Drug Court Mission Statement
To rehabilitate drug offenders into productive members of society through a comprehensive program that provides for personal responsibility through intensive supervision, drug treatment, and employment in order to promote public safety and decrease recidivism among offenders.
Nationally, drug courts first began in Dade County (Miami), Florida, in 1988, in response to the massive clog in the criminal court system created by the increase in illicit drug use and the resultant overcrowding of the prison system. The first court in Arkansas was piloted in the 6th Judicial District (Pulaski County) under the guidance of then-Chief Justice Jack Holt and former Sixth Circuit Judge Jack Lessenberry in 1994. Funding for this court was provided by the federal Department of Justice and the Arkansas Department of Health.
There are now 39 drug court programs functioning throughout the state of Arkansas. Some are pre-adjudication venues while others are post-adjudication. Some are a combination of both. This varies based on the particular needs of the community in which the court program is established.
Drug court programs are an interdisciplinary, non-adversarial judicial process for diverting an offender (or alleged offender) who has a demonstrated dependence on alcohol or an illicit drug into a strenuous treatment program that includes frequent drug testing, required employment, treatment and counseling, and regular court appearances to monitor program compliance. Drug courts are typically staffed by a team consisting of the judge and court staff, a prosecutor, a public defender or private attorney representing the offender, a probation or parole officer, and a drug counselor. Treatment services are provided through community providers. Most treatment programs last an average of eighteen months.
Although data in Arkansas is limited, initial reports indicate that drug court programs are cost effective and do save the state in incarceration costs. It costs approximately $4.50 per day for an offender to participate in a drug court program. By contrast, the average cost per day for incarceration in Arkansas is $45.00. The treatment program in drug court averages eighteen months while the length of incarceration is frequently much longer. In addition, many participants perform public service in their communities while maintaining employment during the treatment program, thus avoiding additional welfare costs and foster care expenditures by the state in support of their families. The final savings is realized in the improved health of the participant once they have successfully transitioned from drug or alcohol dependency to a healthier lifestyle.
- Drug courts integrate alcohol and other drug treatment services into the judicial process.
- A non-adversarial approach is used to promote public safety and change the participants’ criminal behavior.
- Eligible participants are identified early and promptly placed in the Drug Court Program.
- Drug Courts provide access to a continuum of alcohol, drug, and other related treatment and rehabilitation services.
- Abstinence is monitored by frequent alcohol and other drug testing.
- Ongoing judicial interaction with each drug court participant is helpful in helping the participants make positive changes in their lives.
- Monitoring and evaluation help measure the achievement of program goals and gauge effectiveness for each participant.
- To provide comprehensive substance abuse treatment services to offenders charged with drug-alcohol related crimes to reduce or eliminate substance abuse in the offender population.
- To facilitate recovery from alcohol and other drugs.
- To reduce the recidivism rate of drug court program participants.
- Active or recent history of substance abuse or addiction.
- Maintain a residence in Lonoke County.
- Must be at least 18 years of age.
- No history of violent offenses (misdemeanor or felony).
- No pending charges in other counties.
- No manufacturing, delivery, or possession of drug paraphernalia with the intent to manufacture charges.
- No previous admission to drug court.
- Mandatory referral by the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Drug Tip Line
The drug tip line allows citizens to provide information to law enforcement on drug production, sales or other illicit drug activity in Lonoke County.