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Drug Court Essay

1940 words - 8 pages

Executive Summary
The American court system is overflowed with people that suffer from substance abuse. For example drug and/or alcohol related crimes have been implicated in violent crimes, instances of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect cases. Therefore, drug court has come in to offer people arrested for substances abuse related crimes and opportunity to receive community-based treatment with judicial supervision to avoid potential incarceration. For this reason drug court has changed people’s lives in a variety of ways, which are often overlooked, are the positive impact on families and society.
Overall, substance abuse offenders have a recurring problem for the criminal ...view middle of the document...

As a result 146 drug courts are in operation, 90 in the criminal courts, 35 in the family courts, 6 in the town and village courts and 15 drug courts focused solely on juveniles. Overall, 85,415 have participated in New York State drug court programs and 38,185 have graduated. In addition, 833 drug-free-babies have been born to drug treatment court participants while in the program. Each drug court in New York is locally based and reflects the legal culture of the community. Support for the program comes from the local communities, the Unified Court System budget and the federal government. (NY Courts.gov, 2014)
Drug Courts intention is to break the cycle of substance abuse and criminal activity of non-violent criminal offenders by offering eligible participants treatment and rehabilitation instead of traditional sanction of incarceration. As a result completing the program successfully could lead to suspension or dismissal of a criminal case or probation. Therefore the offender takes responsibility for their actions in return the offender turns their life around and becomes responsible, productive and drug free citizen.

Historical Data
Our nation’s prison population has exploded beyond capacity.
* 1 in 100 U.S. citizens is now confined in jail or prison.
* The U.S. incarcerates more people per capita than 26 of the largest European
nations combined.
* Incarceration rates in the U.S. are nine times greater for young African-American
men between the ages of 20 and 34 years.
Most inmates are in prison, at least in large part, because of substance abuse.
* 80 percent of offenders abuse drugs or alcohol.
* Nearly 50 percent of jail and prison inmates are clinically addicted.
* Approximately 60 percent of individuals arrested for most types of crimes test
positive for illicit drugs at arrest.
Imprisonment has little effect on drug abuse.
* 60 to 80 percent of drug abusers commit a new crime typically a drug-driven
crime after release from prison.
* Approximately 95 percent return to drug abuse after release from prison.

Providing treatment without holding offenders accountable for their performance in
treatment is ineffective.
* Unless they are regularly supervised by a judge, 60 to 80 percent drop out of
treatment prematurely and few successfully graduate.
Historical drug courts were created in Miami, Florida in 1989 to combat the increase of non-violent, substances abuse addicted offenders in the justice system. The courts were a response to the overwhelmed drug related cases and substance addicted offenders who continued to get rearrested for new drug related crimes. The Crime Act enacted in 1994, Congress authorized the attorney general to make funding available to States and Indian tribal governments to establish drug courts the approach is different form traditional court practice with the focus being on the habilitating the offender, holding the offender accountable for their actions and...

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