoting recovery, reducing recidivism, and improving public safety.

Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing. SB 80/Chapter 2006-232, Laws of Florida (Public Records Law Regarding E-mail).
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