OVERVIEW OF DRUG COURTS
Drug courts are specialized courts handling drug-related offenses. Nez Perce County currently has a Drug Court for some felony drug offenses.
The first drug court was established in Dade County, Florida, in 1989. A group of concerned Miami leaders noticed the criminal justice system was unable to adequately address drug addiction or combat the crime that this problem causes. Based on their successful efforts, Drug Court systems are being set up all across the nation.
A drug court requires intensive monitoring of the participant and frequent court appearances for the purposes of providing constant and immediate accountability for the participant. The court process differs significantly from the traditional court process. In the traditional court process a defendant would be sentenced and given a list of probation conditions and guidelines, a probation officer would monitor compliance with these items, and the probationer would only be before the sentencing court if they violated the conditions sufficiently for the probation officer to believe some sanction needed to be imposed by the court. Frequently, the response to a probation violation in the traditional court setting could take several weeks to several months after the violation occurred. In contrast, a Drug Court participant is constantly before the court during the term of their probation for status checks. Before each court session, the case is reviewed by a Drug Court team. The team consists of the presiding judge, the probation officer, the treatment provider or providers (substance abuse treatment provider and/or mental health treatment provider), a prosecutor, a defense attorney, and any other people that are tied to the defendant's treatment program. The team discusses the progress of the participant and determines if rewards or sanctions should be imposed. They then attempt to reach a consensus on what approach the judge should take with the participant, including a consensus on any rewards or sanctions which should be imposed. The court appearance of the participant is held in open court with the other participants present.
IDAHO DRUG COURT ACT
In 2000, the Idaho Legislature enacted the Idaho Drug Court Act and special funding to increase the number of and effectiveness of drug courts in Idaho.
NEZ PERCE COUNTY DRUG COURT
The mission of the Second Judicial District Drug Court Program is to protect society by providing treatment alternatives to drug and alcohol addicted offenders that minimize the cost to the criminal justice system and the risk to the community. We will return clean and sober, law-abiding citizens to the community and close the revolving door to the criminal justice system.