Juvenile Drug Court

Juvenile Drug Courts were established in May 2000 (N.D. Sup. Ct. Admin. R.56), by the North Dakota Supreme Court. Juvenile Drug Court (JDC) is a post-petition/post-adjudication program with the option of the petition being dismissed after the participant successfully completes the program.  The mission of JDC is to “reduce juvenile delinquency and substance abuse by referring youth who are less likely to achieve a positive result in traditional juvenile court, into treatment court which holds them accountable and emphasizes personal responsibility. The program lasts a minimum of nine months.  The program is aimed at intervening in alcohol and drug-using, delinquent and unruly behavior, through intense supervision and participation in recovery services.  Initially, participants in JDC are required to appear before the judge every week.  At each appearance, the judge reviews the progress or lack of progress of the participant.

The continuum of services for the program includes participation in intensive treatment, alcohol and drug testing, community service, incentives and sanctions, and additional programs as determined by the team.  The JDC team consists of a judge, prosecutor, defense counsel, probation officer, coordinator, treatment provider, school representative, and law enforcement.

It is the policy of the JDC program to meet two goals in regard to eligibility criteria:  treat similarly-situated juveniles across the state similarly, and meet the particular needs of the community to achieve maximum effectiveness.  In order to serve both goals, the following criteria are considered in determining eligibility for participation in a juvenile drug court:

  1. Age of the juvenile, with emphasis on juveniles who are between the ages of 14 and 17.3 years of age upon entry into JDC;
  2. Place of residency of the juvenile, with emphasis on juveniles who reside in a location to which JDC can effectively provide services;
  3. Availability of a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult to attend court hearings and participate in JDC;
  4. Timely diagnosis of substance use disorder – mild (or its equivalent);
  5. Whether less intensive options might be more appropriate for the juvenile, with emphasis on whether the juvenile has been on supervised probation;
  6. Prior admission to JDC, with an emphasis on whether a juvenile has graduated or was terminated for other reason from JDC and, if so, how long prior to the present application;
  7. The juvenile’s current or past adjudicated charges or offenses;
  8. If the juvenile is being held in detention, his or her score on the detention screening tool;
  9. The juvenile’s school record, with emphasis on whether the juvenile has been suspended or expelled from school; and
  10. The juvenile’s records with chemical dependency treatment, with an emphasis on the length and or level of treatment the juvenile has received and whether the juvenile is compliant with such treatment.