Drug Courts offer significant advantages to the community, the criminal justice system and the offender.
Through Drug Court, less-serious, drug abuse offenders have the opportunity to have their charges dismissed once they successfully meet all the demands of the year-long program, including treatment, aftercare, sobriety, case management and drug free status.
Drug Court eases overcrowding on felony court dockets and in jails, while also improving community safety by providing early intervention so first-time drug abusers don’t become repeat offenders.
Drug Court is a special court given the responsibility to handle cases involving drug-using offenders through intensive judicial supervision, case management, mandatory substance abuse treatment and drug testing, and graduated sanctions and rewards.
A minimum of one year's participation is required. During this time, offenders are on probation to the Akron Municipal Court Probation Department and are subject to the rules of the Probation Department. Upon successful completion of the program, offenders will have their guilty plea vacated and their case dismissed.
This program accelerates the prosecution process by disposing of cases within ten days of arrest and initiates treatment as soon as possible. Drug Court is held weekly for dispositions, judicial rewards and sanctions.
The Akron Municipal Drug Court began in 1995. It is a collaborative effort between Summit County Courts, the Akron Police Department, the Akron Prosecutor’s Office, the Public Defenders Office, the Akron Municipal Probation Department, the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Board and Oriana House, Inc.
The National Association of Drug Court Professionals is the principal organization of professionals involved in the development and implementation of treatment-oriented drug courts. Since the first drug court was established in 1989 in Miami, Florida, the national drug court field has grown to include over 700 drug courts in operation or in the planning stages.
The success of the drug court system is well documented. In 1999, 82% of all offenders entering the Akron Municipal Drug Court either successfully completed their drug court program or were still actively participating in the program as of December 31, 1999. From its beginning in May, 1995, through December 31, 1999, 291 people successfully completed the Drug Court program.
Incarceration of drug-using offenders costs approximately $20,000 per person per year. In contrast, a comprehensive drug court system typically costs less than $2,500 annually for each offender.
Drug courts control participants’ drug usage and activity through frequent drug testing, intensive case management supervision and judicial monitoring, and immediate sanctions that include terms of incarceration to respond to program violations. Without Drug Court, this same population often receives little jail time, supervision, drug testing or treatment, giving these offenders little reason to change their behaviors.
Drug Court is intended for male and female drug abuse offenders who meet the following criteria:
The arresting police department and prosecutor must agree that the client is appropriate for the program. All drug offenders are screened by the Oriana House Admissions Department staff for program eligibility.
For additional information about Akron
Municipal Court’s Drug Court
Probation Officer Jeff Sturmi at 330-375-2760.