A drug abuse court program in Oklahoma is offering alternative sentencing programs for drug abuse offenders, a practice that is being pursued by some courts in an attempt to address the strain being felt by the prison system due to overcrowding and lack of funding.
Some courts are turning to alternative sentencing programs that include managed drug abuse treatment, as opposed to having non-violent drug offenders serve jail time. Garfield County in Oklahoma is among the places where such a program is being implemented. The county has been operating a sobriety court for drug abusers since 2004, and has been servicing juvenile offenders since 2000.
Through the alternative sentencing program, eligible drug offenders are able to receive comprehensive drug treatment. This program is offered through a contract with the Youth and Family Services of North Central Oklahoma, under supervision by the courts, the county drug court employees, and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
Those who may be eligible for the program are evaluated by counselors in order to determine the individual’s readiness and capability to receive treatment. Many of these offenders are alcohol abusers, followed by meth, marijuana, and opiate abusers. Those who avail of the program will need to meet such requirements as 3 random drug screenings a week; 1 individual counseling session a week; 1 group counseling session a week; 1 meeting with a case manager a week; and 3 twelve-step meetings a week.
The program also calls for regular appearance before a drug court judge. Adherence to a curfew that commences at 10 pm, and ends at 5 am; payment of court fees; and going to school or being employed on a full-time basis.