“It wasn’t your typical day in court.
This is drug court in Brooklyn, where, instead of jail time, eligible drug-addicted offenders go through court-supervised treatment that can last the better part of a year or more. It’s a program that proponents argue saves money and restores lives.
With criminal justice reform now an issue for both the Republican and Democratic side of the 2016 presidential campaign, drug courts are increasingly being viewed as a viable alternative to mandatory jail time. The War on Drugs waged during the crack era of the 1980s and ’90s packed U.S. prisons with non-violent drug offenders, but many voters and policymakers have grown disillusioned with this solution, citing the high cost of incarceration and its devastating impact on inmates’ families and economic prospects.
“The goal is not to be just drug free, but to have a meaningful, viable life. And that means education and employment. Once they’re not using drugs, people want these opportunities,” Ferdinand told MSNBC. The Brooklyn Treatment Court is one of approximately 3,000 drug courts in the country – a boomlet since the first was established in Miami in 1989.
It’s an approach embraced by several of the candidates vying for the presidency in 2016.”
Source: – MSNBC.com – August 25, 2015