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Welcome to the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disabilities Services

Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services

Forensic Intensive Recovery / Justice Addiction Treatment Initiatives

Over the past 22 years the Office of Addiction Services (OAS) has worked in partnership with criminal justice agencies including: the First Judicial District, Court of Common Pleas, Municipal Court, Adult Probation and Parole, Pretrial Services, the District Attorney’s Office, Defender’s Association, Philadelphia Prison System and seventy addiction treatment providers to develop a network of justice/behavioral health projects. These projects work to divert non-violent substance abusers from jail as well as promote community reentry activities to link inmates to services when they return to the community. Justice and Addiction Treatment Initiatives include:

Forensic Intensive Recover (FIR)

The Forensic Intensive Recovery (FIR) was implemented as a response to a 1991 Federal Consent Decree that required the City of Philadelphia to provide community treatment slots for male and female inmates in lieu of incarceration. Substance abuse treatment and recovery support services are provided to inmates outside of the institutions through early parole and re-parole. All FIR participants must be referred through the Defender Association of Philadelphia.

Drug and Alcohol Restrictive Intermediate Punishment Program (IPP)

In 1997, the Intermediate Punishment Program (IPP) was designed to reduce the state and county prison populations by providing substance abuse treatment as an alternative to incarceration. Individuals sentenced to intermediate punishment receive a full range of services, which include clinical assessment, substance abuse treatment, vocational training, case management, and intensive probation supervision. Participants must be non-violent offenders listed at Levels 3 or 4 in accordance with the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing Guidelines.

Philadelphia Treatment Court

In 1997, Philadelphia established the first Treatment Court in the Commonwealth. Treatment Court offers first time drug felony offenders an opportunity to be evaluated for substance abuse treatment and, if treatment is needed, to plead nolo contendere to their crime, enter a treatment program under close judicial supervision, which requires frequent court appearances to avoid incarceration. Failure to complete treatment and other requirements may result in incarceration whereas completion qualifies the participant to have his/her criminal record expunged after remaining arrest-free for one year.

Driving Under the Influence Services (DUI Services)

In 2004, more restrictive legislation became effective that requires all DUI offenders to receive a clinical assessment to determine necessity of treatment and a court reporting network (CRN) evaluation. The Office of the DUI Coordinator processes only conviction status cases of residents arrested in Philadelphia with DUI offenses to meet their legal obligations and clinical needs. After the pre-sentence hearing, all state-required services (the assessment, CRN evaluation, and Alcohol Highway Safety School classes) are assigned to an approved DUI Service Provider according to geographic location and/or language considerations.

Driving Under the Influence Treatment Court (DUI-TC)

In 2007, DUI Treatment Court was established to work with repeat offenders who are in need of drug and/or alcohol treatment. DUI-TC is a highly structured program that combines periods of incarceration, clinical treatment, probation and judicial supervision to reduce future DUI episodes. Once an offender has met all criteria, the Clerk of Courts issues a court order compliance form to PennDOT to process a request for restoration of driving privileges.

Accelerated Misdemeanor Program (AMP)

Accelerated Misdemeanor Program (AMP) offers defendants charged with non-violent misdemeanors the opportunity to have their case heard in a police district courtroom, rather than in the Municipal court system. Individuals can agree to perform community service and pay a fine, without entering a guilty plea, in exchange for the case not going to trial. The arrest may then be expunged based on timely compliance of AMP requirements. Ancillary services include clinical assessment, case monitoring, resource coordination, and behavioral health education.

Domestic Violence Intervention Court

Domestic Violence Intervention Court (DVC) is available only to first or second time offenders in which the victim does not wish to press charges against the perpetrator. The goal is for the early intervention and placement of offenders into clinically appropriate treatment to prevent further. In an attempt to intervene and assist both victim and perpetrator, and Evaluator assesses the need for and arranges for participant placement, treatment authorization, case management, domestic violence intervention (anger management) and family therapy. Once the defendant (participant) has satisfied this treatment requirement and there have not been any further incidents or problems with the complainant/victim, the court will withdraw all prosecution and the case is discharged. The case can be expunged from the record in a process initiated by the defendant thirty (30) days after the prosecution withdraws the case.

DAWN Court

In 2010, Dawn Court was initiated to provide assistance to women who have become trapped in a life of prostitution, suffer from sexual trauma, and struggle with addiction by offering counseling and substance abuse treatment as opposed to incarceration. The program requires that participants have one open case and at least three prior prostitution convictions. The open case is dismissed with prejudice upon entry into the program and if after a year the participant has not been rearrested, the case is expunged.

Family Court – Dependency

As a result of the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, Family Court was developed in 1998 to ensure that a safe, permanent, and stable home is secured for each abused and neglected child. The Court’s goal is to minimize the amount of time children remain in temporary placement and families remain court-involved. The Court provides for the behavioral health care needs of the child and their family members by offering clinical assessment, treatment, and case management services that will help determine the outcome of the hearings.

Juvenile Treatment Court

In 2004, Juvenile Treatment Court (JTC) began as an intensive diversion program for city juveniles in need of substance abuse treatment managed by an interdisciplinary team under the supervision of the JTC Family Court judge. The team includes a dedicated Judge, Public Defender, District Attorney, School District Representative, Juvenile Probation Department, and Family Court Juvenile Services staff persons. Juveniles must be between 14 and 17 years of age, with non-violent new charges, have no more than two prior adjudications (none for a violent charge), and demonstrate a need for substance abuse treatment. An Evaluator performs a clinical assessment for these juveniles and refers them to treatment. The work of the JTC is aimed at motivating and supporting participants to complete treatment and graduate from the program.

Youth Violence Reduction Partnership

Since November 1999, the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (YVRP) has identified youth in the 12th, 19th, 22nd, 24th, 25th, and 39th Police Districts most at risk of either committing or becoming a victim of violent crime and has referred them and their families for clinical evaluation and behavioral health services. Through the joint efforts of Police, probation officers, and street outreach workers, the youth are linked to community supports while there is an expedited judicial process for those who violate the terms of their probation. Youth and families with a history of substance abuse are referred to an Evaluator to determine the level of care and the specific treatment program. All Youth Partners referred to substance abuse treatment are also provided with case management services.