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SPECIALTY COURTS AND DIVERSIONARY PROGRAMS in Scranton
As the former District Attorney for Lackawanna County, Shane Scanlon personally supervised acceptance of individuals into all of Lackawanna County’s specialty courts and diversionary programs. During Shane’s almost 15 years in the District Attorney’s Office he helped to establish and refine most of Lackawanna County’s specialty court programs. Shane also had the benefit of traveling throughout the state and portions of our Country to learn about the structure and benefit of many of the specialty courts and programs available to persons accused of crimes.
In Lackawanna County several multi-disciplinary Treatment Courts exist in an effort to combat substance abuse, alcoholism and mental illness. Presently Lackawanna County has Treatment Courts (Drug Court) for adults and juveniles, DUI Court, Family Treatment Court, Mental Health Court, Intercept II Court, Veteran’s Court, Domestic Violence Court, State Intermediate and Restrictive Intermediate Punishment Court and a Re-Entry Court.
The existence and the operation of Treatment Courts vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction throughout Pennsylvania, however most of the counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania either have or are developing a Treatment Court modeled to some extent on the courts in Lackawanna County.
Most counties have programs that range anywhere from 12 months to 18 months in duration and consists of various phases of treatment. Participants in the treatment courts are provided with intensive treatment and other services in order to deal with their alcoholism, drug addiction or mental health issues. The individual treatment court defendant is held accountable by the treatment court judge for meeting their obligations to the court, society, themselves and their families. Treatment court participants are regularly and randomly tested for drug and alcohol use and are required to appear frequently before the judge and the treatment team so that the court can consistently, and constantly review the defendant’s progress through treatment court. The defendant who successfully completes the various phases of treatment is rewarded by avoiding incarceration, achieving a sentence reduction and sometimes a dismissal of charges and an expungement of their criminal record. However, those defendants that do not comply with the strict regulations and guidelines of the treatment court are sanctioned if they do not live up to their obligations.
ARD Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition
If this is your first arrest or you don’t have a prior record, you may be eligible for the ARD program which stands for Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition. ARD is usually a probation program where there is no incarceration. In most cases, there is a treatment component and most counties will require a number of community service hours be completed. Upon successful completion of all of the ARD requirements, you are eligible to have your charges dismissed and your arrest record expunged.
Sections 17 and 18
Section 17 is a diversionary program called probation without verdict. Section 17 allows a drug dependent, non-violent offender, to be placed on probation for a period of time and receive treatment for their substance abuse issues. Upon successful completion of the program the charges are dismissed.
Section 18 is a diversionary program called disposition in lieu of trial or criminal punishment. Section 18 allows for a drug dependent, non-violent offender, to receive either substance abuse treatment or mental health treatment and have their charges either withdrawn or held in abeyance. Upon completion of treatment and a period of time the criminal charges shall automatically be dismissed.