The Elkhart County Drug Court was certified as a Problem Solving Court by the Indiana Office of Court Services in 2019. Drug Courts take an approach to help addicted offenders into long-term recovery by using a specialized model with a non-adversarial team.

Contact

The People

Drug Court Program Coordinator

Tara Paiano

tpaiano@elkhartcounty.com

About The Elkhart County Drug Court

The Elkhart County Drug Court offers alternative methods of addressing substance use disorders and criminal behavior through a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach for offenders addicted to or are abusing mood altering substances by providing intensive supervision. The mission of Drug Court is to reduce the use and demand for illegal substances, reduce criminal recidivism and increase public safety. Drug Court also provides the opportunity for treatment, resources and services to help participant’s recovery and become productive, responsible and law abiding citizens.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Elkhart County Drug Court, the offender will be screened for eligibility by the Prosecutor’s Office. Charges must qualify, which include substance related offenses that are not drug dealing or drug manufacturing offenses. Facts of the offense must not suggest gang affiliation or activity or a crime of violence as cited in IC 35-50-1-2(a). The offender must not have a history of multiple misdemeanor or felony convictions for violence. Other factors may apply regarding eligibility.

Process

Private attorneys, public defenders and deputy prosecuting attorneys may refer an offender to Drug Court Program staff. Once deemed eligible, an evidence-based assessment will be conducted and the offender will begin providing oral fluid or urine drug screens at local agencies. The multi-disciplinary team will then vote to accept the offender into the program. If the offender is accepted, the team will make a treatment recommendation and the Drug Court Plea Agreement will be negotiated and submitted to the court for entry into the Drug Court Program.

Conditions of Participation

  • Sign the Participation Agreement.
  • Do not use or possess alcohol, illegal drugs or any medication or substance on the prohibited list.
  • Attend all Drug Court hearings on Mondays at 2:30pm in Superior Court 4, Goshen, as assigned.
  • Attend an assessment conducted by a certified clinician and attend all substance abuse, mental health and/or criminal thinking treatment sessions recommended.
  • Randomly drug test.
  • Report to Case Manager as scheduled.
  • Pay all Program, drug testing and treatment fees and restitution, if ordered.
  • Follow Court order regarding education, employment, skills training and/or volunteer work.
  • Do not be arrested, charged, cited or convicted of any violation of the law.
  • Live at an approved residence.
  • Do not possess firearms or dangerous weapons.
  • Permit to searches.
  • Consult with attorney, case manager or the Court.

Phase Structure

While in Drug Court, the participant will move through a specific phase structure. The phase structure includes the following requirements:

Phase 1: (6 months, 180 Days)

  • Attend Court at least weekly as directed
  • Meet with case manager
  • Enroll in substance abuse or other treatment services and comply with treatment plan
  • Randomly drug test
  • Enroll/maintain medical insurance
  • Develop budget to pay fees

Phase 2: (5 months, 150 Days)

  • Attend Court at least every two weeks, as directed
  • Meet with case manager
  • Participate in treatment plan
  • Randomly drug test
  • Gain and/or maintain employment or participation in education services, if ordered
  • Maintain medical insurance
  • Pay fees

Phase 3: (4 months, 120 Days)

  • Attend Court at least every three weeks, as directed
  • Meet with case manager
  • Continue with treatment plan
  • Randomly drug test
  • Maintain employment or participation in education services, if ordered
  • Maintain medical insurance
  • Pay fees

Phase 4: (3 months, 90 Days)

  • Attend Court at least monthly, as directed
  • Meet with case manager
  • Complete treatment plan
  • Randomly drug test
  • Maintain employment or participation in education services, if ordered
  • Maintain medical insurance
  • Pay fees in full

Sanctions

One way participants’ negative behavior is addressed is by use of graduated sanctions. Such sanctions include verbal interventions, letters of apology, essays, completion of community service, journaling, criminal thinking approaches, denial of future travel plans, phase demotion, home detention and jail sanctions.

Incentives

Rewards, or incentives, for participants’ behavior include verbal praise from the Judge and team members, applause from Court staff, being excused from court early, gift cards, free drug screens, social support materials, sobriety tokens and certificates of achievement.

Graduation

After at least 18 months of participation and the participant completes all Program requirements, graduation will be considered. The participant’s charges may be dismissed or reduced, may not spend time incarcerated, or a violation will be dismissed.

Termination

If the participant fails to complete program requirements, the participant will be sentenced in accordance with the plea agreement.