Show Menu

Best Practices: Drug Court Adustments/Sanctions Cheat Sheet by

Best Practices: Drug Court Adustments Incentives Sanctions
best     legal     practices-     practices-     adjustments     sanctions


Incent­ives, Sanctions, and Therap­eutic Adjust­ments

Conseq­uences for partic­ipants’ behavior are predic­table, fair, consis­tent, and admini­stered in accordance with eviden­ce-­based principles of effective behavior modifi­cation.

Advance Notice

Policies and procedures concerning the admini­str­ation of incent­ives, sanctions, and therap­eutic adjust­ments are specified in writing and commun­icated in advance to Drug Court partic­ipants and team members. The policies and procedures provide a clear indication of which behaviors may elicit an incentive, sanction, or therap­eutic adjust­ment; the range of conseq­uences that may be imposed for those behaviors; the criteria for phase advanc­ement, gradua­tion, and termin­ation from the program; and the legal and collateral conseq­uences that may ensue from graduation and termin­ation. The Drug Court team reserves a reasonable degree of discretion to modify a presum­ptive conseq­uence in light of the circum­stances presented in each case

Opport­unity to Be Heard

Partic­ipants are given an opport­unity to explain their perspe­ctives concerning factual contro­versies and the imposition of incent­ives, sanctions, and therap­eutic adjust­ments. If 13 Herein, incentives refer to conseq­uences for behavior that are desired by partic­ipants, such as verbal praise, phase advanc­ement, social recogn­ition, tangible rewards, or gradua­tion. Sanctions refer to conseq­uences that are disliked by partic­ipants, such as verbal reprim­ands, increased superv­ision requir­ements, community service, jail detention, or termin­ation. Therap­eutic adjust­ments refer to altera­tions to partic­ipants’ treatment requir­ements that are intended to address unmet clinical or social service needs, and are not intended as an incentive or sanction. The generic term conseq­uence encomp­asses incent­ives, sanctions and therap­eutic adjust­ments. a partic­ipant has difficulty expressing him or herself because of such factors as a language barrier, nervou­sness, or cognitive limita­tion, the judge permits the partic­ipant’s attorney or legal repres­ent­ative to assist in providing such explan­ations. Partic­ipants receive a clear justif­ication for why a particular conseq­uence is or is not being imposed.

Equivalent Conseq­uences

Partic­ipants receive conseq­uences that are equivalent to those received by other partic­ipants in the same phase of the program who are engaged in comparable conduct. Unless it is necessary to protect the individual from harm, partic­ipants receive conseq­uences without regard to their gender, race, ethnicity, nation­ality, socioe­conomic status, or sexual orient­ation [see Standard II, Histor­ically Disadv­antaged Groups].

Best Practices

A. Advance Notice
B. Opport­unity to Be Heard
C. Equivalent Conseq­uences
D. Profes­sional Demeanor
E. Progre­ssive Sanctions
F. Licit Addictive or Intoxi­cating Substances
G. Therap­eutic Adjust­ments
H. Incent­ivizing Produc­tivity
I. Phase Promotion
J. Jail Sanctions
K. Termin­ation
L. Conseq­uences of Graduation & Termin­ation

Profes­sional Demeanor

Sanctions are delivered without expressing anger or ridicule. Partic­ipants are not shamed or subjected to foul or abusive language.

E. Progre­ssive Sanctions

The Drug Court has a range of sanctions of varying magnitudes that may be admini­stered in response to infrac­tions in the program. For goals that are difficult for partic­ipants to accomp­lish, such as abstaining from substance use or obtaining employ­ment, the sanctions increase progre­ssively in magnitude over successive infrac­tions. For goals that are relatively easy for partic­ipants to accomp­lish, such as being truthful or attending counseling sessions, higher magnitude sanctions may be admini­stered after only a few infrac­tions.

F. Licit Addictive or Intoxi­cating Substances

Licit Addictive or Intoxi­cating Substances Conseq­uences are imposed for the nonmed­ically indicated use of intoxi­cating or addictive substa­nces, including alcohol, cannabis (marij­uana) and prescr­iption medica­tions, regardless of the licit or illicit status of the substance. The Drug Court team relies on expert medical input to determine whether a prescr­iption for an addictive or intoxi­cating medication is medically indicated and whether nonadd­ictive, nonint­oxi­cating, and medically safe altern­ative treatments are available

G. Therap­eutic Adjust­ments

Partic­ipants do not receive punitive sanctions if they are otherwise compliant with their treatment and superv­ision requir­ements but are not responding to the treatment interv­ent­ions. Under such circum­sta­nces, the approp­riate course of action may be to reassess the individual and adjust the treatment plan accord­ingly. Adjust­ments to This assumes all partic­ipants have been assessed comparably as high risk and high need [see Standard I, Target Popula­tion].

This assumes partic­ipants are addicted to or dependent on illicit drugs or alcohol [see Standard I, Target Popula­tion]. Indivi­duals who do not have a serious drug or alcohol addiction have less difficulty achieving abstin­ence, and may receive higher magnitude sanctions for substance abuse during the early phases of the program. treatment plans are based on the recomm­end­ations of duly trained treatment profes­sio­nals.

H. Incent­ivizing Produc­tivity

The Drug Court places as much emphasis on incent­ivizing productive behaviors as it does on reducing crime, substance abuse, and other infrac­tions. Criteria for phase advanc­ement and graduation include objective evidence that partic­ipants are engaged in productive activities such as employ­ment, education, or attendance in peer support groups.

I. Phase Promotion

Phase promotion is predicated on the achiev­ement of realistic and defined behavioral object­ives, such as completing a treatment regimen or remaining drug-a­bst­inent for a specified period of time. As partic­ipants advance through the phases of the program, sanctions for infrac­tions may increase in magnitude, rewards for achiev­ements may decrease, and superv­ision services may be reduced. Treatment is reduced only if it is determined clinically that a reduction in treatment is unlikely to precip­itate a relapse to substance use. The frequency of drug and alcohol testing is not reduced until after other treatment and superv­isory services have been reduced and relapse has not occurred. If a partic­ipant must be returned tempor­arily to the preceding phase of the program because of a relapse or related setback, the team develops a remedial plan together with the partic­ipant to prepare for a successful phase transi­tion.

J. Jail Sanctions

Jail sanctions are imposed judici­ously and sparingly. Unless a partic­ipant poses an immediate risk to public safety, jail sanctions are admini­stered after less severe conseq­uences have been ineffe­ctive at deterring infrac­tions. Jail sanctions are definite in duration and typically last no more than three to five days. Partic­ipants are given access to counsel and a fair hearing if a jail sanction might be imposed because a signif­icant liberty interest is at stake.

K. Termin­ation

Partic­ipants may be terminated from the Drug Court if they no longer can be managed safely in the community or if they fail repeatedly to comply with treatment or superv­ision requir­ements. Partic­ipants are not terminated from the Drug Court for continued substance use if they are otherwise compliant with their treatment and superv­ision condit­ions, unless they are noname­nable to the treatments that are reasonably available in their community. If a partic­ipant is terminated from the Drug Court because adequate treatment is not available, the partic­ipant does not receive an augmented sentence or dispos­ition for failing to complete the program.

L. Conseq­uences of Graduation and Termin­ation

Graduates of the Drug Court avoid a criminal record, avoid incarc­era­tion, or receive a substa­ntially reduced sentence or dispos­ition as an incentive for completing the program. Partic­ipants who are terminated from the Drug Court receive a sentence or dispos­ition for the underlying offense that brought them into the Drug Court. Partic­ipants are informed in advance of the circum­stances under which they may receive an augmented sentence for failing to complete the Drug Court program.

Download the Best Practices: Drug Court Adustments/Sanctions Cheat Sheet

2 Pages

PDF (recommended)

Alternative Downloads

Share This Cheat Sheet!



No comments yet. Add yours below!

Add a Comment

Your Comment

Please enter your name.

    Please enter your email address

      Please enter your Comment.

          Related Cheat Sheets

          Repositioning Patients to Prevent Pressure Ulcers Cheat Sheet
          Best Practices: Adult Drug Court Cheat Sheet

          More Cheat Sheets by Davidpol