The New Jersey Judiciary Drug Court Program Fact Sheet

Why Drug Courts for New Jersey?

  • Drug courts address the root of crime. As much as 70 to 85% of all crime in the U.S. is committed by persons under the influence of drugs our alcohol1
  • Drug courts save lives and reduce costs. Every dollar spent on treatment leads to a $7.46 reduction in crime-related spending and lost productivity, according to a study conducted for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.2

Drug court is a highly specialized team process that functions within the existing Superior Court structure to address nonviolent drug related cases. It is unique in the criminal justice environment because it builds a close collaborative relationship between criminal justice and drug treatment professionals. Within a cooperative courtroom atmosphere, the judge heads a team of court staff, attorneys, probation officers, substance abuse evaluators, and treatment professionals all working in concert to support and monitor a participant’s recovery. Together, they maintain a critical balance of authority, supervision, support, and encouragement.

The drug court program is rigorous, requiring intensive supervision based on frequent drug testing and court appearances, along with tightly structured regimens of treatment and recovery services. The emphasis is on recovery and swift intervention when needed.

New Jersey Statewide Rollout Plan:

  1. Court vicinages operating a drug court program before April, 2002: Camden, Essex, Passaic, Mercer and Union (pilot programs)
  2. Started April 1, 2002: Bergen, Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem, Monmouth, Morris/Sussex and Ocean
  3. Started September 1, 2004: Atlantic/Cape May, Burlington, Hudson, Middlesex, Somerset/Hunterdon/Warren

1Drug Use Forecasting, Annual Report on Adult and Juvenile Arrestees 1995, National Institute of Justice.
2
American University, Drug Court Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Project, Washington, DC.

Projected Caseload Size

110 new cases per court year to include:

80 (73%) prison bound offenders: Defined as a criminal defendant who, but for the option of drug court, would have been sentenced to a custodial term in a New Jersey State Prison.

30 (27%) non prison bound offenders: Criminal defendants who, by virtue of their present offense and prior criminal record, would be sentenced to a term of traditional probationary supervision with or without a county jail term not to exceed 364 days as a condition of probation.

A Drug Court Team

The drug court team includes a drug court judge, an assistant prosecutor, an assistant deputy public defender, a drug court coordinator, team leader, probation supervisor and probation officers, substance abuse evaluator(s), treatment provider representatives and necessary support staff.

Drug Court Treatment Information

The drug court legislation calls for all treatment funds to be allocated to the Department of Human Services, Division of Addiction Services (DAS). A cooperative agreement has been signed between the Administrative Office of the Courts and DAS in which DAS will contract with a third party to set up a statewide service contract with the licensed and certified treatment providers in the state. The goal is to provide the drug court programs with all available modalities of treatment to appropriately match participants to the level of care they require.

For further information, contact:

Carol Venditto, Statewide Drug Court Manager 609-292-3488
Criminal Practice Division
Drug Court Unit
Administrative Office of the Courts
PO Box 625
Trenton, NJ 08625

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