The Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas has instituted a voluntary Adult Drug Court based on proven national research and program models. This Treatment Court targets primarily offenders who are ‘high risk/high needs’ through its evaluation process. This provides the participant an opportunity to pursue treatment for their addiction(s), while productively addressing associated legal problems.
The Lancaster County Adult Drug Court has three possible tracks:
- Non-Diversion / Probation Violation
For participants whose cases are on the diversionary track, sentencing will be deferred pending completion of the Adult Drug Court program. Upon successful completion of the Adult Drug Court program, including payments of fines, costs and restitution, the participant’s charges may be dismissed, and the District Attorney’s Office may agree to expunge the pertinent charges as previously agreed, subject to Court approval.
For participants whose cases are on the modified track, sentencing will be deferred pending completion of the Adult Drug Court program. They will plead guilty to a minimum of two specific offenses, one more serious than the other. Upon successful completion of the Adult Drug Court program, including payments of fines, costs, and restitution, the more serious charge will be dismissed.
For participants whose cases are on the non-diversionary / probation violation track, successful completion of the Adult Drug Court program, including payments of fines, costs, and restitution, may result in the reduction or termination of any remaining supervision; however, these records cannot be expunged.
Once accepted, program participants can expect frequent contact with the Adult Drug Court Judge, Probation Officer, Treatment Providers, and the Drug Court Team. The Adult Drug Court program involves a minimum time commitment of twelve months to complete four phases, followed by a period of Aftercare. The length of the Aftercare component may extend up to thirty-six months.
If the participant is accepted into the Adult Drug Court program, the participant will be expected to participate in and complete numerous pro-social, treatment-oriented activities. Typically, these include AA / NA meetings or approved alternatives, such as AlAnon, Nar-Anon, Step to Freedom, group and individual therapy, weekly court appearances, community service, probation appointments, and random drug testing. As each participant requires a different level of intervention based on need and progress, the participants’ specific needs may require the participant to be involved in other related activities.
As a participant, they can expect to receive a sanction if they violate the Adult Drug Court program rules or fail to achieve certain Phase requirements. Typical violations that may be sanctioned include: missed appointments, failed or adulterated drug tests, new arrests/charges and lack of participation in treatment. Sanctions will be imposed relative to the violation and are progressive in nature. Sanctions may include: essays, loss of incentives, demotion in phase, fines, curfew restrictions, incarceration, and termination from the Adult Drug Court program. The Adult Drug Court Team reserves the right to impose these and/or other sanctions appropriate to each particular participant and violation.
In turn, if the participant maintains purposeful and positive participation in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas Adult Drug Court, the participant may receive appropriate incentives as well. These incentives will be determined by the Adult Drug Court Team and specific rewards will depend on available resources. Historically, this has included donated gift cards from area businesses as well as Adult Drug Court purchased gift cards made possible through donations.