Montgomery County drug treatment court retains accreditation | News

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NORRISTOWN — Montgomery County Decide Steven T. O’Neill mentioned he’s gratified that the county’s drug remedy courtroom which he spearheaded greater than a decade in the past and over which he presides has retained accreditation by the Supreme Court docket of Pennsylvania.

“Once we commenced in 2006, I had no thought of what sort of influence that this courtroom of therapeutic jurisprudence might have on the lives of so many people struggling substance use issues which led them into the prison justice system,” mentioned O’Neill, explaining this system has served greater than a thousand members, with greater than 700 finishing the court-supervised, long-term structured restoration program.

“Our drug remedy courtroom is actually prison justice reform in motion. As an alternative of incarcerating people struggling substance use issues, drug courtroom permits them to save lots of and alter their lives whereas saving taxpayer {dollars} and preserving our communities safer,” O’Neill added.

The Supreme Court docket Accreditation Program for grownup substance abuse remedy courts was developed in 2011 to acknowledge packages that comply with “finest practices,” in response to directors of the Administrative Workplace of Pennsylvania Courts.

The state’s highest courtroom just lately introduced the Montgomery County Drug Remedy Court docket will retain its accredited standing by November 2023.

Officers mentioned the state’s accreditation report famous the native drug courtroom’s pivot to ship companies nearly in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The accreditation report additionally highlighted a brand new partnership with the Montgomery County Restoration Neighborhood Heart for growth of its cellular restoration companies. The restoration heart connects folks with substance abuse issues to companies inside strolling distance to the county’s Grownup Probation Workplace and the courthouse.

County officers mentioned O’Neill is acknowledged nationally as a frontrunner within the coaching of different drug courtroom directors, incomes the county’s remedy courtroom the excellence of being a mentor courtroom for different jurisdictions.

“I commend Decide O’Neill on his dedication to creating positive our residents are offered due course of and wraparound companies whereas additionally sustaining our drug courtroom’s standing as a mannequin amongst our friends,” mentioned county Commissioners’ Chairwoman Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh. “We’re extraordinarily proud to have our drug courtroom accredited for the second time, and we stay up for persevering with to assist the courts to keep up this designation.”

The drug courtroom was first accredited in November 2016.

The Montgomery County Drug Court docket Program, established in April 2006 and funded by the county commissioners, is an progressive strategy to disposing of drug-fueled prison offenses in a approach that provides members intensive assist to battle their addictions, encourages them to vary their life and affords them the chance to earn a dismissal of the costs in opposition to them or to have their courtroom supervision terminated early.

Participation in this system, which is voluntary, is no less than 15 months lengthy and will final so long as three years. The size of this system relies on how effectively an offender succeeds in coping with the dependancy and changing into a productive, crime-free citizen. This system sometimes has 130 members at any given time.

The drug courtroom program makes use of the cooperative workforce strategy and courtroom evaluate classes of a remedy courtroom, fairly than conventional adversarial proceedings of prison courtroom. The aim is to have a program and atmosphere that’s each supportive and forces offenders to confront their addictions. It’s designed to encourage the participant’s motion away from an addictive life-style however swiftly imposes penalties when the participant returns to addictive behaviors.

Beneath this system, the drug courtroom remedy workforce – consisting of probation officers, remedy supplier representatives, the decide, a protection lawyer and a prosecutor – meets weekly to debate an offender’s progress and to develop an individualized technique to help an offender in coping with their dependancy.

Contributors are underneath the supervision of, and recurrently report back to, a drug courtroom probation officer. Offenders should voluntarily adjust to all the basic situations of supervision carried out by county probation and parole officers, together with remedy and frequent, random drug testing.

Those that slip up in this system face punitive sanctions together with temporary jail stints, writing assignments or neighborhood service.

As a part of accreditation, drug courtroom officers present knowledge, take part in interviews, and accreditors observe operations. Montgomery County Grownup Probation & Parole, the District Lawyer’s Workplace, Montgomery County Court docket of Widespread Pleas, and the Montgomery County Correctional Facility all take part within the drug courtroom accreditation course of.

Renewal of accreditation is a three-step course of which begins with a evaluate of program paperwork and the workforce coaching log. Step two is a web site go to to look at the workforce assembly and courtroom session, and to conduct interviews of the decide and program coordinators. Step three is the technology of a report of the observations and any vital adjustments to the courtroom because it was initially accredited.

State officers famous that the county’s remedy courtroom met key parts for accreditation together with the combination of alcohol and different drug remedy companies with justice system case processing and utilizing a non-adversarial strategy with the prosecution and protection selling public security whereas defending members’ due course of rights.

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