Drug Courts in New York
There are numerous drug courts in New York City. In Brooklyn, the drug court is known as Screening & Treatment Enhancement Part (“STEP”). In Queens, the drug court is known as Queens Treatment Court. In Manhattan, the drug court is known as Manhattan Treatment Court (“MTC”). In Staten Island, the drug court is known as Staten Island Treatment Court (“SITC”). All of these courts share the following qualities:
- Mission: to break the cycle of drug abuse, addiction, crime and jail.
- Voluntary contract: Assuming you are eligible, you are in the drug court because you chose to be there by signing the contract with Drug Court. Before you signed the Drug Court contract, you were given the choice of joining Drug Court (the treatment offer) or having your case go through the regular court process.
- Outpatient treatment: Depending on your criminal history and background, you may be eligible for outpatient treatment. Outpatient is preferred because it allows you to still live at home with your family. You must attend 5x week. This means that school/work and other personal matters must work around your outpatient treatment.
- Accept felonies and misdemeanors: There are two separate programs- one for felony offenders and another for misdemeanor offenders. The felony program is a minimum of 1 year; whereas, the misdemeanor program is a minimum of 8 months.
- Consequences to violating rules: you will have to do the jail alternative that was stated to you when you took the plea in court.
- Drug testing: Every time you report to court, you will have to report directly to your Case Manager, speak with him/her and provide a toxicology test.
- Sanctions: If you violate any of the Drug Court rules, the Judge can impose a sanction or punishment.
- Alcohol: Since alcohol is considered just as dangerous as any other illicit substance, you will be sanctioned anytime you use alcohol.
- Successful completion: your case will be dismissed. This means when you apply to jobs, you can answer yes to not having any convictions, but if the question ask have you ever been arrested you must also say yes explain the charges against you were dismissed.
The drug program is known as TASC. This is an alternative to jail program used by the criminal courts to divert individuals who are charged or subject to conviction for a non-violent felony or misdemeanor that is connected to a substance abuse problem. The TASC program is very individualized and includes a detailed assessment and development of a written plan designed to address the treatment needs of each individual. TASC will identify the level of addiction, make a referral to an appropriate treatment agency, and monitor the treatment progress for the Court. The offenders must be willing to enter treatment for a minimum of 12-18 months. Potential participants are identified by referral from the Court for its approval. TASC clients are monitored by staff with an expertise in substance abuse, and regular reports are presented to the Court outlining client progress. Persons not complying with all conditions of the TASC treatment plan are brought back to Court for further Court Action.