RD87 - Virginia’s Drug Treatment Courts 2013 Annual Report

Executive Summary:
In fiscal year 2013, there were thirty-six (36) drug treatment court docket programs approved to operate in Virginia: twenty-two (22) adult, eight (8) juvenile, four (4) family, and two (2) regional DUI Drug Treatment Court Dockets. The Alexandria Family Drug Court closed February 2012 and the Loudoun County Adult Drug Court Program closed June 2012. An additional Adult Drug Treatment Court Docket Program was approved for Arlington Circuit Court in October 2012. Eight localities were approved to establish drug court dockets effective July 2012.

The eight localities approved in July 2012 included an Adult Drug Treatment Court Docket Program in Danville Circuit Court and a Family Drug Treatment Court Docket Program in Montgomery County J&DR District Court which have not had their first docket at the time of writing this report. These programs operate using existing federal, state and/or local resources. This report does not include data for these new programs.

The goals of Virginia drug treatment courts are to:

1. Reduce drug addiction and drug dependency among offenders
2. Reduce recidivism
3. Reduce drug-related court workloads
4. Increase personal, familial and societal accountability among offenders
5. Promote effective planning and use of resources among the criminal justice system and community agencies.

This report reviews the basic operations and outcomes of Virginia’s drug treatment court dockets in fiscal year 2013. Information is provided in the report on program participants including demographics, program entry offenses, program length, and re-arrest after program completion or termination. The report is based on 1) data from the drug court database established and maintained by the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES); and 2) arrest data from the Virginia State Police. Details are provided separately for adult and juvenile drug treatment court dockets. One Family drug treatment court docket accepted participants during calendar year 2012 and another family drug court program opened in June 2013. One family drug court suspended operations in 2012 and another program was approved to operate but has not started as of this report. As a result, there is insufficient data to report on this model. The driving under the influence (DUI) drug treatment court dockets are required to enter data in the Commission for Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program’s (VASAP’s) database. DUI Drug Court Data is electronically migrated into the Drug Court Database. Analyses provided in this report were based on data entered for participants in Virginia’s drug treatment courts who entered a program after July 1, 2007 and completed successfully or unsuccessfully from a drug court program on or before June 30, 2013. Statistical information was provided for participants who remain active.

Administration of Drug Treatment Court Dockets in Virginia

The Office of the Executive Secretary, Supreme Court of Virginia, facilitates the development, implementation and monitoring of local adult, juvenile, family, and driving under the influence (DUI) drug treatment court dockets through the Drug Treatment Court Division in the Department of Judicial Services of the Office of the Executive Secretary. The State Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee, established pursuant to Va. Code § 18.2-254.1, offers recommendations to the Chief Justice regarding recognition and funding for drug treatment court docket programs, best practices, and minimum standards for program operations. It also evaluates all proposals for the establishment of new programs and offers recommendations to the Chief Justice.

Across the nation, the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state governments are working together to develop problem-solving courts committed to core principles of therapeutic jurisprudence that address an offender's underlying problems. Increasingly, the public and the other branches of government are looking to the judicial system to address complex social issues that are not being effectively resolved by the traditional legal processes and sentencing methods. In addition, state and local governments are realizing they can save taxpayer dollars through the use of problem-solving courts. To name only a few, some of the problem-solving courts found in many states are drug treatment courts, mental health courts, Veteran's courts, and domestic violence courts.

Funding for Drug Treatment Court Dockets

Virginia’s drug treatment court dockets operate under a funding strategy implemented in 2005 to sustain operation and funding of the fourteen (14) original drug treatment courts after their federal funding grants expired. There are ten (10) adult and four (4) juvenile drug treatment court docket programs included in this funding. These programs receive state funds administered through the Supreme Court of Virginia and use these funds primarily for drug court personnel. Treatment services for drug court participants are generally provided through the public substance abuse treatment system also known as the Virginia Community Services Boards (CSBs). The drug treatment court programs establish memorandums of agreement with their local CSB for needed treatment services with agreed upon financial and/or clinical personnel arrangements. The remaining docket programs operate without state funds; seventeen draw upon local funds, augmented in a few situations by federal grant funds and other resources. Two family and one adult drug treatment court docket programs are not currently accepting participants. The two remaining programs, which are DUI drug court docket programs operated by the local Alcohol Safety Action Program use offender fees to support their program.

In 2013, the OES received a 30 month Statewide Adult Drug Court Discretionary grant award from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) for $1.5 million. The purpose of the Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program (42 U.S.C. 3797u et seq.) is to provide financial and technical assistance to states, state courts, local courts, units of local government, and Indian tribal governments to develop and implement drug treatment courts that effectively integrate substance abuse treatment, mandatory drug testing, sanctions and incentives, and transitional services in a judicially supervised court setting with jurisdiction over nonviolent, substance-abusing offenders. The FY 2012 Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program will provide grant funds to jurisdictions to implement or enhance a local drug court or to implement, enhance, or expand drug court services statewide. The grant recipient is to use the grant funds to: implement new drug courts; reach capacity of existing drug courts; and expand/enhance capacity of existing drug courts to reach specific or emerging offender populations with drug treatment needs. Funds can also be used at the state level to: improve drug court functioning; increase drug court participation and participant outcomes; track, compile, coordinate, and disseminate state drug court information and resources; increase communication, coordination, and information sharing among drug court programs; conduct a statewide drug court evaluation; or establish a statewide automated drug court data collection and/or performance management system.

The BJA grant award was used to purchase and implement the Risk and Needs Triage (RANT) assessment tool for adult and DUI drug court docket programs as well as the associated training. Grant funds were also used to provide the Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) training, implementation, and participant manuals for adult & DUI drug courts not already using this evidence based program. The RANT and MRT tools are available for adult and DUI docket programs that are not currently receiving federal grant funds. Local financial assistance is also provided to Norfolk, Chesapeake, Buchanan County, Russell County, Tazewell County, Dickenson County, and 30th Judicial Circuit adult drug courts and Waynesboro DUI Drug Court. Additionally, funds were designated towards specific drug testing supplies. This grant award will also provide a statewide study of the two regional DUI drug court dockets in Virginia and to study an emerging trend of drug court effectiveness with the prescription drug use population. This study will include five adult drug court docket programs to be determined.

Summary of 2013 Drug Treatment Court Docket Program Activity

Summaries of the major measures of program activity for adult and juvenile drug treatment court docket programs, as well as some demographic information for the DUI drug treatment court dockets are presented in Executive Summary Table 1 on page 1. A more detailed review of these measures can be found in Chapter One while separate reviews of program activity and outcomes are set forth for each model in succeeding chapters.

Fiscal Year 2013 Summary Measures

The following provides a snapshot of the 2013 program summary compared to 2011.

• Increased number of referrals to drug treatment court dockets
• Increased number of participant admissions
• Increased number of active participants
• Increased cost-savings (*1) by $1,865,698 compared to traditional case processing
• Fewer adult participants re-arrested

Referrals. There were 1,392 referrals to adult, juvenile and DUI drug treatment court dockets in 2013. This is an increase of 11.4% over 2012. While DUI Drug Court Dockets received 441 referrals, a 4.3% decrease from 2012.

New Admissions. New admissions totaled 949 to adult, juvenile, and DUI drug court dockets. This is a 45% increase in the number of new admissions since 2011.

Active Participants. In 2013, there were 2,236 active participants in the adult, juvenile, and DUI drug court dockets, an increase of 5.2% from 2012.

Graduates. The number of individuals who successfully completed an adult, juvenile, or DUI drug treatment court dockets in 2013 totaled 490 for an overall graduation rate of 59.3%. The graduation rate for the DUI drug court dockets was 74.2%.

Terminations. There were 337 persons terminated from an adult, juvenile, or DUI drug treatment court dockets during the year, resulting in an overall termination rate of 40.7%. A 25.8% participant revocation rate was reported in DUI drug treatment court dockets and a 56% termination rate for adult dockets. Terminations and revoked cases constitute unsuccessful program completion.

Re-arrests. In 2013, the re-arrest rate was 24.9% for adult, and 12.7% for DUI drug treatment court dockets. This represents a decrease from 2012 figures.

Note: Caution is recommended when comparing re-arrest rates with recidivism. Not all arrests result in conviction and not all arrests and convictions result in re-incarceration. Re-arrest was calculated by the first offense post program departure for all participants. The misdemeanor arrests were separated from the felony arrests in subsequent chapters because most misdemeanor arrests do not result in jail time.

In 2012, the overall re-arrest rate for those departing adult dockets was 40.4% with 24.5% for graduates compared to 56.4% for those terminated. 19.4% of the graduates re-arrested were charged with misdemeanor offenses while only 5.1% were arrested for felony offenses. Nearly 35% of the terminated participants were arrested for misdemeanor offenses while 21.5% were re-arrested for felony offenses. In 2013 there were nearly 75% fewer graduates re-arrested compared to a 30% fewer terminated participants rearrested. The nearly 25% re-arrested in 2013, 15.7% were charged with misdemeanor offenses while 9.2% were charged with felony offenses. Overall, combining all those who departed drug court in 2013, nearly 44% fewer adult participants were re-arrested compared to 2012.

The 2012 DUI re-arrest rates for DUI docket graduates was 16.2% compared to 32.3% for those revoked. Among the graduates nearly 14% were arrested for misdemeanor offenses while 2.4% were arrested for felony offenses. Nearly 27% of the revoked participants were arrested for misdemeanor offenses while 5.4% were arrested for felony offenses. The re-arrest rate for all DUI docket departures in 2013 was 12.7% which is 32.5% lower than 2012. Among all departures, 10.2% were arrested for misdemeanor offenses while 2.4 were arrested for felony offenses. Overall the re-arrest rate is higher for terminated participants than graduates.
(*1) 1 Virginia Drug Courts save $19,234 per person as compared to traditional case processing. FY12 served 1,013 participants and FY13 there were 1,110 participants served. ($19,484,042 to $21,349,740, respectively)