Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Knox Recovery Court?

The Recovery Court is a special court given the responsibility to handle cases involving substance-abusing offenders through comprehensive supervision, drug testing, treatment services and immediate sanctions and incentives.

The Recovery Court Program brings the full weight of all interveners (judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, substance abuse treatment specialists, probation officers, law enforcement and correctional personnel, educational and vocational experts, community leaders and others) to bear, allowing the offender to deal with his or her substance abuse problem.

In addition, the Knox Recovery Court ensures consistency in judicial decision-making and enhances the coordination of agencies and resources, increasing the cost effectiveness of partnering agency’s programs.

The Knox Recovery Court provides one of the most viable options for addressing the substance-abusing offender today. Whether the person enters the judicial system because of a criminal offense, delinquent behavior or the neglect or abuse of their children, they can benefit from the enhanced supervision provided in the drug court system. Not only do offenders benefit, but public safety is also strengthened through the monitoring and accountability that occurs in Recovery Court.

Will my attorney have to go to the Recovery Court or team meeting every week?

No. But attorneys and recovery court participants’ family members are always welcome. Recovery Court is a time that participants are recognized for their behavior and progress each week. Participants look forward to when they have good weeks and want others close to them to celebrate in their successes.

Isn't Recovery Court just a lot of AA or NA meetings?

No. Treatment at Recovery Court starts with intensive outpatient treatment. The Recovery Court staff has over 70 years in substance abuse treatment, combined. Recovery Court uses an evidence-based treatment approach. Participants attend individual and group treatment sessions. Additionally, our partnering agencies use evidence-based treatment.

Social support in some form is essential for long-term recovery. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are places where Recovery Court Participants can receive that support.

Does anyone graduate the Knox Recovery Court?

Yes, over a hundred people have graduated. Even those who do not get all the way to graduation have experienced lowered incidences of re-arrests. The 2008 evaluation showed that the longer the participation, the greater the benefit.

And not only do participants benefit from receiving long-term treatment, the Knox Recovery Court has helped reunite families, return custody of children, help participants get GED or higher formal education, reinstatement of drivers license, and of course avoiding jail or prison sentence.

Do participants get kicked out of the program for the first positive drug screen?

No. Rarely has anyone been discharged from the Knox Recovery Court for a relapse. For some, this is part of the process of recovery. While there may be a sanction for a positive drug screen, the Knox Recovery Court uses the relapse as a learning experience toward sustained full remission.

What's in it for me?

At first glance, avoiding serving a jail or prison sentence is appealing. But the possibility of breaking the cycle of addiction, criminal behavior, lost jobs, failed relationships, wrecked cars, infectious diseases, and liver disease and eventually becoming clean, productive members of society is a greater motivator. Graduates regularly return to the Knox Recovery Court to tell the Recovery Court Judge and staff how much their lives have improved and how much they appreciate recovery court for a “second chance”.

What if I'm Pregnant? Can I still participate in Recovery Court?

Recovery Court accepts pregnant women and works closely with partners providing the best services for pregnant women.

Does Recovery Court have anything to offer Veterans?

Recovery Court understands the unique issues that veterans often face. Recovery Court has partnered with area service providers serving veterans to help address these issues. For more information about the Veterans Treatment Program, call the Recovery Court office.

Will the participant be allowed to choose a treatment provider?

Generally, treatment choice is made after careful consideration of several factors; what type and intensity of treatment will best address the participant’s needs, what treatment options are available, and is the participant currently receiving services from another treatment provider. A Recovery Court Case Manager, trained to apply the American Society of Addiction Medicine Patient Placement Criteria (ASAM PPC) makes treatment provider recommendations to the Recovery Court Team.

Will recovery court help with family problems?

Yes. Recovery Court attempts to help the participant address any problem, which is likely to interfere with long-term sobriety. Families are encouraged to attend Recovery Court, special family education groups, and some treatment sessions with the participant. If the scope of family problems are beyond what the Recovery Court Therapists can help with, help is provided to the family in finding suitable care, which will ameliorate the problem.

Will Recovery Court help with custody issues?

Yes. The fact that Recovery Court can help ameliorate problems usually helps participants regain custody of children. Also, reports from the Recovery Court case manager outlining total number of drug screens, attendance at groups and sessions, and overall compliance with Recovery Court guidelines typically helps in court.

Is Recovery Court going to address mental health issues?

Yes. Like other issues, unaddressed mental health problems do interfere with a person’s ability to make the long-term pro social lifestyle changes. When mental health counseling is needed, the Recovery Court Team helps the participant access treatment services, which will address both the mental health and substance abuse problems. Recovery Court takes the holistic approach in helping participants address medical, social, financial, family, employment, housing, educational, nutritional, and mental health needs.

Will Recovery Court help with housing?

Yes. 75% of all participants enter the Recovery Court Program in need of clean, safe housing. Most of the time, immediate housing needs are in the form of half way houses and shelters. The Recovery Court has helped intervene when a participant is initially denied assistance with living arrangements after transitioning from the structured living environment.

Transportation- how will the participant get to Recovery Court and treatment?

The Recovery Court Office and treatment providers are located close to public transportation. There are mentors who are available to help those participants who have never used public transportation.

Who is eligible to enter the Recovery Court?

Adults, 18 years of age and older, who have current legal charges in Knox County, are chemically dependent, nonviolent offenders (legally eligible), and who show a willingness to participate voluntarily are eligible for the Knox Recovery Court Program.

A person is legally eligible for participation in the Knox Recovery Court if:
1. They are a mentally stable, substance dependent individual; and
2. They have been charged with, and/or convicted of, an offense that does not involve violence; and,
3. They have no substantial history of drug sales; and,
4. They agree to voluntarily participate in Recovery Court.

A person is legally ineligible for participation in the Knox Recovery Court if they are currently charged with, or have been convicted of, an offense, during the course of which:
1. the individual carried, possessed, or used a firearm or other dangerous weapon; or,
2. during the commission of the alleged offense there occurred the use of force against the person of another; or,
3. during the commission of the alleged offense there occurred the death of, or serious bodily injury to any person; or,
4. any person who has one or more prior convictions of a felony involving violence or the use, or attempted use of force against a person with the intent to cause death or serious bodily harm.

What is the application/admission process?

Ask your attorney to pick up an application form from the courtroom. Or you can print the form from this website. Fill out the application and fax it to the Recovery Court office (the fax number is on the form.)

If a Recovery Court staff is in the court, a screening can be done right there. in most cases, the staff member can tell you if and when you can start in the program.

Who pays for the Recovery Court?

The total cost for a person to participant for 1 year in the Recovery Court is about $5000. Most of this cost is provided by Drug Co-Offender fees and grants. The Recovery Court requires participants to pay a 1-time fee of $300 as well as pay for the cost of their drug screens.

How long does the program last?

The length of the Program is based on each participant’s progress in ameliorating the identified problem areas as described in measurable terms on their individualized treatment plan. This typically takes between 9 months and 30 months, with the average time being a little over 15 months.

Why is the program so intense?

The program is designed to meet the needs of each individual “where they are”. Because of the progressive nature of chemical dependence, participants only reach our door after their addiction has progressed to the point that no type of treatment other than the most intensive will be effective. As the participant advances through the Recovery Court Program, he needs less intense treatment. This is called the step-down approach to treatment delivery. Therefore, treatment progress means less intense treatment, less intense supervision, and fewer drug screens.