Program Operations


The Davidson County Drug Court Residential Program (DC4) is a long-term residential drug and alcohol treatment facility, which operates under the direct supervision of the Division IV Criminal Court in the 20th Judicial District of Tennessee (Nashville/Davidson County). To our knowledge, DC4 was one of the first self-operated residential drug court program established in this country.

Since the program was established in 1997, over 600 offenders have successfully completed the program. The recidivism rate for persons successfully completing the program is approximately 25%. The retention rate since program inception is approximately 65%. On average, participants had more than 8 previous drug charges, and had been previously incarcerated from two to four years. By using this approach since May of 1997, the Davidson County Drug Court program has accomplished the following: diverted approximately 1,500 people from the current criminal justice process, maintained a negative drug test rate of 97%, provided the community with over 50,000 community service hours annually, maintained a 100% employment rate for graduates, and numerous drug-free babies have been born. All of this has been accomplished at a cost of $48.00 per day as opposed to $63.41 day in prison, representing a savings in excess of 30%.

DC4 currently has the capacity to serve 171 adult male and female non-violent felony offenders for both inpatient and intentive out patient treatment. The daily average census is 80 in residential 25 in outpatient, and 25 aftercare. Demographics of current residents indicate that the average participant began using AOD at the age of 14, and 58% identified cannabis as the first substance they abused. At the time of entry into DC4, approximately 68% of residents identified some form of cocaine as their primary drug of choice (crack cocaine 47.7%, other forms of cocaine 20%). 98% were residents of Davidson County. The average age upon entry to DC4 was 31 years old, with approximately 68% male and 32% female, 61.7% were African American, 37.8% were Caucasian and 0.05% was either Asian or Hispanic. Average household income was 0 to $10,000, and there was no stable job history. The majority were unemployed. Our estimate is that applicants had on average, been convicted of 5 prior felonies and had been incarcerated 4 years.


Offenders may be referred to the program by the public defenders office, a private defense attorney, the Community Corrections Program, or upon successful completion of an in-jail treatment program. The Drug Court Assessment Team assesses all eligible referrals in order to determine whether or not placement in the Residential Program or Intensive Outpatient Program is appropriate. If placement is deemed appropriate, a recommendation is made to the court to admit the offender into the appointed program.

All offenders entering the program are supervised by the Davidson County Community Corrections Program (DCCCP), which is administered by the State Trial Courts and funded by the Tennessee Department of Corrections . Each offender receives a chemical dependency, educational, employment and medical assessment. An individualized treatment plan is developed for each offender based upon the above assessments. The program strives to assist the offender in overcoming his/her addiction, eliminating criminal behavior, developing life skills, obtaining vocational training, completing basic education and attending to other specific needs.


DC4 currently employs seven full-time counselors to provide individualized treatment to residents. A Treatment Coordinator oversees the counseling staff. Four of the counselors serve residents in Phase I and II, one counselor serves the phase III residents and there is one aftercare counselor. Treatment services are generally delivered in the following phases:

Phase descriptions:

Phase I: Assessment and Orientation, is a minimum of 12 weeks in length. During this phase, the residents complete orientation and any other assessments needed to develop the treatment plan. Residents stay at the residential facility 24 hours, 7 days a week during this phase. Residents are drug tested on a random basis.

Phase II: Stabilization and Rehabilitation, is a minimum of 12 weeks in length. During this phase, residents work treatment plans bundled with a wide range of services including individual, group, family, and drama therapy. Services are delivered through didactic approaches such as psycho-education, addictions treatment, medication group, relapse prevention, group therapy and coping strategies. Cognitive therapy and motivational interviewing are integrated with a 12-step based recovery program. Our therapeutic community incorporates vocational training, educational/GED training, life skills, cognitive behavioral interventions and community service work. Each resident performs a minimum of 200 hours of community service work while in the residential program. During this phase, residents are slowly integrated into the community by attending five outside support meetings of AA/NA/CA. Residents receive no less than 2 random drug screens per month during this phase.

Phase III: Re-entry and Employment, is a minimum of 12 weeks in length. During this phase, residents develop an initial aftercare plan with the counselor, begin employment or vocational training and maintain educational pursuits. Pass time is earned to begin the integration process back into the community. A program fee is charged to residents to include them in the financial responsibility to offset the cost of the program. Drug screens during this phase are very important for accountability. Residents receive no less than 3 random drug screens per month during this phase.

Aftercare: Transition, is a minimum of 6 months. Upon successful completion of the three-phase program residents are graduated to aftercare. Graduates are placed in transitional housing away from the facility and return to DC4 weekly for group therapy individual therapy and receive two drug test per week.

IOP: intensive outpatient treatment is a minimum of 12 months in length. During this phase residents are required to report for group treatment 2-4 days per week, attend individual sessions with their counselor, maintain full-time employment, pay all court and program related fees and receive no less than 2 random drug screens per week.

*One major element in each phase of this treatment program consistent in each component is bi-weekly contact with the Drug Court Judge to assess their program progress.