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Responding to High Rates of Substance Abuse Failure Among Probationers: Delaware's Decide Your Time Program - Interview at the 2010 NIJ Conference

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2010
2 pages
This transcript and video of a presentation at the 2010 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Conference describes the rationale and features of Delaware's Decide Your Time Program, which provides a structured procedure for sanctioning probationers who fail drug tests.
The rationale for the program is to provide a fixed regimen of sanctions for probationers which not only makes clear to probationers what will happen when they fail one or a succession of drug tests, but also binds probation officers to the implementation of predetermined responses to a probationer's drug-test failure. Delaware's system of urinalysis and drug-use screening guarantees that probationers will be caught if they use drugs and will be subject to a graduated system of punishment, The first drug-test failure results in an increase in reporting and drug testing. A second failure prompts mandatory substance abuse treatment, and subsequent drug-test failures result in short periods of incarceration and curfews that are monitored. Upon entering probation, probationers are instructed in the graduated system of sanctions for drug-test failures. Probation officers emphasize the importance of passing the next drug test, with attention to what will happen if the probationer fails the test. The goal is for probationers to be drug-free for 120 days. The intent is that during this period they will take steps to improve their lives by avoiding negative peer associations and committing to employment responsibilities and constructive social interactions.

Date Published: June 1, 2010