Drug Court

Following a 14 month-long pilot program that began in November of 2004, the Strafford County Drug Treatment Court commenced full-operations on January 19, 2006 after securing a Department of Justice grant for 3 years. The Drug Court is a specialty court program that connects felony, misdemeanor and parole-level, substance-dependent offenders sentenced out of Strafford County Superior Court, to an integrated system of intensive alcohol and drug treatment in the community. This intensive treatment is combined with case management, strict court supervision, progressive incentives and sanctions, and community supervision though the NHDOC-Probation/Parole.  By linking participants to treatment services, the program aims to address offender’s addiction issues that led to criminal behavior, thereby reducing recidivism, reducing victims, and enhancing public safety. The Drug Court is designed to be a 24-month alternative sentencing program, divided into three court phases and four treatment levels, averaging 12 months, followed by an additional 12 months of probation/parole. The Drug Court operates with a range of enrollment between 50 and 75 participants. The Strafford County Drug Treatment Court was the first adult drug court in NH and has graduated well over 100 participants since its inception.


What is a Drug Court?

Drug Courts are designed for individuals who have difficulty with drug and alcohol and enter into the criminal justice system.

The participants receive a deferred Jail or Prison sentence and enter into an intensive drug and alcohol program which includes case management, one on one counseling, group counseling, and regular court sessions.

These programs aim to stop the revolving door of the criminal justice system while holding offenders accountable for their actions through immediate sanctions from the Judge.

The tax payer receives a benefit because of the lower cost to have people in the Drug Court than incarcerated. The public receives assurance of public safety though close monitoring by probation/parole, case management and frequent drug test. In addition, Drug Court participants re-offend at a significantly lower rate then offenders who are not in Drug Court. Prosecution negotiates the deferred sentence and if that participant fails out they receive the sentence immediately.  Participants themselves benefit because they start to live a meaningful drug free life.


1. Strafford County resident

2. Substance dependent

3. Stabilized dual diagnosis

4. Both Felony and/or Misdemeanor charges accepted

5. Non- drug entrepreneur

6. No methadone maintenance/narcotic maintenance




What is required of our

drug court Participants

*Remain free from drugs and alcohol

*Remain arrest free

*Maintain full time employment and /or schooling

*Attend substance abuse: group counseling, lecture and individual counseling as schedule

*Maintain appropriate housing in Strafford County

*Submit to scheduled and random drug test

*Submit to house and property inspections by probation /parole/ SCCCP officers

*Attend court sessions as scheduled

*Pay all fines and restitution



Program Goals

**Rehabilitate addicts

**Reduce recidivism

**Ensure public safety

**Stop the cycle of criminal activity in other family members

**Turn offenders to sober productive members of society



Viva-E Drug Testing Machine

Presiding Justice of the

Strafford County Drug Court

Honorable Anne M. Edwards








State of New Hampshire Judicial Branches and Information




 Program Contact Information:

Christopher Gowell,  Drug Court Director

Phone:  603-749-0832 ext 5172

Fax:  603-740-2955

E-mail: cgowell@co.strafford.nh.us