Benjamin Chambers: Juvenile Drug Courts – There ARE Practice Guidelines

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Some of you may have heard this disturbing account of a drug court in Glynn County, Georiga, aired recently on “This American Life.”

Usually, a drug court may take a year, possible two years, to complete.  For 24-year-old Lindsey Dills, who was 18 when she entered the Glynn County juvenile drug court, she won’t be done with it until 10-1/2 years later, counting time behind bars and probation.

Now, the show makes it clear that this particular Georgia drug court is commonly thought to be run counter to generally-accepted principles of drug court.

But I thought it would be a good time to mention the so-called : “16 strategies” for juvenile drug courts.  (Follow the link for a monograph from the Department of Justice, explaining the details.)

Here they are:

  • Strategy 1: Collaborative Planning
  • Strategy 2: Teamwork
  • Strategy 3: Clearly Defined Target Population and Eligibility Criteria
  • Strategy 4: Judicial Involvement and Supervision
  • Strategy 5: Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Strategy 6: Community Partnerships
  • Strategy 7: Comprehensive Treatment Planning
  • Strategy 8: Developmentally Appropriate Services
  • Strategy 9: Gender-Appropriate Services
  • Strategy 10: Cultural Competence
  • Strategy 11: Focus on Strengths
  • Strategy 12: Family Engagement Strategy 13: Educational Linkages
  • Strategy 14: Drug Testing
  • Strategy 15: Goal-Oriented Incentives and Sanctions
  • Strategy 16: Confidentiality


The above story is reprinted with permission from Reclaiming Futures, a national initiative working to improve alcohol and drug treatment outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system.


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