The Benton County Adult Drug Treatment Court combines the efforts of many local agencies to provide supervised drug treatment for individuals who are both addicted and involved in criminal conduct. Participants take part in intensive treatment, random drug testing and regular reporting to the drug treatment court judge. This treatment has proven to be much more effective than jail or probation to break the cycle of addiction and reducing criminal activity. In addition, as a core function of the criminal justice process DTC has proven to save costs over more traditional methods such as jail.
Benton County DTC Contact Information
Mailing Address: PO Box 1870
Corvallis OR 97339
Physical Address: Benton County Courthouse
120 NW 4th St.
Corvallis OR 97330
Program Coordinator: Amy Wels
Facebook: Benton County Drug Treatment Court
Court sessions are open to the public:
- Adult DTC: every Wednesday, 3:30pm, Courtroom #2
Circuit Court Judge David B. Connell
Program Outcomes (Updated: 06/02/2014)
Adult Drug Treatment Court
“The Benton County Drug Treatment Court will treat addiction to improve lives, reduce crime, and promote a healthy, safe community.”
o Introduction & History
o Statement of Need
o Program Description
o Staffing Team
o Referral and entry into DTC
o Program Requirements
o Drug Treatment Court facts
o How You Can Help
o Links to related sites
Introduction and History
The Benton County Drug Treatment Court (DTC) began as a pilot program in November, 2001. It is an accountability-based program designed to address addiction and the criminal behavior associated with it. Participants who choose to take part in DTC are willing to attend treatment meetings and a weekly court session in exchange to have their charges reduced or even dismissed from their records when they graduate. Across the nation, Drug Treatment Courts are a common sense approach that helps drug addicted criminal offenders take control of their lives, quit using drugs and quit committing crimes. The success of DTC has made it a core function of the criminal justice process.
Statement of Need
The Benton County District Attorney has estimated that at least 80% of criminal cases filed are drug or drug related offenses (e.g. burglary, “bogus checks”, fraud). Traditionally, criminal cases motivated by substance abuse and addiction have been punished with a combination of jail and probation supervision, including limited drug treatment. This approach, especially regarding methamphetamine use, has not proven effective in breaking the cycle of addiction and reducing criminal activity, as it leaves the underlying substance abuse problems unresolved.
Approximately 65% of DTC participants report methamphetamine as their drug of choice at the time of program intake. While abusing this drug and committing crimes in our community, these individuals are also parenting: on average about 78% of the woman and 65% of the men in DTC have minor children. These children are also victims of drug related offenses.
County and statewide studies have reported an increasing trend of drug abuse and criminal behavior. The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission has published information about current rates of drug related arrests. These rates are climbing for both Benton County and the State of Oregon. Oregon recorded a monthly rate of 34 drug related arrests per 100,000 citizens in August of 2008. By February of 2011 the rate was 45 arrests per 100,000 citizens. Benton County also saw an increase during that period, from 15 to 38 monthly arrests per 100,000 community members. While the ratio of drug related arrests in Benton County is less than the state numbers, the rate of increase is greater. Clearly, there is an increasing need for the effectiveness and influence of DTC to keep pace with drug related crime.
Research of drug treatment court programs around the country suggests that the most effective models are those that combine intensive outpatient treatment with intensive judicial oversight. In addition, the most successful programs address not just the addiction but the environment of addiction, such as clean and sober housing, employment, and education. This is the model of DTC and these goals and objectives guide its work to this day.
DTC offers offenders charged with non-violent crimes (for example, possession of a controlled substance, theft, forgery, driving under the influence) the option of entering DTC in lieu of more conventional criminal justice interventions. Offenders plead guilty or admit probation violations, and to take part in treatment, regular drug screenings, and regular reporting to the drug treatment court judge for a minimum of one year. Should the offender fail to comply with one or more of the requirements, he/she will be sanctioned and may be removed from DTC. If the offender progresses successfully s/he earns incentives and privileges. Upon successful completion of DTC, pending criminal and/or probation violation charges are reduced or dismissed by the District Attorney.
From the beginning, program planning and implementation of the Benton County DTC was truly a community collaboration that included participation by law enforcement agencies, treatment providers, the court, attorneys, schools, and insurance entities. The on-going work of DTC is headed by the Staffing Team, which meets weekly. This team is composed of:
• Defense Attorney
• Program Coordinator
• Case Manager
• Treatment Provider
• Local law enforcement
• Probation Officer
Staff gathers input from all team members about individual cases and offers rewards, sanctions, and client direction by consensus. The judge’s role is to lead and facilitate discussions, and guide the group toward agreement. Full buy-in and participation by all team members has been critical to the success of the program and its participants.
Referral and Entry Requirements
The Benton County District Attorney screens participants into the Drug Treatment Court using the target population, eligibility, and disqualification criteria, and discretion. Referrals from the judges of the Benton County Circuit Court, probation officers of the Benton County Probation Department, and defense attorneys of Benton County Legal Defense consortium and other are also considered for participation by the district attorney.
The target population of DTC is substance abusing adult offenders who are newly arrested or whose probation is revoked (or about to be revoked) or conditional discharge is failed (or about to be failed). Members of the target population must also satisfy the following eligibility criteria: “E” or lower on the Oregon felony sentencing guidelines and drug offense(s) and/or multiple drug related offenses. Members of the target population who satisfy the eligibility criteria are disqualified from participation in DTC if their convictions are for possession of a substantial quantity of drugs, delivery or manufacturing of drugs, or other commercial drug offenses. Those convicted of violent offenses and Oregon medical marijuana cardholders are also disqualified from participation.
The minimum amount of time it takes to finish DTC is 12 months. However, participants average about 19 months to successfully complete the program. Participants must move through the following phases:
Phase I: Intensive Outpatient Treatment
Phase II: Outpatient Treatment
Phase III: Recovery/Aftercare
- Have paid all financial obligations, including court-ordered and probation fines and fees and treatment program balance owed
Have been actively involved in the program for a minimum of twelve months
Verify abstinence (by urinalysis drug screens) during the last 120 days in the program
Complete all treatment plan assignments/other assignments
Actively involved in school, training or work, have a GED or diploma
Have stable housing
Complete an aftercare plan for approval
Complete application and get approval by Treatment Team for graduation
Drug Treatment Courts Save Money
The average annual treatment cost for a drug treatment court participant in Oregon in the year 2000 was $2,195. Alternatively, to jail a drug felon for a year costs between $21,170 and $37,595. Additionally, helping pregnant drug offenders saves lives and money; treatment of infants born drug-addicted may cost the community several hundred thousand dollars over their lifetime.
Drug Treatment Courts Reduce Crime
Recidivism rates for offenders who have graduated from drug treatment courts are considerably lower than recidivism rates of offenders who did not participate in a drug treatment court program. Representative studies of over 17,000 drug treatment court graduates nationwide found that re-arrest rates for drug treatment court participants one year after graduation is on average about 18% as compared to 48% for those who do not participate in a drug treatment court program. In a recent Multnomah County study, in the 2 year period following graduation from Drug Court, those who participated in the program had 58% to 80% fewer arrests for property and felony crimes and probation/parole violations as compared to offenders without drug treatment court. Benton County’s experience is similar, reporting a re-arrest rate of 13% in a recent survey. The same study also documented a reduction in substance abuse (83%) for graduates; these rates are comparable to other courts following a similar model.
Drug Treatment Courts Improve Lives:
Direct program results attributed to DTC are increased educational levels, employment, and improved living conditions of participants. An evaluation of Benton County’s DTC program concluded that participants had seen gains in education (71.4%), employment (71%), wages (403%), and housing stability (79%). In addition, 34 drug-free babies have been born in the program. Perhaps the most encouraging testimony to the program’s positive influence on participants is the growing aftercare “alumni” group of graduates who continue to share their stories of recovery and represent strong role models. Attendance is not a program requirement but is done out of a belief in the life-changing possibilities of drug treatment courts.
The Friends of Benton County Treatment Courts is a group of supportive community members who have formed a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation (all donations are tax deductible). The purpose of this corporation is to raise funds and identify resources to support the programs in the Drug Treatment Court. DTC provides support and incentives when each participant exhibits successful achievements. Support from the community has helped DTC participants reach their goals. Community support has included:
• Gift cards and donations from local businesses
• Funds to support clean and sober housing
• Child care support
• Financial support for educational opportunities
• Tickets for local sporting events
• Sponsorship of City League softball teams
• “Bowling night" certificates
For more information or to make a donation, you may contact Friends of Benton County Treatment Courts at:
Friends of BCTC
PO Box 2467
Corvallis OR 97339
Links to Other Related Sites
Community Outreach, Inc.
Oregon Dept. of Human Services