SPOTLIGHT: Santa Barbara’s Drug Court Programs

SPOTLIGHT: Santa Barbara’s Drug Court Programs

The Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, NCADD’s Santa Barbara Affiliate, offers drug court programs as alternatives to incarceration.

One of these programs, the Clean and Sober Court, was developed in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Police Department to provide nonviolent misdemeanor or felony offenders who plead guilty to their crime a chance to receive alcohol and drug treatment rather than face incarceration.

The program offers a non-adversarial courtroom atmosphere where a single judge and a dedicated team of court officers and staff work together to break the cycle of drug abuse and criminal behavior.

After an initial "dryout" in jail, clients are referred to an outpatient or residential treatment program, and/or a sober living facility. Adult offenders with felonies or misdemeanors participate in a minimum of six months of treatment.

The outpatient treatment program is provided at Project Recovery, a comprehensive adult treatment center housing a variety of outpatient treatment programs focusing on the needs of specific populations. Project Recovery helps clients get on the road to recovery through 90-minute group sessions, individual counseling, and case management.

The program builds awareness of relapse triggers and helps clients develop relapse prevention and refusal skills; assists clients in building a sober support team and network in their community through 12-Step/ Self-Help groups; and encourages growth of self-esteem and interpersonal communication skills. Treatment also incorporates random drug testing to support clients in maintaining abstinence.

Project Recovery also provides treatment for clients of another court program, the Substance Abuse Treatment Court (SATC), a federal drug court model program, in which the defendant waives the right to have a jury trial before entering treatment.

This program allows serious drug offenders to engage in 12-18 months of supervised treatment under a single treatment provider to earn a dismissal of the charge. A treatment plan is developed for each participant including individual and group counseling, frequent drug testing, regular AA or NA meetings and weekly court appearances. To graduate, a defendant must complete the entire course of treatment and must have had no dirty tests or program violations for at least 6 months. Any failure in programming or dirty test is dealt with by use of graduated sanctions, from increased intensity of programming to incarceration. Clients pass through phases of treatment which begin with attending treatment four days a week during the first six months, three days a week for three months, twice a week for three months, followed by a six-month aftercare phase in which clients attend groups once a week.

Another program, for clients referred under SACPA, the Substance Abuse Crime Prevention Act (SACPA) of 2000 (California Proposition 36), also benefits from Project Recovery. The purpose of SACPA is to divert nonviolent defendants, probationers, and parolees charged with simple drug possession or drug use offenses from incarceration into community-based substance abuse treatment programs.

The intensity and duration of treatment varies according to the assessment of the client’s level of addiction, but it is a minimum 6-month program. Treatment protocols include relapse prevention groups, peer support groups, drug and alcohol education, introduction to the 12-Steps, individual counseling, random drug testing, regular court reviews, and support services.

For more information:
Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
232 E. Canon Perdidio
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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