Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Drug Courts will continue to grow

Drug courts have been a great alternative to jail  for certain offenders  for years. While, its a fairly new program drug courts have been around since 1989 when the first drug court was established in Florida. Drug court is defined as, "Drug courts can be defined as "special court calendars or dockets designed to achieve a reduction in recidivism and substance abuse among nonviolent, substance abusing offenders by increasing their likelihood for successful rehabilitation through early, continuous, and intense judicially supervised treatment" (NCJRS). Drug courts give the offenders a second chance to shape up and possibly gain some responsibility for their self. Of course drug courts do not work for everyone and many people fail and go to prison. However, the ones that pass their assigned program are given a chance to shape up and not have to go to prison. The drug court works with a certain model in order to gain the most effective success. This model includes; Incorporating drug testing into  case processing, creating a non adversarial relationship between the court and the defendant, Identifying defendants in need of treatment and referring them to treatment as soon as possible after arrest, making sure the defendants remain abstinent  by continually giving drug screens throughout their treatment, Establishing a coordinated strategy to govern drug court responses to participants' compliance, Maintaining judicial interaction with each drug court participant, Monitoring and evaluating program goals and gauging their effectiveness, Continuing interdisciplinary education to promote effective drug court planning, implementation, and operations, and finally Forging partnerships among drug courts, public agencies, and community-based organizations to generate local support and enhance drug court effectiveness. (this drug court model information is right from the NCJRS website In order for a drug court to be truly successful it will compose a great deal of these assets to increase efficiency. 

Drug courts have many advantages one of the biggest advantages would have to be the amount of money saved from the defendant going to drug court rather then prison. one definitive cost-benefit evaluation estimated the average investment per program participant was $5,928; the savings were $2,329 in avoided criminal justice system costs and $1,301 in avoided victimization costs over a 30 month period. However, there are many other benefits to drug courts other than money. In an overall sense drug courts have lead to reduction in drug use, reduction in recidivism, intensive supervision of defendants, the reuniting of families, birth of drug free babies, and overall a greater credibility for the criminal justice process. This is not to say that in every case all these things occur, but in an overall sense for all drug courts these are the benefits of the programs. 

Since 1989 there has been a huge increase in the amount of drug courts, "As of November 2011, there were 2,232 drug courts operating in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Another 204 drug court programs were in the planning stages". This to me just shows how great of program drug courts really are. Of course with any program there are faults and problems, but in general drug courts have done an amazing thing for the criminal justice system and is allowing for more people to go home to their families instead of prison. Our prisons are already crowded enough and drug courts are helping that problem year after year. I only hope that drug courts continue to grow and more ideas are thought of to improve and make them even more effective. Some questions for you guys, Do you have any ideas in order to improve the current drug court model? Has anyone had prior experience in a drug court or know anyone who was apart of a drug court? Did drug court work for that person?



  1. Nice post, I really enjoyed reading this because it was very relatable to what i am currently doing in my research methods class. We are comparing drug court treatment programs fro methamphetamine addictions and most of the rusluts from studies i found were that drug courts are indeed effective and successfully treating the individuals and lowering recidivism rates and reintegrating them back into society nicely. And I also found a couple studies that werent just for methamphetamine. Drug court based treatment progarms showed similar successfull results for other types of drugs such as cocaine and heroin. I am all for the use of drug courts in certain situations because the truth is they do work and like you noted they save us some money. win win

  2. Last semester I visited a drug court and it was different from what I expected. The judge was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and the drug court patients, when called, would go up and shake the judges hand. It was extremely informal, but I could see how it works. The patients were all friendly and talkative before and seemed very adamant about their rehabilitation.

  3. Drug courts are like AA meeting but the leader is a judge. The reason I say that is, the judge is in his court room but very laid back and just wanted to talk to these people face t face to help them stay out of jail. I think it is a unique way of try but i really don't think it works. When I went to observe one many people failed the test or did not meet with their probation officer

  4. I believe that drug courts are a fantastic idea and should be placed into action more often. Placing a juvenile in a detention center is going to just cost the state more money and chances are the juveniles are not going to get any better in dealing with their issues. Drug courts do just that they help the individuals with their drug problems in a controled manor with group meetings and support groups. Drug courts also give the individuals more information on where they can receive treatment that they so badly need.

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