Shelby County Drug Courrt  
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The Shelby County Drug Court

A Brief History

Founded in 1997 by Judge Tim Dwyer, the Shelby County Drug Court is an alternative program that targets non-violent adult offenders with drug-related criminal charges.

The program works in four phases. Offenders are placed into an intensive out-patient program which requires they report
back to the Court where the Judge personally reviews their progress. Program components include:

1. Voluntary participation
2. A 12-month sentence into the program
3. Outpatient treatment [and inpatient when necessary
4. Mandatory random drug testing
5. Attendance at treatment sessions
6. Attendance at 12 step meetings
7. Sanctions for non-compliance
8. Assessments for chemical dependency
9. Participation in other programs as deemed necessary by the Drug Court Team
which may include family/individual counseling, mental health counseling, GED/Job
readiness, life-skills/ parenting sessions, anger management classes or other
programs designed to assist theindividual in returning to society as a productive citizen.


The Judge gets to know each client and works closely with the treatment providers and the Drug Court team to keep clients engaged in treatment.

The award-winning Drug Court has demonstrated a 38 percent recidivism rate in comparison to the 80 percent recidivism rate of non-drug court participants. These results have had a significant impact on reduction of crime, reduction in jail overcrowding, and a savings of taxpayer dollars.  The program has afforded treatment to those who may otherwise have had no opportunity for treatment and most importantly, has returned productive citizens to the community and to their families and friends.

The court is one of the first State Certified Treatment Courts in the State of Tennessee being certified since 2008.  In 2003 the court was named a “Mentor Court” by the National Drug Court Association. Of the more than 1,200 drug courts in the country, fewer than 100 courts have held that honor.