This is a little discouraging. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) conference is going to feature speakers from the Dawson County Treatment Court in Georgia this in June — on the subject of “Understanding and Implementing 12-Step programs for Drug Courts.”
Their presentation will highlight the development, growth, and progress of the Dawson County Treatment Court which began in May 2006 and is presided over by Superior Court Judge Jason Deal. The three-track court program provides judicial oversight and substance abuse treatment for those charged with felony drug crimes, Driving Under the Influence (DUI), and first-time marijuana offenses.
The drug track is for first-time felony drug offenders, and participants voluntarily agree to the two-year treatment program. With successful completion of the rigorous program, the participants receive a nolle prosequi (no further prosecution) of their charges.
The DUI track is a 12-month minimum mandatory program where repeat DUI offenders are sentenced as a condition of their probation. Like Drug Court, the participants are expected to attend court reviews, engage in group and individual counseling, attend 12-Step meetings, submit to observed drug screens, maintain employment, and comply with all other program requirements; however, unlike the voluntary program, DUI Court participants do not receive a dismissal of their charges upon successful completion of the program.
Nevermind the fact that sentencing someone to AA meetings is flagrantly unconstitutional, but sentencing them to a program that is less than effective is irresponsible in the extreme. Not only that, but forced AA violates AA’s very principles, and would automatically skew any statistics touting their success with this shtick.
But, wait! There’s more!
Finally, the newest track is an early intervention program designed for those arrested on a first-time marijuana offense. This minimum six-month program provides education to those offenders and has at times identified those with larger substance abuse problems who require additional treatment and support.
First-time marijuana offenders are subject to 12-Step meetings, too. First time marijuana offenders. I don’t know how to comment on this without sputtering. What? Culling pot-smokers for new 12-Step recruits? For new rehab patients? For new statistics to add to the bogus program? Wait, what? No… They wouldn’t! They’d be more likely to find alcoholics by randomly pulling over people smoking cigarettes in their cars — the correlation between the two addictions is enormous.
I am definitely heartened, when I look over the scheduled training workshops for the June NADCP con, to see that there is not an overemphasis on 12-Step and AA indoctrination — though it’s hard to tell just from looking at the titles.