Programs & Services

Drug Court Program

Judge: Nicholas St. Peter
Coordinator: Brennan Hadley
Positive Values and Personal Responsibility
The Cowley County Drug Court is dedicated to reducing recidivism of our alcohol and drug offenders within the criminal justice system while striving to increase public safety and build an infrastructure for change with a cost effective, continuum of care through the development and utilization of community-based programs. Drug Court will hold defendants accountable for their actions and will assist them to achieve long-term recovery to become law-abiding citizens as well as successful family and community members.

About Drug Court
Drug Courts are an innovative alternative to prison sanctions with emphasis on accountability and intensive monitoring for individuals charged with a felony drug related offense. All Drug Court Programs use a new type of courtroom environment where the offender undergoes treatment and counseling, submits to frequent and random drug testing, makes regular appearances before the Judge and is monitored closely for program compliance.

While Drug Courts vary widely in scope, organization, and points of intervention, they all share an underlying premise that drug use is not simply a law enforcement or criminal justice problem, but a public health problem with roots deep in society. Drug Court programs see the Court, and specifically the Judge, as filling a role that goes beyond that of adjudication.

The Cowley County Drug Court Program began in part as a result of the large number of felony drug convictions occurring in our county and the need to target these offenders with something new to possibly reduce the number of offenders we continued to see over and over in the court system.

Also playing a part in the implementation of our program was the passage of Senate Bill 14 Risk Reduction Initiative in 2007, which established three specific goals:

Increase public safety
Reduce the risk level of probationers on Community Corrections supervision
Increase the percentage of probationers successfully completing community corrections supervision
Our Drug Court Program will be vital in completing these goals.

Drug Court consists of a Drug Court team which meets every Wednesday afternoon before Drug Court at 4:00 p.m. The team consists of but is not limited to treatment providers, county attorney’s office, law enforcement, probation, mental health staff, and any other social service organization that may be involved in the probationer’s life to discuss how they have done with their program.

Immediate Sanctions or Rewards
The probationer will meet with the Judge and will be immediately given praise or a consequence for their behavior. The team will decide what award or sanction should be imposed. The sanctions could range from extra community service, an earlier curfew, increased treatment or jail time. If the probationer has done a good job, the Judge may give verbal praise, remove the curfew, move them to a different phase of reporting or give them a reward of a small gift card.

Drug Testing
The probationer will be required to call an automated phone line to see if he/she needs to report for a drug test that day. They are to report to the Community Corrections Office between 7:30 a.m. & 9:30 a.m. Monday – Friday, and on Saturday, Sunday and holidays are to report to the Cowley County Jail between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. to submit testing.

Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT)

Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) is a systematic treatment strategy that seeks to decrease recidivism among juvenile and adult criminal offenders by increasing moral reasoning. Its cognitive-behavioral approach combines elements from a variety of psychological traditions to progressively address ego, social, moral, and positive behavioral growth. 

MRT takes the form of group and individual counseling using structured group exercises and prescribed homework assignments. The MRT workbook is structured around 16 objectively defined steps (units) focusing on seven basic treatment issues: confrontation of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors; assessment of current relationships; reinforcement of positive behavior and habits; positive identity formation; enhancement of self-concept; decrease in hedonism and development of frustration tolerance; and development of higher stages of moral reasoning. 

Participants meet in groups once or twice weekly and can complete all steps of the MRT program in a minimum of 3 to 6 months. MRT attempts to change how drug abusers and alcoholics make decisions and judgments by raising moral reasoning as articulated in Lawrence Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development. 

MRT is one of the most widely implemented cognitive behavior programs, implemented in 40 states and several countries. MRT seeks to move clients from hedonistic (pleasure vs. pain) reasoning to levels where concern for social rules and others becomes important. Research on MRT has shown that as clients pass steps, moral reasoning increases in adult drug and alcohol as well as juvenile offenders. Controlled evaluations of MRT indicate that program participants have lower recidivism rates than controls.

In 2005, a meta-analysis of nine published outcome studies detailed the effects of MRT on recidivism in parolees and probationers. The studies found MRT cut expected recidivism by nearly two-thirds over a time period of six months to over two years. It is designed specifically for treatment resistant clients. 

Cowley County Youth Services (CCYS) is the criminal justice agency that provides programs and services for juveniles in the 19th Judicial District under the direction of the Kansas Juveniles Justice Reformation act of 1997. Our vision is “to provide evidence based programs and services for justice involved youth or youth identified to be at risk, to promote public safety, hold juveniles accountable and improve the ability of youth to live productively and responsibly in their communities.”

The statement of purpose of CCYS is to affirm that supervision programs provide necessary services to juveniles, with the goal of reducing the probability of their continued delinquent behavior, while also protecting the community and enhancing the juvenile’s ability to live responsibly and productively within their community. The statement of purpose, philosophy, and program affirms that all planning and decision-making are consistent with laws relevant to the state’s responsibility for the care and protection of juveniles under its control.

The Kansas Juvenile Justice Reform Act establishes what is now the Juvenile Services division of the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC-JS) and gives powers and duties to the agency for the care, custody and control of juvenile offenders. Juvenile Justice Reform was focused on prevention, intervention, and community-based services, and that a youth should be placed in a juvenile correctional facility for rehabilitation and reform only as a last resort. Youth are more effectively rehabilitated and served in their own community. A major initiative of the juvenile justice reform act is based on the development of strong state and local partnerships. Because the KDOC-JS’s focus is to serve youth in their community, each receives state funding for the development, implementation, operation, and improvement of juvenile community correctional services. KDOC-JS allocates funds to the county governments in each district for the operation of community based Juvenile Justice Programs. Standards and procedures have been developed by KDOC-JS to provide guidance in the operation of these programs.