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Defining Drug Courts: The Key Components

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2004
31 pages
For each of 10 key components of drug courts, this booklet presents its purpose and performance benchmarks.
The first key component of drug courts is the integration of alcohol and other drug treatment services with justice system case processing. A second key component is the use of a nonadversarial approach in which prosecution and defense counsel cooperate to promote public safety while protecting participants' due process rights. The third key component of drug courts is the early identification of eligible participants and their prompt placement in the drug court program. The provision of access to a continuum of alcohol, drug, and other related treatment and rehabilitation services is a fourth key component of drug courts. The fifth key component is the monitoring of abstinence with frequent alcohol and other drug testing; and the sixth key component is a coordinated strategy that governs drug court responses to participants' compliance with drug court mandates. Ongoing judicial interactions with each drug court participant is another key component, as is continuing interdisciplinary education that promotes effective drug court planning, implementation, and operations. The 10th key component is the forging of partnerships among drug courts, public agencies, and community-based organizations that generate local support and enhance drug court program effectiveness. Appended listing of members of the Drug Court Standards Committee and a listing of resource organizations

Date Published: October 1, 2004