A designated judge handles all cases referred to the court. While the judge leads the team and has the final say as to monitoring, incentives, and sanctions, the team avails itself of information presented by case managers, treatment providers, probation officers, and other ancillary service providers who may
be working directly with the participant. Frequent status reviews before the judge are held throughout the duration of the drug-court program to provide immediate positive and negative consequences to participant behaviors.
Most drug courts utilize the services of the public defenders office to represent the participant in court and to ensure that their rights are protected. In a typical drug court, however, the participant is required to speak directly to the judge. The attorney, present as a part of the team, does not speak on behalf of the participant during the court proceeding. Defense attorneys in drug court adopt the principle that their clients are best served through a chance to face life drug-free and with the skills and opportunities necessary to be productive members of the community.
Prosecutors play a very vital role on the drug-court team. They represent the interests of the community and ensure that only eligible defendants are allowed into the program. In post-plea courts, they take a very supportive role
and function according to the philosophy that a community is best protected and served through intervention in the downward spiral of an addict's life and through helping him or her become a productive and drug-free member of the community.
Because specialty drug-treatment courts have become an institutionalized part of the judicial system in most of the jurisdictions where they operate, these systems have found it expedient to provide a coordinator to oversee the administrative aspects of running a drug court. The coordinator tends to be responsible for process coordination, funding issues, and management of information flowing to and from the court. They also serve as a liaison between the judge and many of the ancillary service providers associated with the court.
Depending on the jurisdiction, there may be one or several treatment providers serving the participants of the drug court. Unlike within the tradi tional model, treatment providers are active members of the team, participate in staffing of cases prior to the review hearings, recommend and enforce incentives and sanctions, share information concerning treatment compliance and drug-testing results with the court, and strive to educate the other members of the team on the basic aspects of addiction and how they affect the behavior of each participant.
Was this article helpful?