History of Juvenile Drug Court
The Juvenile Drug Court (JDC) began as a pilot program in March 2003 operating solely on its own resources in the central corridor of Baltimore County. Recently the JDC completed a countywide expansion involving three distinct, full service locations in the Eastern, Central and Western Areas of the county.
The Court is a four-phase, intervention program for juveniles between the ages of 13 and 17 who have been charged with a crime, other than a violent crime or sexual offense. Youth are screened for eligibility based on their need for drug treatment, their commitment to the program, and past delinquency history. Participation is voluntary and includes a commitment by a parent or guardian to participate and attend court hearings. JDC involves frequent court appearances, close Court supervision, random drug testing and individual and group-based counseling. Participation in the program is expected to last approximately one year. Participants are able to progress to each phase with fewer restrictions and less supervision as their self-management improves, they demonstrate success in their school and work environments and they remain drug-free. Upon successful graduation from JDC, the State's Attorney requests dismissal of the juvenile's pending charges. Youth are identified for the program as early as possible in the adjudication process through the cooperation efforts of the State's Attorney and the Department of Juvenile Services.
A total of 55 youth have or are currently participating in the JDC program. By December 2005, it is anticipated that the program will grow to its capacity of 80 active participants at three different court locations. Although the Baltimore County JDC program is still relatively new, its statistics are promising. Five past or current participants have graduated from high school and three are now attending college. Eight participants have earned their General Educational Development (GED) and an additional 11 are taking GED prep courses. Thirty-three participants maintain enrollment in high school. The program has a 100 percent retention rate, with a 95 percent treatment attendance rate. Similarly, attendance and compliance rates for supervision and Court review hearings each tabulate to 98 percent. Urinalysis statistics indicate an 84 percent negative urinalysis rate.
Each of the three JDC sites has a team comprised of the following professionals:
- Juvenile Drug Court Judge
- Assistant State's Attorney
- Assistant Public Defender
- JDC Coordinator
- Treatment Counselor (Either the Bureau of Substance Abuse or Private Provider)
- Probation Agent (Department of Juvenile Services)
- Police Department (Juvenile Offenders In Need of Supervision Officer)
- Public School (Pupil Personnel Officer)
While the JDC has established three diverse community courts within the last two years, its direction is managed by a steering committee which meets monthly to develop overall policies and strategies for the Court. Judge Kathleen Gallogly Cox, who is the Lead Juvenile Drug Court Judge in Baltimore County, leads this Committee. Also on the Committee are the Criminal Justice Coordinator (County Executive's Office), the Court Administrator, the Family Law Administrator, the Juvenile Drug Court Coordinator and representatives from the Baltimore County Police Department, the Department of Juvenile Services, the Bureau of Substance Abuse, private treatment providers, Baltimore County Public Schools, the Bureau of Mental Health, the Office of the Public Defender, the State's Attorney's Office, a representative from the Maryland Drug Treatment Court Commission and a representative from the Bureau of Governmental Research at the University of Maryland (evaluation representative).
Revised January 6, 2016