What is Drug Diversion Court?
What is King County Drug Diversion Court?
King County Drug Diversion Court is a minimum 10-month program started in 1994 that allows eligible defendants charged with drug and property crimes to complete substance use disorder and mental health treatment. By combining the resources of the criminal justice system, substance use treatment and other community service providers, King County Drug Court seeks to ensure community safety and empower participants to rebuild their lives.
No one accused of a violent crime is eligible for their case to be moved to King County Drug Diversion Court. Cases moved to Drug Court also cannot involve a weapon. Further, people with a history of sex crimes, violent felony offenses or felony assault are not eligible – no matter how old the case is.
If they complete the five phases of the program – which include regular treatment sessions and random urinalysis – they graduate from the program and their pending charges are dismissed.
If people don’t complete all five phases of the program, they are sentenced on their original criminal charge.
At the time of its founding, KCDDC was the 12th drug court in the country. Currently, there are drug courts in every state and 3,130 nationwide. The program is a minimum of 10 months, but the average graduate requires 18 months. An estimated 350 individuals receive treatment in the program at any one time in King County.
From August 1994 through 2019, the program had 2,589 graduates. Drug Diversion Court graduations are typically held monthly, except for December, at the King County Courthouse.
Watch the March 2022 graduation below.
Leesa Manion (she/her)
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