Recovery Connections Court
The mission of the Dauphin County Recovery Connections Court program is to promote public safety by keeping participants with substance use disorders safe and accountable as they complete necessary treatment and other rehabilitative services long enough to receive treatment benefits. This will ensure the participant begins the process of recovery and will result in an increase in safety and security for the residents of Dauphin County through lower rates of recidivism.
The Recovery Connections Court’s core purpose and function is to provide a triage for those who are entering the justice system and need immediate treatment access to substance use treatment services and supervision, with the understanding that immediate engagement in treatment at the community level will reduce the likelihood of future criminal activity.
The Dauphin County Recovery Connections Court (RCC) is a presentence diversionary program that facilitates the identification of those individuals who are entering the criminal justice system who have a substance use treatment need. The program ensures that they are connected to appropriate treatment services quickly and provided court-related supervision to reduce the risk of overdose while pending case resolution.
The Recovery Connections court is voluntary, and participants must give their informed consent prior to any evaluation and consideration by the RCC team. Please contact the District Attorney’s office and ask to speak with a member of our Behavioral Health Unit if you have any questions (717-780-6767). Those referred to RCC will be required to complete an assessment with Dauphin County Drug and Alcohol, they can be contacted at 717-635-2254.
The Dauphin County Recovery Connections court is a pre-plea/pre-sentence program and is imposed as a condition of bail. The program has two tracks, demarcated by the criminogenic risk factors of the offender. Participants in Track 1 complete the RCC program in 90-180 days and may qualify for a reduced sentence or a charge amendment as negotiated between the office of the district attorney and the participant’s defense counsel. Individuals in Track 1 of RCC are typically ARD eligible. Upon completion of RCC, they will be placed into the ARD program at the earliest opportunity. Participants will need to complete both RCC and ARD to be eligible for a charge expungement. Those who are represented by the Office of the Public Defender will have their ARD fee waived.
Individuals placed in Track 2 of the RCC program will have had two or more previous contacts with the justice system that resulted in charges. Participants in Track 2 are initiated into treatment through RCC and are referred to an appropriate treatment court program (such as Drug/Vet court) upon completion of the initial phase. If they are not accepted into a treatment court program, the participant may be given a restrictive probation sentence and enter the RCC sentenced supervision (RCCSS) track . Participants in Track 2 may, in many instances, qualify for a reduced sentence or other charge amendment upon their sentencing into RCCSS or another treatment court.
The RCC team holds team meetings and court check-ins three times per week. Participants come in on their scheduled reporting day (which is based on their phase in the program) to provide the team with an update on their progress and activities. Those placed in Track 1 of RCC are required to meet the required bi-weekly court check-ins at the time of initial placement. Those placed in Track 2 are required to check in with the court three times a week. Court reporting reduces as the participants progress continues through the program; all transitions are listed in the program overview. However, our team members are working continuously to facilitate case planning and supervision of those involved.
An individual accepted into the Recovery Connections Court works with an interdisciplinary team of professionals to manage their treatment needs. An Adult probation officer through Dauphin County Adult Probation and Parole services is responsible for the supervision of participants in the RCC program. He/She will be working with a Drug and Alcohol Case Manager and a Certified Recovery Specialist through Dauphin County Drugs & Alcohol. This team works together to adequately supervise participants under RCC and works to continually assess the needs of participants while ensuring compliance with supervision/treatment recommendations.
The RCC Team is at a minimum comprised of a Common Pleas Court Judge, RCC Probation Officer, D&A Case Manager, Public Defender, RCC Coordinator, Diversion Specialists, Behavioral-Health Unit Assistant District Attorney, and Court Administration Staff as needed. This team administers the RCC program. They review new cases referred to RCC and consider them for program participation, as well as routinely review the progress of all program participants.
Information for Applicants/Attorneys
Please see the attachments below for more details on the Recovery Connections Court Program:
RCC Pamphlet (2022)
Recovery Connections Court- Program Overview (2022)
Individuals will be referred to RCC based on their initial interactions with the CJ system. Potential participants are screened at the booking center or at Dauphin County Prison. The referral will be sent to the behavioral health unit in the Dauphin County DA’s office, wherein our team will schedule assessments for substance use needs. Anyone who needs a Drug and Alcohol assessment can reach Dauphin County Drug and Alcohol at 717-635-2254.
If the participant is represented by private counsel, our team will reach out to them to inform them of the referral so they can adequately advise their clients of the options available to them. Individuals can also communicate with their Public Defender, if they are not already represented, they can apply for counsel by contacting the Office of the Public Defender (717-780-6730). Attorneys can communicate their client’s treatment needs to the judge at the time of their preliminary hearing and request a referral to treatment programming.