Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Clerk of Courts

Drug Treatment and Diversion Court Programs

Mission Statement and Goals

The Mission of the Dane County Diversion Program (DCDP) and the Dane County Drug Treatment Court Program (DCTP) is to enhance public safety through the reduction of recidivism by coordinating effective and accountable substance use disorder treatment and supportive services for participants with substance use disorders.


  • To reduce recidivism by participants
  • To offer Drug Court programming equitably to all racial and ethnic groups represented in the criminal justice system
  • To reduce criminal justice costs through reduced reliance on incarceration
  • To mitigate negative consequences of criminal justice involvement

Overview of Programs

There are three programs. Based on the results of the screening and assessment, defendants may be assigned to:

  • Low - Deferred Prosecution Unit (DPU)
  • Medium - Dane County Diversion Program (DCDP)
  • High - Drug Court Treatment Program (DCTP)

Deferred Prosecution Unit (DPU)

The Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP) is run by the Dane County District Attorney's Office, Deferred Prosecution Unit. Eligible defendants can avoid adjudication (a criminal conviction) and sentencing by satisfying the requirements of a deferred prosecution agreement contract with the D.A.’s Office.

Dane County Diversion Program (DCDP)

The DCDP program is a new program implemented in collaboration by the Dane County Drug Court Advisory Board in collaboration with the Dane County Department of Human Services, Journey Mental Health Center, ATTIC Correctional Services, Inc. and ARC Community Services. The program was officially rolled out in 2022. This program is a medium-risk diversion program that uses evidence-based practices to ensure that participants receive the correct amount of support, treatment, and oversight for their substance use disorder. This program is funded through both WI DOJ Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) grant funds and County funding.

Dane County Drug Court Treatment Program (DCTP)

DCTP serves individuals identified by COMPAS as high recidivism risk.  As part of the program, participants attend regular court reviews, treatment recommendations, case management meetings, DOC probation agent meetings, and present alcohol and other substance testing when requested. The twelve (12) to eighteen (18) month program consists of five phases and is presided by the DCTP Judge. Court reviews are held on Thursday mornings at 9:00 AM in Branch 4, Room 6D of the Dane County Courthouse.

Eligibility Criteria

The list below gives the basic eligibility and requirement for DCDP/DCTP consideration for qualified individuals:

  • Felony level drug driven charge
  • The current charge must not be considered a violent charge per statute 941.291(1)(b) and involve no weapons 
  • Dane County resident and over the age of 18 years old
  • Identified as having Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment need and willingness to be treated
  • Must be determined to be at moderate or high risk to reoffend as identified by their COMPAS score
  • Must agree to participate in behavioral changing programs and services

Straight Alternative to Revocation Eligibility (DCTP Only)

The potential participant shall:

  • Accept a formal Alternatives to Revocation (ATR) for a drug-driven rule violation(s) with no new felony charges
  • Currently be on supervision for a felony, non-violent conviction that did not involve weapons
  • Meet the level requirement for DCTP (Must be high risk)
  • Have a documented history of attempted community based Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) treatment
  • Have at least 18 months exposure remaining on their current supervision case; and
  • Be a Dane County resident

Participation Process

Screening and Assessment

If a defendant is identified at the initial appearance (IA) as a potential participant (i.e. the behavior in the criminal complaint was motivated by drug use) they will have to undergo a two-part process consisting of a short screening at the courthouse and a longer assessment at Journey Mental Health. It is not a requirement that the defendant waive the preliminary hearing to get an assessment.

Initial Appearance Screening

At the IA, if the time period for a preliminary hearing is waived, the referred case will be scheduled for a 1:00 PM Initial Screening (IS) and a 1:30 PM Status Conference on the next appropriate Monday as follows: If the IA is on a Monday or Tuesday, the Initial Screening and Status Conference will be set the following Monday. If the IA is on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, the IS/Status Conference will be on the second Monday following the IA.

If the time period for the preliminary hearing is not waived the case will be set for a Wednesday preliminary hearing with the commissioner. The case will also be scheduled for an Initial Screening only (not a Status Conference) for a Monday session as described above.

Journey Mental Health staff will conduct the Initial Screening and takes approximately 20 minutes. It will occur in the media viewing room of Courtroom 1A or, if the individual is in custody, in the Dane County Jail. Participants should check in with the bailiff or court aide, who will direct participants to the media viewing room. Screening scores will be immediately available to the defendant, defense counsel, and/or the prosecutor.

If the defendant does not have legal counsel at the Status Conference, the Initial Screening can still take place.  After the screening is completed and if found eligible for the drug court assessment, the defendant will be instructed to obtain counsel. The assessment appointment will not be scheduled until counsel is obtained. If counsel does not approve of the initial assessment, it will not occur, and normal case processing ensues.

Clinical Assessment

The clinical assessment is conducted via phone with Journey Mental Health Center, Inc., 25 Kessel Court, Madison WI, (608) 280-2652. A risk and needs assessment will be conducted, using COMPAS and other assessment tools. The appointment lasts approximately 1.5 hours. The risk score that determines which programs the individual is eligible.

If the defendant does not appear for the assessment appointment, a two-time chance for a rescheduled appointment shall be allowed by Journey. At Journey’s discretion, additional appointments may be offered. If a defendant fails to attend multiple appointments, Journey shall request that the court set the matter for a status conference. Journey will reschedule another appointment after verification is received that Judge has requested the individual continue with the drug court assessment process.  If defendant fails to appear for this hearing a bench warrant will be issued. Continued eligibility for diversion programming will be determined by the court when the bench warrant issue is resolved.

  • Low Score (1 - 4) - Journey staff will notify the defense attorney, DA’s office, and court clerk that the individual does not meet criteria for either drug court.  DPP-O (Deferred Prosecution) staff will also be notified of possible candidate.
  • Medium (5 - 7) or High Score (8 - 10) - Journey will notify defense attorney, DA’s office, and court clerk that the individual has met criteria for one of the drug courts.  Assessment will be completed and will be used to identify case management agency assignment, initial treatment recommendations, and identified client needs.  The assessment is shared with case management agency after defendant has signed a drug court contract/agreement. 

A status conference email will be sent by Journey Mental Health. When the status conference date is set, the defendant will enter a plea, as agreed to with the prosecutor, sign a contract/agreement to participate in the program.  To obtain the contract or agreement please contact the scheduling coordinator at Journey Mental Health. These contracts/agreements will always be sent with the status conference email.

Program Participation and Completion

Participants will attend court review sessions, meet with case manager, submit to random drug testing, and comply with other conditions of contract, receive sanctions or rewards.

Upon completion of the program, they will successfully graduate with agreed to disposition imposed or fail and be terminated from program and be returned to original trial judge for sentencing.

In general, successful completion of DPU will result in the dismissal of charges. In DCDP participants will enter a knowing and voluntary plea to charge(s) agreed to by the parties. A judgment of conviction will often not be entered. The defendant will sign the DCDP contract. The parties will specify in the contract the agreed disposition for both success and failure. Failure to comply with the contract must result in an agreed term of incarceration. Success will often result in the avoidance of felony convictions, or any conviction. Successful completion of DCTP will result the avoidance of a prison sentence. Individual case situations will vary. If the prosecutor and defense attorney are not in agreement with admission, the matter will be referred as part of an argued sentencing hearing before the DCTP or assigned trial judge.