2023 Florida Statutes< Back to Statute Search
Title XXIX PUBLIC HEALTH
Chapter 397 SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES
SECTION 334Treatment-based drug court programs.
397.334 Treatment-based drug court programs.—
(1) Each county may fund a treatment-based drug court program under which persons in the justice system assessed with a substance abuse problem will be processed in such a manner as to appropriately address the severity of the identified substance abuse problem through treatment services tailored to the individual needs of the participant. It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage the Department of Corrections, the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Health, the Department of Law Enforcement, the Department of Education, and such agencies, local governments, law enforcement agencies, other interested public or private sources, and individuals to support the creation and establishment of these problem-solving court programs. Participation in the treatment-based drug court programs does not divest any public or private agency of its responsibility for a child or adult, but enables these agencies to better meet their needs through shared responsibility and resources.
(2) Entry into any pretrial treatment-based drug court program shall be voluntary. When s. 948.08(6)(c)1. does not apply, the court may order an eligible individual to enter into a pretrial treatment-based drug court program only upon written agreement by the individual, which shall include a statement that the individual understands the requirements of the program and the potential sanctions for noncompliance.
(3)(a) Entry into any postadjudicatory treatment-based drug court program as a condition of probation or community control pursuant to s. 948.01, s. 948.06, or s. 948.20 must be based upon the sentencing court’s assessment of the defendant’s criminal history, substance abuse screening outcome, amenability to the services of the program, total sentence points, the recommendation of the state attorney and the victim, if any, and the defendant’s agreement to enter the program.
(b) An offender who is sentenced to a postadjudicatory drug court program and who, while a drug court participant, is the subject of a violation of probation or community control under s. 948.06 shall have the violation of probation or community control heard by the judge presiding over the postadjudicatory drug court program. The judge shall dispose of any such violation, after a hearing on or admission of the violation, as he or she deems appropriate if the resulting sentence or conditions are lawful.
(4) The treatment-based drug court programs shall include therapeutic jurisprudence principles and adhere to the following 10 key components, recognized by the Drug Courts Program Office of the Office of Justice Programs of the United States Department of Justice and adopted by the Florida Supreme Court Treatment-Based Drug Court Steering Committee:
(a) Drug court programs integrate alcohol and other drug treatment services with justice system case processing.
(b) Using a nonadversarial approach, prosecution and defense counsel promote public safety while protecting participants’ due process rights.
(c) Eligible participants are identified early and promptly placed in the drug court program.
(d) Drug court programs provide access to a continuum of alcohol, drug, and other related treatment and rehabilitation services.
(e) Abstinence is monitored by frequent testing for alcohol and other drugs.
(f) A coordinated strategy governs drug court program responses to participants’ compliance.
(g) Ongoing judicial interaction with each drug court program participant is essential.
(h) Monitoring and evaluation measure the achievement of program goals and gauge program effectiveness.
(i) Continuing interdisciplinary education promotes effective drug court program planning, implementation, and operations.
(j) Forging partnerships among drug court programs, public agencies, and community-based organizations generates local support and enhances drug court program effectiveness.
(5) Treatment-based drug court programs may include pretrial intervention programs as provided in ss. 948.08, 948.16, and 985.345, treatment-based drug court programs authorized in chapter 39, postadjudicatory programs as provided in ss. 948.01, 948.06, and 948.20, and review of the status of compliance or noncompliance of sentenced offenders through a treatment-based drug court program. While enrolled in a treatment-based drug court program, the participant is subject to a coordinated strategy developed by a drug court team under subsection (4). The coordinated strategy may include a protocol of sanctions that may be imposed upon the participant for noncompliance with program rules. The protocol of sanctions may include, but is not limited to, placement in a substance abuse treatment program offered by a licensed service provider as defined in s. 397.311 or in a jail-based treatment program or serving a period of secure detention under chapter 985 if a child or a period of incarceration within the time limits established for contempt of court if an adult. The coordinated strategy must be provided in writing to the participant before the participant agrees to enter into a treatment-based drug court program.
(6)(a) Contingent upon an annual appropriation by the Legislature, each judicial circuit shall establish, at a minimum, one coordinator position for the treatment-based drug court program within the state courts system to coordinate the responsibilities of the participating agencies and service providers. Each coordinator shall provide direct support to the treatment-based drug court program by providing coordination between the multidisciplinary team and the judiciary, providing case management, monitoring compliance of the participants in the treatment-based drug court program with court requirements, and managing the collection of data for program evaluation and accountability.
(b) Each treatment-based drug court program shall collect sufficient client-level data and programmatic information for purposes of program evaluation. Client-level data includes primary offenses that resulted in the treatment-based drug court program referral or sentence, treatment compliance, completion status and reasons for failure to complete, offenses committed during treatment and the sanctions imposed, frequency of court appearances, and units of service. Programmatic information includes referral and screening procedures, eligibility criteria, type and duration of treatment offered, and residential treatment resources. Each treatment-based drug court program must annually report the programmatic information and aggregate data on the number of treatment-based drug court program admissions and terminations by type of termination to the Office of the State Courts Administrator.
(7)(a) The Florida Association of Drug Court Professionals is created. The membership of the association may consist of treatment-based drug court program practitioners who comprise the multidisciplinary treatment-based drug court program team, including, but not limited to, judges, state attorneys, defense counsel, treatment-based drug court program coordinators, probation officers, law enforcement officers, community representatives, members of the academic community, and treatment professionals. Membership in the association shall be voluntary.
(b) The association shall annually elect a chair whose duty is to solicit recommendations from members on issues relating to the expansion, operation, and institutionalization of treatment-based drug court programs. The chair is responsible for providing on or before October 1 of each year the association’s recommendations and an annual report to the appropriate Supreme Court committee or to the appropriate personnel of the Office of the State Courts Administrator.
(8) If a county chooses to fund a treatment-based drug court program, the county must secure funding from sources other than the state for those costs not otherwise assumed by the state pursuant to s. 29.004. However, this does not preclude counties from using treatment and other service dollars provided through state executive branch agencies. Counties may provide, by interlocal agreement, for the collective funding of these programs.
(9) The chief judge of each judicial circuit may appoint an advisory committee for the treatment-based drug court program. The committee shall be composed of the chief judge, or his or her designee, who shall serve as chair; the judge of the treatment-based drug court program, if not otherwise designated by the chief judge as his or her designee; the state attorney, or his or her designee; the public defender, or his or her designee; the treatment-based drug court program coordinators; community representatives; treatment representatives; and any other persons the chair finds are appropriate.
(10)(a) Information relating to a participant or a person considered for participation in a treatment-based drug court program which is contained in the following records is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution:
1. Records created or compiled during screenings for participation in the program.
2. Records created or compiled during substance abuse screenings.
3. Behavioral health evaluations.
4. Subsequent treatment status reports.
(b) Such confidential and exempt information may be disclosed:
1. Pursuant to a written request of the participant or person considered for participation, or his or her legal representative.
2. To another governmental entity in the furtherance of its responsibilities associated with the screening of a person considered for participation in or the provision of treatment to a person in a treatment-based drug court program.
(c) Records of a service provider which pertain to the identity, diagnosis, and prognosis of or provision of service to any person shall be disclosed pursuant to s. 397.501(7).
(d) This exemption applies to such information described in paragraph (a) relating to a participant or a person considered for participation in a treatment-based drug court program before, on, or after the effective date of this exemption.
History.—s. 1, ch. 2001-48; s. 109, ch. 2003-402; s. 72, ch. 2004-265; s. 6, ch. 2006-97; s. 108, ch. 2006-120; s. 1, ch. 2009-64; s. 81, ch. 2010-5; s. 1, ch. 2011-33; s. 114, ch. 2014-19; s. 1, ch. 2014-174; s. 21, ch. 2016-127; s. 1, ch. 2019-30; ss. 15, 143, ch. 2019-167; s. 1, ch. 2023-191.