Drug treatment court is a specialized program offered in many counties in Wisconsin. This post will focus specifically on Milwaukee County, but many of the eligibility criteria are the same in neighboring counties.
Purpose of Drug Treatment Court
The mission statement of the drug treatment court program focuses on “enhancing public safety through the reduction of recidivism by coordinating effective and accountable substance abuse treatment and supportive services for offenders with substance abuse problems.” Goals of the program include reducing recidivism of the drug users; providing community based alternatives to incarceration; improving public safety; and managing criminal justice system resources.
The program aims to achieve the above mission and goals by providing highly intensive substance abuse treatment, including random drug tests, job training, supervised contacts with case managers, and using sanctions and rewards to avoid long-term incarceration.
Eligibility for Drug Treatment Court
Specifically for the Milwaukee County program, the following are the eligibility requirements for drug treatment court:
- Milwaukee County resident at the time of arrest;
- Age 18 or older;
- Dependent on drugs or alcohol;
- Charged with a felony, or a habitual misdemeanor;
- Cannot be on probation or extended supervision;
- Cannot be a violent offender;
- Cannot face or have a history of sex crimes or firearms offenses;
- Cannot face or have a history of offenses involving delivery of 40 or more grams of cocaine, 2,500 grams of marijuana, or 15 grams of heroin.
Probably the most significant hurdle to acceptance to the drug treatment court that our firm sees is that many of our clients are not Milwaukee County residents. If you aren’t a resident of Milwaukee County but are facing charges in Milwaukee, you still may be eligible for other pre-trial deferral programs, such as a deferred prosecution agreement. While not formally involved in the drug treatment court itself, we can attempt to negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement that mirrors the drug treatment court program with the district attorney’s office.
Once you are accepted into drug treatment court, there are a number of phases you will go through. Phase 1, which will last a minimum of 60 days, will serve as an orientation to the program while managing physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms from AODA dependence. Phase 2 lasts a minimum of 90 days and has the participants take an active role in understanding their addiction. Personality and lifestyle changes are made to avoid relapse. Phase 3, again lasting a minimum of 90 days, focuses on utilizing recovery skills to maintain sobriety as the participants transition in to community living. This phase focuses on job training and/or education, securing employment, and obtaining stable housing. Finally, Phase 4 focuses on 90 days of sobriety. The participant will maintain the changes in their lifestyle that are consistent with a sobriety and continue to develop pro-social life skills.
Participants are eligible for graduation from drug treatment court after they have:
- 90 days of sobriety in Phase 4;
- Completed a minimum of 12 months in the program;
- Successfully completed each phase of the program;
- Have in place a specific plan for after-care and continuing sobriety;
- Submit a written graduation application for review to the drug treatment court coordinator;
Value of Drug Treatment Court
The value of the drug treatment court program is immeasurable. This is likely the last chance for drug offenders before they are sent to prison. Whether the individual is a chronic user who cannot kick their addiction or someone who turned to dealing because they lack an education or job skills, drug treatment court can provide individualized support and programming as an alternative to prison. Many counties in Wisconsin have variations of drug treatment court. The attorneys at Meyer Van Severen, S.C. have the experience needed to ensure their clients are considered for this valuable program. If you are charged with a felony drug crime in Milwaukee County or any other county in Wisconsin, call Attorney Matthew Meyer or Attorney Benjamin Van Severen today to schedule a free consultation!