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Drug Court FAQs

Q:  How does Drug Court work?

A:  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 (one year for Juvenile Drug Court).  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.

 

Q:  What does a drug court participant have to do while in Drug Court?

A:  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.

 

Q:  Who determines who is eligible for Drug Court?

A:  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.

 

Q:  Who is on the Drug Court Team?

A:  The Drug Court team consists of the Drug Court Judge, the Drug Court Prosecutor and Defense Attorney, and the Drug Court Coordinator.

 

Q:  How long does Drug Court last?

A:  The minimum term for Adult Drug Court is two years.  The minimum term for Juvenile Drug Court is one year.  Depending on a person's progress, the term could be extended.

 

Q: How much does Drug Court cost?

A:  There is a $500 administrative fee that all participants must pay in Adult Drug Court.  There is no fee for Juvenile Drug Court.   In addition, Drug Court participants must pay full restitution to the victim of the crime with which they are charged.

 

Q:  What if a participant can't afford to pay for the treatment?

A:  There is a State-supported fund called the Criminal Justice Drug Treatment Account that will help pay for treatment costs, even if the participant needs to have in-patient treatment. It may cover all costs of treatment.  A participant's private insurance may also cover treatment costs.

 

Q:  Can people charged with violent crimes or sex crimes participate in Drug Court?

A:  No.

 

Q:  This sounds like a lot of money to be spending on a bunch of criminals.  Is it worth it?

A:  Studies by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) show that Drug Court is cost effective, when compared to prison and other alternative programs.  Drug Court graduates are less likely to commit new crimes, saving all of us money.  There are links to the WSIPP studies on the Drug Court main page.

 

Q:  This sounds like you'll be holding a lot of extra court hearings.  How many more people did Island County have to hire to run a drug court?

A:  Island County expanded its part-time Juvenile Drug Court coordinator from half-time to full-time to manage Adult Drug Court.  Prosecutors, Judges, Clerks, and other all have agreed to participate without adding to existing staffing.

 

Q:  I know someone who would benefit from Drug Court.  Who should I contact for more information?

A:  You can contact the Island County Drug Court Coordinator at 360-679-7325.  Or, contact the deputy prosecutor who is responsible for prosecuting the pending criminal case at 360-679-7363.