Drug offenders move through the criminal justice system in a predictable pattern: arrest, prosecution, conviction, incarceration, and release. However, in a few days, weeks, or months, the same person may be picked up on a new charge and the process begins again. Drug Courts nationwide have helped in reducing drug related cases that are clogging court dockets.
In order for Drug Court to be effective it must adhere to TEN Key Components.
1) Drug Courts integrate alcohol and other drug treatment services with justice system case processing.
2) Using a non-adversarial approach, prosecution and defense counsel promote public safety while protecting participants' due process rights.
3) Eligible participants are identified early and promptly placed in the Drug Court Program.
4) Drug Courts provide access to a continuum of alcohol, drug, and other related treatment and rehabilitation services.
5) Abstinence is monitored by frequent alcohol and other drug testing.
6) A coordinated strategy governs Drug Court response to participants' compliance.
7) Ongoing judicial interaction with each Drug Court participant is essential.
8) Monitoring and evaluations measure the achievement of program goals and gauge effectiveness.
9) Continuing interdisciplinary education promotes effective Drug Court planning, implementation, and operations.
10) Forging partnerships among Drug Courts, public agencies, and community-based organizations generates local support and enhances Drug Court program effectiveness.
In 1994, Jacksonville Adult Drug Court was started by the collaboration of the Chief Judge, State Attorney, Public Defender, Mayor and Sheriff. In 1997, through the same collaboration, Juvenile Drug Court began and in 2003 Defendency Drug Court was instituted.
Adult Drug Court
Drug Courts are treatment oriented, targeting individuals whose major life problems start with substance abuse. Upon successful completion of the program, the State Attorney may dismiss the orginal charge. Drug Court graduates can become productive citizens who acquire and maintain employment, continue their education, and reunite with their familes.
Juvenile Drug Court
Since Juvenile Drug Court began in 1997, it has positively enhanced the lives of numerous substance abusing youths. The program consists of four phases: residential, intensive outpatient, outpatient and aftercare. The participants attend court frequently, turn in detailed school progress reports, and present sobriety support meeting attendance slips. The participants are closely monitored by a case manager and a police officer. When the juvenile participates in treatment, works well in school, remains drug-free, and graduates, the State Attorney may dismiss the charges. With the combined effort of the courts, law enforcement, and treatment, the participant should display a significant improvement during the year long program.
Dependency Drug Court
The Duval County Dependency Drug Court Program is in partnership with the Fourth Judicial Circuit, Department of Children and Families, Family Support Services, the Guardian Ad Litem Program, defense attorneys, and treatment providers to work with chemically dependent parents who are involved in the dependency court system. Parents are referred to Dependency Drug Court by the Dependency Court Judge, by the Protective Investigator, or by the treatment provider assigned to their case. Parents are offered the opportunity to break the cycle of addiction with early intervention, intensive substance abuse treatment, and frequent court appearances to provide immediate response for both success and/or failure to comply with program policies. Dependency Drug Court offers case management to assist parents in complying with specific court orders, completion of their case plan tasks, and additional resource needs. This program is designed to give parents legal accountability and to assist parents in making permanent lifestyle changes to live a drug free life and to assume the total responsibility through reunification with their children as soon as possible.
Mental Health Court
The Mental Health Court Program started January 28, 2008. The mission of Mental Health Court is to collaborate with community service providers in order to assist and encourage those with substance abuse and mental health illnesses to obtain treatment services in order to enhance their quality of life. It is to provide constructive and innovative court supervision to ensure compliance, reduce recidivism and to offer a cost effective alternative to incarceration. The criteria for Mental Health Court is to have an active criminal charge of a misdemeanor or 3rd or 2nd degree felony and a mental health diagnosis of bipolar, schizophrenia, or anxiety. This includes co-occurring disorders. Each client is assigned a Peer Specialist that visits weekly and advocates for them. A Case Manager is assigned to assist with services such as housing, medical and mental health appointments, employment, and other needed services. The Mental Health Court Coordinator maintains contact with the Peer Specialist, Case Managers, and services providers to ensure the clients' compliance. Information on each client's compliance is provided to the Judge during weekly court appearances.
Mark H. Mahon, Chief Judge - Adult Drug Court - (904) 255-1000
Henry E. Davis, Circuit Judge - Juvenile Drug Court - (904) 255-1000
Suzanne Bass, Circuit Judge - (904) 255-1000
David Gooding, Circuit Judge - (904) 255-1000
John Sampson, General Magistrate - Dependency Drug Court - (904) 255-1052
Denise M. Delorenzo, General Magistrate - Dependency Drug Court - (904) 255-1052
Joseph G. Stelma, Jr., Trial Court Administrator - (904) 255-1001
Terica Roark, Circuit Wide Drug Courts Manager - (904) 255-1046
Stacey D. Smiley, Case Manager - Mental Health Court - (904) 255-1044
Darrell Brown, Case Manager - Juvenile Drug Court (904) 255-1043
Stacy O'Brien, Case Manager - Dependency Drug Court - (904) 255-1045
Jennifer Russell, Case Manager - Juvenile Drug Court - (904) 255-1042