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Drug Court


The San Francisco Drug Treatment Program seeks to connect criminal defendants who suffer from substantial substance abuse treatment disorders to services in the community in order to enhance public safety, reduce recidivism, and to find appropriate dispositions to the criminal charges that take into consideration the individual’s substance abuse disorders, mental and physical health, and the seriousness of the offense.

San Francisco’s Adult Drug Court (SFDC) was established in 1995 as part of a citywide effort to reduce the impact of drug and alcohol use on the criminal justice system.

Using a team approach, SFDC is an intensive rehabilitation program that integrates substance abuse disorder treatment and social services with judicial oversight to monitor client accountability and facilitate recovery. The Drug Court Team includes representatives from the San Francisco Superior Court, the Department of Public Health, the District Attorney's Office, the Public Defender's Office, and the Adult Probation Department, and community-based treatment providers.

San Francisco's Adult Drug Court Goals:

  • Thorough screening and assessment to ensure that each participant receives appropriate substance abuse disorder treatment services and community-based support.
  • Consistent judicial monitoring that supports the client’s progress and emphasizes accountability and commitment to the program.
  • Partnerships with other community agencies that address multiple issues faced by participants including substance abuse disorders, mental health, homelessness, employment, and medical problems.
  • Increase public safety by reducing recidivism among substance-abusing individuals.

Program Components

SFDC has its own treatment clinic called the Community Justice Service Center (CJSC) which is co-located with the Community Justice Center at 555 Polk St. After enrollment, a participant’s treatment is monitored by the Court. A series of sanctions and incentives are used to encourage compliance with treatment. Those who are non-compliant receive graduated sanctions such as writing an essay, community service or jail time - to encourage behavioral change and adherence with treatment. Throughout their participation in Drug Court, clients attend regular judicial status hearings and undergo intensive case management, randomized urinalysis testing, counseling, and ancillary services including mental health treatment, vocational/education services, anger management counseling, and supportive housing. Upon successful program completion, generally after 10 to 24 months, probation is terminated or charges are dismissed.


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