Drug courts are an alternative to traditional court systems and make for a softer approach to drug-related crimes, as long as they are non-violent. They make for effective judicial intervention that helps in the treatment of people who are addicted to drugs and other substances. Their objective is to reduce drug use and crime and has contributed to saving families and children.
Drug courts provide alternatives to incarceration for both men and women who have had the misfortune to get addicted to substance abuse. These courts have a collaborative approach to treatment that is unique. It requires the offenders to enter voluntarily into programs that are supervised by the court. “There is a coordination between prosecuting and defense attorneys, along with providers of treatment and educators to rehabilitate the offender and bring him or her back to normal social life.” says Winfred McElligott of Treatment Centres in BC.
Rules for participation in such court-supervised programs are clearly defined and requires the offender to enter into a contract with the district attorney and court that requires the agreement of the defendant and his attorney. When a person is arrested for possession of drugs, they need to go through a screening process that will determine their eligibility for drug court proceedings. The charge must be a felony of the fourth or fifth degree, and the offender must have sufficient motivation to go in for treatment. The offender needs to undergo a medical test to determine the chemical dependency.
Once a person is determined to be eligible for the drug court, the person has to meet with case managers who will monitor all future involvement in the program and the progress to be rid of the chemical. The case manager can impose certain restrictions on the person, and these have to be scrupulously followed. The individuals will need to go through regular testing to prove that they are no more using drugs or other substances. They may also be required to attend meetings of institutions that help people to wean themselves away from drugs. Sanctions can apply if compliance is seen as tardy, and a disqualification from the program may leave the person liable to the original criminal charges.
One great advantage of going through drug courts is that this procedure ensures that no criminal record is created against the offender, which will otherwise hinder normal social life and the ability to obtain jobs. However, if the person does repeat the offense at a later date, the old records can be used to deny any leniency. Individuals who opt for drug courts to try their offenses have to be willing to change and must accept that their problems are being caused by the drugs or alcohol or other substances that they have become addicted to. They must acknowledge their culpability and not blame others or peers for their actions. They must show a willingness to give up former affiliations that may have been responsible for their addictions.
Families are meant to play a useful part in supporting the actions taken by the drug courts, and this is especially important in the case of juveniles. Parents are often required by the tribunals to give the undertaking to support the program and change their lifestyle if so necessary so that there is no access to the drugs or alcohol. Courts may at times order families to go in for therapy to help the offender to get over the substance abuse.
Drug courts place a lot of responsibility on the offender and require a lot of cooperation from that person and possibly the family. Regular testing and court appearances are a part of such legal action against drug offenders.…