Treatment and Related Services
The Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia (PSA) is committed to assessing accurately the extent of defendant drug involvement and providing or facilitating treatment as appropriate. Assuring that defendants appear for scheduled court hearings is central to PSA’s mission. The connection between substance use disorders and crime has been well established. Success in reducing rearrest and failure to appear for court depends on two key factors – identifying and treating drug use and establishing swift and certain consequences for continued drug use. Drug use is often an indicator of a disorganized lifestyle, and disorganization is the most frequently cited reason for failures to appear. Sanction-based treatment is one of the most effective tools for breaking the cycle of substance use disorders and crime. PSA provides the following treatment and related services:
Defendants under pretrial release are assessed for substance use disorders and/or mental health needs, and connected with employment, housing, and/or other social services through PSA’s Social Services and Assessment Center (SSAC). The SSAC serves as a comprehensive mental health and substance use disorder treatment assessment center for defendants. While generally about half of those assessed as needing treatment are placed in treatment, in many instances, placement is not made because the defendant’s case is dismissed, treatment is not ordered by the judicial officer, or the defendant may refuse treatment. The SSAC also is PSA’s repository for information on community resources, and the primary broker in connecting defendants with needed social services, including employment, education, medical, and other social service resources.
Drug Court is a voluntary substance use disorder treatment and supervision program for eligible defendants with non-violent misdemeanor and felony offenses. Drug Court is open to certain misdemeanants as a diversion program, to other misdemeanor-charged defendants after a finding of guilt or entry of a guilty plea, and felony-charged defendants as a pretrial or post-trial pre-sentencing release option. Eligible felony-charged defendants may be offered amended sentencing agreements pending their felony charges to result in a misdemeanor convictions following successful completion of Drug Court. Felony-charged defendants who are not offered amended sentencing agreements likely will receive probation instead on incarceration.
The Drug Court is a collaborative effort among the D.C. Superior Court, United States Attorney‘s Office (USAO), Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, the defendant, CSOSA and PSA. Misdemeanor diversion defendants who participate in Drug Court must be approved for participation by the USAO. Although the USAO and the Court determine eligibility, participation in the Drug Court program is voluntary and the defendant must determine whether or not he/she wants to take advantage of this release option.
Upon successful completion of the Drug Court program for those charged with certain felony offenses, the chances of a defendant receiving probation are greatly enhanced, although the actual sentence is at the sole discretion of the court.
Sanction-Based Treatment Contracting
PSA has a another type of treatment programming whereby all forms of treatment are provided by contracted treatment providers – also known as the Sanction-Based Treatment Track. PSA case managers supervise defendants and monitor compliance with treatment, arrange for treatment placements, oversee progress in treatment, review drug testing schedules, keep the court, prosecution and defense apprised of compliance, and provide incentives and sanctions as warranted. This type of treatment programming is available for defendants who do not meet the eligibility criteria for Drug Court.
Re-Entry and Sanctions Center
PSA has limited beds allocated at the Re-Entry and Sanctions Center (RSC) to serve male defendants with substance use disorders and a limited number of spaces are available on the mental health floor for males with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. A few beds also are available for female defendants. The RSC is a treatment readiness program designed to prepare the defendant for subsequent entry to a residential or intensive outpatient treatment program. The 28-day program provides defendants with treatment readiness, comprehensive assessments, and life skills. The RSC is operated by the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia (CSOSA).