SMART Recovery and the Courts

What SMART Recovery Provides:

If you are looking for addiction recovery support for individuals in the justice system, SMART Recovery is the 2nd largest peer support organization in the world, and offers solid, religion-neutral resources and support for anyone suffering addictive issues.

The SMART Recovery tools are based on the same cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) coping skills and Motivational Interviewing techniques utilized in treatment and therapeutic settings, but adapted for peer support and self-help use, in both our local meetings and online environment.

We were excited and honored to be invited to speak at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals at their Annual Conference in Washington DC in July 2017.


Does your court refer to SMART?

We are adding meetings every day. Please check our local listings for meetings near you. We warmly welcome participants referred by the courts and probation to our meetings.

We provide meeting attendance verifications for those attending full meetings. We currently provide verifications to Courts and Probation offices in over 700 counties in the US.


We’re proud to be recognized by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), National Drug Court Institute (NDCI), Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA), National Institute of Health: National Institute for Drug Addiction (NIDA) and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alchoholism (NIAAA).

SMART was included by the NADCP as a model for peer support programs, along with 12-step.

"Participants regularly attend self-help or peer support groups in addition to professional counseling.  The peer support groups follow a structured model or curriculum such as the 12-step or Smart Recovery models." 19

19 "Drug Courts must offer a secular alternative to 12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous because appellate courts have interpreted these programs to be deity-based, thus implicating the First Amendment (Meyer, 2011)."


More About SMART Recovery and the Courts

SMART is abstinence-focused, and the tools we use are directed at practical applications of managing frustration, coping with anger, and learning to socialize without turning to substances or other unhelpful behaviors. Problem-solving is emphasized, and can easily be applied to a range of faulty or criminally-inclined thinking.

SMART was begun in 1994 as a 501(c)(3)non-profit, and our first correctional meeting was held in the Danbury, CT prison by founding and current President, Dr. Joe Gerstein in 1997. Dr. Gerstein has personally gone on to conduct over 2000 meetings, 800 within correctional facilities, and SMART Recovery has grown to over 2400 meetings in the US as well as meetings in 23 countries around the world.

Contact Our Court Team

We’d love to speak with you. Let us know how we can help by calling us at (866) 951-5357 (please leave a message for the Court Team, and we will call you back), or by clicking below.


See Also

Court-Related Resources
Resources for the courts or for those speaking with the courts.

1st Amendment Court Cases
A compilation of court cases related to mandated support group attendance and First Amendment issues regarding religious freedom.

Inside Out secular corrections programSMART Recovery Correctional Substance Abuse Programs

Information regarding SMART Recovery's correctional programs, including the SMART Recovery InsideOut program, specifically designed for use in correctional settings.


SMART Recovery® gratefully appreciates the support of the following organizations:

                     Rehab Nexus Drug & Alcohol Rehab        Drug Rehabilitation Treatment Center