Drug treatment court graduates are taking on support roles for current participants, the Criminal Justice Drug Letter reported in its November 2003 edition.
The alumni program at the Rochester, N.Y., drug treatment court, called “Clean Slate,” is one of the longest running programs. Rochester is a Demand Treatment! Partner.
All drug treatment court graduates are eligible to join Clean Slate. Members provide peer counseling and sit on a relapse panel. They also speak to at meetings of local civic organizations, and at treatment court orientation and graduation ceremonies.
Meetings are held at the courthouse, which is a “very empowering experience,” said Lorraine Beeman, coordinator of the Monroe County Drug Treatment Court. “Participants have a real sense of pride coming into a courtroom, not as a defendant, but as a celebrant. They also get to see the judges in a different light. They talk to them about what works and doesn't work. They really relish the opportunity to give feedback to a judge.”
While Rochester's alumni program has about 25 active members, even a few people can provide invaluable support to current treatment court participants.
For more information, read “Good Beginnings: Development and Maintenance of Drug Court Alumni Groups,” a free technical assistance document available from the Office of Justice Programs Drug Court Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Project at American University.
“Good Beginnings: Development and Maintenance of Drug Court Alumni Groups” is available as a PDF document. The PDF file is 395KB and requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader for downloading.