Court Programs - Seminole Drug Court
SEMINOLE COUNTY ADULT DRUG COURT PROGRAM
The mission of the Seminole County Adult Drug Court is to unite the judiciary, criminal justice entities, substance abuse treatment providers, and the community into a single program that reduces substance abuse by nonviolent offenders, restores them to law abiding productivity while lessening the fiscal impact on society.
The Drug Court concept is based on an innovative program that was first developed in Dade County (Miami, Florida) in 1989. Other types of problem-solving courts followed in the 1990’s to assist individuals with specific needs and problems that were not or could not be adequately addressed in traditional courts. Problem-solving courts use the drug court model to help address specific issues that will benefit the individual, victim, and society. The specific issues may include, but are not limited to, drug abuse, mental illness, veterans' issues, and domestic violence.In 2001, the Florida State Legislature stated its intent that Drug Courts be implemented “in each judicial circuit in an effort to reduce crime and recidivism, abuse and neglect cases, and family dysfunction by recognizing that the integration of judicial supervision, treatment, accountability, and sanctions greatly increases the effectiveness of substance abuse treatment.” Even though drug courts originated in 1989 in Dade County, there had not been any movement towards the startup of such a specialty court within Seminole County until Judge Gene R. Stephenson was transferred to the Civil Division at the Seminole County Courthouse in 1999.After taking the initiative to talk to other Drug Court judges across the state, Judge Stephenson, along with a visionary group of justice professionals, decided that the system as it existed, was broken and there had to be a better way to break the cycle of addiction which is the most predominant cause of cases entering the justice system. A public steering committee convened in order to develop the guidelines needed to establish a program in Seminole County and on July 12, 2001, Judge Stephenson presided over the first Seminole County Adult Drug Court docket.Today, there are over 2,700 Drug Courts or related specialty courts operating in the U.S. and its territories. There are currently 95 Drug Court programs in Florida operating in the felony, misdemeanor, juvenile delinquency, and family dependency divisions of the various judicial circuits.
Participants are Seminole County residents, 18 years or older, whose current charge is a non-violent felony and who have been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder as their primary condition. The program/project serves two populations: 1) first-time felony offenders in a Tier- One Pre-Trial Intervention track and 2) offenders who have been arrested more than once and show evidence of a significant substance abuse problem. Excluded from participation are serious offenses and prior or current violent or criminal felony offenses relating to drug trafficking and importation.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR THE REGULAR ADULT DRUG COURT PROGRAM
(for defendants will significant substance abuse issues):
Persons entering the program are required to enter a plea and their sentences are deferred until the completion of the program. Upon entering the program each individual is placed under the supervision of the Department of Corrections/State Probation, for a period of 12 to 18 months in order to monitor them while in the program.All Adult Drug Court participants must complete substance abuse treatment that will be delivered in the following four drug court program phases. The length of program phases will vary depending on individual progress. The below guidelines are the minimum requirements:
Phase 1: Stabilization Phase lasts a minimum of 1 month:
Phase 2: Intensive Treatment usually lasts a minimum of 3 months:
Phase 3: Relapse Prevention usually lasts a minimum of 6 months:
Phase 4: Community Transition period usually lasts a minimum of 2 months:
Once completion has taken place, the plea is withdrawn and the charges are Nolle Prossed by the State Attorney, which states that they are essentially, dismissed.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR TIER-ONE/FIRST-TIME OFFENDERS PROGRAM
includes the following criteria:
All Tier-One participants must complete the following components:
Upon full completion of the 6-12 month Tier One Drug Court program, the felony charge(s) will be dismissed by the State of Florida.For further information, please contact the Adult Drug Court Program Office:
Anthony A. Warren
Seminole County Adult Drug Court Coordinator
Criminal Justice Center, 3rd FL
101 Bush Boulevard
Sanford, FL 32773
Phone: (407) 665-4966 Fax: (407) 665-4932