On recent visits to three drug courts in three different states, the concept of moving away from a traditional cookie-cutter approach to treatment for participants came up. In several conversations, drug court teams discussed the idea of working with participants to identify and better understand their unique needs. From that inquiry and conversation, drug court teams could develop a treatment plan tailored to the participant’s unique individual history, circumstances, and needs.
A Place Called OSCA
The Justice Programs Office is celebrating National Drug Court Month by sharing the personal perspectives of those who work in the treatment court field. Angela Plunkett, Statewide Drug Court Coordinator for the State of Missouri, finishes our guest series with her personal journey from a tough-as-nails parole officer to becoming a drug court advocate and statewide coordinator.
Just by looking at my 5’1 stature, you wouldn’t guess I used to be a hard-nosed, pistol-packin’ parole officer (PO), nicknamed The Iron Maiden (the only nickname I care to repeat).
I’m ashamed to admit it now, but I was a big-headed, judgmental PO who used to say to clients, “If I can say NO to drugs, you can too,” and “You’d better not EVER lie to me…”
The associate judge approached myself and three other PO’s in the law library one day after court. He asked if we had ever heard of “drug court.” My response, which surprised even me, was, “I don’t know what it is, but I’m all in!” After 12 years at Probation & Parole I was tired of the generational, revolving door and needed something new.
“But the data says no” … In which a researcher learns compassion
Allow me to begin with a confession: I’m a researcher at heart, and I have an unhealthy obsession with data. This has its benefits (bear with me . . .): If you make an argument you can support with data, I will be on your side, all in. But it also has a downside: sometimes, while the data suggests a certain course of action, because “it will likely result in the best outcomes,” this actually doesn’t convince normal humans, and it certainly fails to quiet our conscience which asks, “is that really the best thing to do?”
Continue reading ““But the data says no” … In which a researcher learns compassion”
Indigenizing the Drug Court
The Justice Programs Office is celebrating National Drug Court Month by sharing the personal perspectives of those who work in the treatment court field. Lauren van Schilfgaarde, Tribal Law Specialist at the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, continues our series with a look at Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts and their ability to heal both addictions and communities.
The modern tribal court is not an organic indigenous system. It is, in part, a product of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934, a federal statute that rejected prior federal Indian policies of assimilation and land loss and promoted the reestablishment of tribal governments. Yet, the implementation of the Act meant tribal governmental structures needed to look and sound like Anglo institutions rather than traditional tribal ones. Furthered by the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, the typical tribal court mirrors the American adversarial system, complete with a focus on incarceration and poor recidivism rates.
Drug Courts Are Treatment Courts
The Justice Programs Office is celebrating National Drug Court Month by sharing the personal perspectives of those who work in the treatment court field. Jeffrey Kushner, MPHA, the Statewide Drug Court Administrator for the State of Montana begins our series examining the important partnership between treatment providers and drug court teams.
There are few services more difficult to provide than alcohol and other drug use treatment. In most instances we are, at least initially, dealing with individuals whose brains have been hijacked by powerful drugs. New drug court participants are often primarily interested in getting more and more of their drugs of choice and not in overcoming their problems. Treatment professionals, therefore, need all the help and support we can provide them in order to be most effective with our drug court participants. With over 50 years of experience in this field, it is very clear to me that by utilizing the resources of the criminal justice system and the treatment system we can improve success through the use of evidence-based practices rather than each system by itself.