Incentive Program In Treatment Courts

December 13, 2021 / 0 Comments
In Our Long-term experience with the Treatment courts, We learned that we do not need a big budget for Incentives. For which we share with you how to create and effectively deliver some Incentives that court participants loved, and some that we have seen other teams use successfully.
Here is a brief excerpt from a presentation (which includes the use of Decision Dollars and other tokens), “No-cost/Low-cost Evidence-Based Incentives: Motivating Lasting Change.”

This includes her rundown on “decision dollars” which recently have instituted this fantastic idea in a Treatment Court here in Susquehanna County PA.

Effective Ways To Use Decision Dollars Program:

1. Participants can “buy” items donated by community partners (Walmart, Dollar Tree, etc) such as housewares, cleaning products, items for kids in a “Drug Court Store” that the team creates— open once a month or so.  Participants. really look forward to “store” days and have fun “spending” the currency they earned.
2. Exchange DD for raffle tickets for a gift basket drawing held monthly— or exchange them for a draw from the fishbowl or wheel spin ($1 DD per draw or spin)
3. Exchange for reductions: in fees— either dollar for dollar or on a scale of your choice ($1 Decision Dollar= $5 fee reduction), reduction in community service (only for program-required CS, not for the reduction in CS sanctions! ($1 Decision Dollar=15 min community service credit))
4. Exchange for specific perks/ rewards such as gift cards, VIP parking for a week, a Go First pass in court ($5 DD = 1 pass), a 1-hr one-time reduction.  The team decides the exchange rate.

Reasons Why Decision Dollars are great:

1. Highly motivating.  The more DD’s one has, the greater the value.  Clients work hard to earn more.
2.  ALL team members can distribute. No need to wait for Court Review hearings.
3.  Trains the team to spot and reward the “baby steps” like showing up, trying hard, and telling the truth— which is often giant leaps for our participants.
3.  Helps get our incentive to sanction ratio to 4:1 and beyond— a very good thing!
4. Provides the opportunity to IMMEDIATELY reward compliance.  Immediacy    increases the effectiveness of the reward
5. They cost the program next to nothing.
6. They are fun. Participants really like them— especially when they get to choose how to use them.
7.  They provide a great learning opportunity.  Every time we give a DD, we tell the participant WHAT they did that we liked, WHY they liked it, and HOW continuing the behavior will aid their recovery.

Digital BillingOne of our programs uses something similar: the Kudos card.  Team members can give them out real-time with a note on the back as a reminder of why it was earned and from whom.  Then the participant brings them to the next review docket and reads them aloud to applause and judicial recognition.  Then they go into a bowl for a drawing at the next mandatory monthly sober event; the winner gets a $50 gift card.  Three incentives in one!


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