What is the Toronto Drug Treatment Court?
The Toronto Drug Treatment Court is an alternative method to dealing with individuals who are charged with criminal offences and who are dealing with drug addiction issues. The Drug treatment Court is run through the Ontario Court of Justice at the Old City Hall.
The Drug Treatment Court intervenes the normal judicial process and places individuals in a separate court where they are part of a program that concentrates on treatment for drug addiction while also ensuring there is adequate judicial supervision of these individuals while they remain in the community. The ultimate purpose of the Drug Treatment Court is to help reduce crime that is motivated by drug addiction while also providing individuals with meaningful supervision and access to community services dedicated to addressing drug addiction.
The court component of the Drug Treatment Court requires that participants attend court on a regular basis where a judge will receive reports on each participant’s progress. Depending on how a participant is doing in the program, a judge has the authority to issue a reprimand, expel the participant from the program or reward the participant such as by requiring fewer court appearances.
The program involves both individual and group counselling for drug addictions issues, access to appropriate medical treatment including methadone clinics, and random drug-testing to ensure participants are complying with the requirements of the program. The addiction treatment program is provided through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The program also includes working with community partners to help meet some of the basic needs of individuals, such as safe housing and employment training.
Individuals who are accepted into the Drug Treatment Court can expect to be involved in the program for approximately 1 year or longer. Each participant is required to agree to the terms of the program, plead guilty to offences which he or she has been charged, and seek counselling for drug addiction issues immediately.
If a person is successful in completing the program, he or she will likely receive a non-custodial sentence rather than being sentenced to a period of time in jail, or the charges will be stayed.
Who is Eligible for Drug Treatment Court?
Individuals who are charged with possession or possession for the purpose of trafficking in small quantities of drugs may be eligible for Drug Treatment Court. Individuals charged with minor property crimes may also be eligible for Drug Treatment Court. Individuals who are charged with criminal offences where the motivation for committing the crime is drug addiction should seriously consider applying for the Drug Treatment Court.
However, where an individual is also charged with a violent offence, he or she will be ineligible for the program. The Drug Treatment Court is strictly limited to non-violent offenders only. Individuals will also be ineligible for Drug Treatment Court where they have been trafficking drugs for monetary gain.
Other factors that may make a person ineligible for the Drug Treatment Court include;
- Prior history of violent acts or offences.
- Previously completing the Drug Treatment program.
- Individuals currently serving a conditional or intermittent sentence.
- Individuals charged with offences that present a danger to the public such as breaking and entering or impaired operation of a motor vehicle.
Parties involved in the Drug Treatment Court
The Drug Treatment Court is made possible only through the collaborative participation of several parties. Those involved the Drug Treatment Court include;
- Crown Attorney’s Office.
- Defence Counsel or Duty Counsel.
- Court Liaison Staff.
- Mental Health Professionals.
- Toronto Bail Program.
- Probation Office.
Whether the Drug Treatment Court will be appropriate for an individual will be determined based upon the input of many of the parties listed above.
Apply for the Toronto Drug Treatment Court?
The Toronto Drug Treatment Court is a voluntary program and requires that you apply before you are considered for the program. An application should be made with the assistance of your lawyer or with the assistance of duty counsel. When you apply you will be required to provide information about the criminal charges against you, your challenges with drug addiction, and whether you have any criminal record.
When assessing whether you would be appropriate for the Drug Treatment Court, the Crown Attorney’s office will consider your application, the application questionnaire, input from the police, the Crown’s case against you, any criminal record you may have, and any other additional information you choose to provide. One of the primary considerations for the Crown Attorney’s office when considering an application for the Drug Treatment Court will be public safety. Anytime there are serious concerns for public safety, your application will for the Drug Treatment Court will be denied.
The admission process into the Drug Treatment Program also requires that you; (1) attend the Old City Hall for an initial addictions assessment with a court liaison, (2) meet with a Toronto Drug Treatment Court Judge, and (3) attend the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) for a comprehensive addiction assessment.
Contact Me Today
If you have been charged with a drug related offence or you have a question about the Drug Treatment Court, contact me immediately.