Maine's Drug Treatment Courts
What is a Drug Treatment Court?
The Maine Judicial Branch refers to its Drug Treatment Courts as "specialty dockets" in recognition of their unique focus on issues of substance abuse, mental illness, and criminal conduct. However, both in Maine and in most jurisdictions in the United States these dockets are referred to as Courts.
A Drug Treatment Court is a court docket providing strict accountability and specialized community-based treatment services to individuals with serious substance abuse disorders, a co-occurring mental illness, and a history of significant criminal conduct and/or the abuse or neglect of the children in their care. Accountability is achieved through judicial supervision including regular meetings with the presiding judge, the Court's case manager, and a probation officer if the Drug Treatment Court participant is on probation. If the individual's children have an open case with Child Protective Services, a Department of Health and Human Services caseworker is also involved. Frequent, random, and observed drug and alcohol testing is required. The positive behavior of the participant is rewarded while noncompliant behavior is sanctioned. Participation in this docket is voluntary.
The State of Maine has nine specialty dockets based on the drug treatment court model: five Adult Drug Treatment Courts, three Family Treatment Drug Courts, and one Co-Occurring Disorders and Veterans Court. See the following web pages for an expanded description of each docket type.
What are the goals of Drug Treatment Courts?
- Reduce alcohol and drug abuse and dependency as well as any co-occurring symptoms;
- Enhance community safety by reducing criminal recidivism;
- Protect the best interests of children whose parents' substance abuse or co-occurring disorders have endangered their welfare;
- Increase personal, familial and societal accountability of participants; and
- Develop in participants the necessary personal, familial and societal assets and skills to become productive citizens through, for example, employment, positive community activities, and healthy and safe family relationships.
What is the admission process for Drug Treatment Courts?
As described in the following webpages for each type of Drug Treatment Court, referrals for admission can come from any source and must be approved by the presiding judge through consultation with the multidisciplinary team for each docket. While the duration of participation varies, participation typically requires a duration of a minimum of one year and usually longer depending on progress.