Idahoans in the justice system with significant substance abuse and mental health issues require interventions that address their needs and hold them accountable. Treatment courts provide the support and supervision critical to helping participants achieve stability, reach sobriety, restore family relationships, and learn skills to be valuable members of their communities.
In a treatment court, a judge leads a team including attorneys, coordinators, treatment providers, probation officers, and law enforcement focused on each participant’s case. Participants are required to attend frequent treatment sessions, recurring court hearings, and drug test at least twice per week. When participants are held accountable and given opportunities to acquire skills, they have a greater chance at long-term positive improvement.
Idaho has 68 Treatment Courts in 38 counties:
31 Felony Drug Courts
2 Juvenile Mental Health Courts
4 Juvenile Drug Courts
11 Mental Health Courts
3 Misdemeanor Drug / DUI Courts
7 DUI Courts
1 Young Adult Drug Court
1 Domestic Violence Drug Court
2 Child Protection Drug Courts
6 Veterans Treatment Courts
These courts served 2,175 people in fiscal year 2022, with 493 participants graduating during the year. There were 36 drug-free babies born to female participants, paving the way to break generational cycles of addiction and justice involvement.
A decade of research indicates that treatment courts reduce crime by lowering re-arrest and conviction rates, improving substance-abuse-treatment outcomes, reuniting families and producing measurable cost beneﬁts. National researchers have found that drug courts reduce recidivism on average between 10% to 15%. Evaluations of adult felony drug courts, DUI courts, and mental health courts in Idaho produced similar findings.
2019 MENTAL HEALTH COURT EVALUATION REPORT
2015 JUVENILE DRUG COURT EVALUATION REPORT
2014 IDAHO FELONY DRUG COURT EVALUATION REPORT
2009 EFFECTIVENESS OF IDAHO DUI AND MISDEMEANOR/DUI COURTS: OUTCOME EVALUATION
Access to Justice
Increasing access to justice for treatment courts requires us to think beyond the number of participants served, to consider how to best address participants’ unique needs. In FY2022, for example, courts ensured interpreter services were available during counseling sessions, improving access for people with hearing impairments or language barriers.
New Treatment Court Rules
The Idaho Rules for Treatment Courts (IRTC) are a new set of comprehensive administrative and procedural rules that provide uniformity while allowing for some localized variance in practice in our adult treatment courts. These rules were drafted over the course of two years with a small workgroup of judges and broad feedback from our Treatment Court Committee, justice system stakeholders, and members of the public. The Idaho Supreme Court unanimously adopted them effective July 1, 2022.
The hope is that these new rules will speed implementation of best practices and move some practices and procedures from being aspirational to enforceable. The rules can be found at isc.idaho.gov/irtc.
In FY2022, Idaho treatment court team members had the chance to attend a statewide virtual conference with nationally recognized speakers on the theme “Strong Teams Can Better Support Participants.” The virtual format contributed to the highest attendance ever at an Idaho treatment court conference. Other statewide webinars addressed peer support, parolees in treatment court, juvenile treatment court guidelines, and the new treatment court rules.
To learn more, follow these links: