Adult Drug Treatment Court - Assessing the problem

The Cecil County community has seen an influx of crime much like the rest of the nation. The Circuit Court for Cecil County is plagued by an increase in drug and drug related cases, including those who violate their probation on drug offenses. Those offenders placed on probation frequently fail to successfully address their addictions and are violated as a result. Of all offenders in the U.S. criminal justice system, 80% of them report having substance abuse problems. Criminal justice agencies, including the various law enforcement departments, the Office of the State’s Attorney, the Division of Parole and Probation and the Courts are being overwhelmed by the weight of increasing caseloads. Prisons are inundated, reducing the likelihood that even repeat drug offenders will serve significant prison sentences. Additionally, most inmates are not receiving substance abuse treatment while incarcerated. Those offenders who are placed on probation for the crimes, in lieu of incarceration, do not typically complete their court-ordered treatment, some never even report for an intake. The lack of meaningful interventions all but ensures that these individuals will revert to familiar criminal patterns upon release to society. The vast majority of this population, in addition to not completing adequate treatment, is unemployed, lack education and have long histories within the criminal justice system.

The Cecil County Adult Drug Treatment Court (ADTC) was born in response to this frustration and in an effort to reduce the cycle of repeat prosecutions for drug related crimes. Participants in the ADTC program are post plea candidates who meet the stipulated criteria and who are willing and wanting to overcome their addiction and increase their chances of changing their path to one that that is more productive, beneficial and leads to a to a better lifestyle overall. ADTC is a coalition of agencies providing intensive treatment and probationary supervision along with comprehensive judicial monitoring to offenders who have committed crimes as a result of their addiction. In addition, ADTC incorporates support services such as vocational, educational and life skills training to bring meaningful behavioral and lifestyle changes and to facilitate the integration of participants into the community.

ADTC provides an alternative to the traditional methods of handling drug-related criminal behavior. ADTC recognizes that recovery is a process and that changing addictive behavior requires constant vigilance, motivation, reinforcement and treatment to prevent relapse and the return to criminal activity. This multidisciplinary approach provides a comprehensive program to address the most devastating problem facing our community today: drugs and crime.