A Day at the Drug Court

“Developed locally, their operations vary significantly. Defendants are diverted to drug court programs at various stages in the judicial process. And while many people arrested for non-violent offenses are eligible, prosecutors ultimately determine who gets offered the option of treatment. Participants must usually plead guilty as a prerequisite, and they’re drug tested throughout treatment. Judges can reward or punish their behavior: Incentives include certificates, cards and applause from the courtroom. Sanctions include admonishments, assigned essays, increased drug testing and court appearances, and, sometimes, a few days or weeks in jail.”

“Drug courts are one of the most important pieces of evidenced-based drug policy reform we have seen in generations,” US drug czar Gil Kerlikowske says in an email to The Fix. “By providing non-violent drug offenders with a chance to reclaim their lives through treatment rather than wasting away in prison, we save lives, save taxpayer dollars, reunite families, and reduce rates of incarceration. Decades of research and experience reveal that addiction—the underlying cause of too much crime in our communities—is a disease that can be successfully treated. Drug courts are what today’s discussion about drug policy should be about.”

http://www.thefix.com/content/drug-courts91363

Source: The Fix.com – March 5, 2013

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