What Is A Drug Court?
There has been a recent push for the criminal justice system to use alternative sentencing methods for individuals who have committed nonviolent drug crimes. In fact, nearly half of all people in prisons and jails are being held for drug offenses.
The Purpose Of Drug Court
A drug court is an alternative sentencing program that is used to rehabilitate drug offenders who suffer from substance abuse disorder. Rather than incarcerating them, drug courts provide people with structured treatment programs to help them overcome their addiction.
Drug courts acknowledge that addiction is at the root of many drug offenses. By helping individuals recover from substance abuse issues, the idea is that drug offenses will decrease as a result.
What happens during the program?
Each drug court program operates differently, but some common aspects you may find are:
- Random drug tests
- Clinical treatment for substance abuse disorders
- Case management: connecting participants to employment opportunities, further education, etc.
- Formal treatment plans
- Rewards for success, sanctions for not meeting requirements of the program
- Drug education courses
- Court appearances to manage progress
Consistent failure to comply with these requirements may result in the individual being removed from the program.
Who is eligible for drug court?
In order to enter drug court rather than formal sentencing, you must:
- Be a nonviolent offender
- Be charged with a drug crime
- Be a US citizen
- Have at least one prior drug conviction that resulted in a traditional sentence
It is important to note that marijuana and alcohol-related offenses do not qualify for drug court.
Is drug court effective?
In short, yes. According to Judge Randall Skanchy, the recidivism rate for people who complete a drug court program is just 25%. This means that only 25% of people who go through drug court continue to commit drug crimes afterward.
The recidivism rate for individuals charged with drug crimes that spent time in jail is 75%.
Salt Lake City Drug Attorneys
Drug courts provide support and assistance to individuals suffering from substance abuse disorder, rather than simply putting them behind bars. If you believe that you or a loved one may be eligible to enter a drug court program, contact us today.