A drug court is a correctional facility co-operating with the judicial system in trying to aid drug offenders amend their habits. Many Drug Courts focus on adults. However, there are also juvenile drug courts, which deal with drug offenders who are minors in consideration of age.
The pioneer drug court began in Florida Dade county back in 1989. There existed failures in the system as similar people committed similar charges. A certain group of professionals in the justice department identified this and saw it necessary to arrest the situation. In light of this, they achieved their intentions by collaborating treatment for drug abuse with judicial structure and judge’s authority. Since that period in 1989, there have been elicited nationwide concerns about these facilities. It is worth noting that this has sparked a revolution-like growth of many more drug courts across the nation. As at now, there are more than 2700 Drug Courts in America. These serve an estimated 135000 people per annum (Shaffer, 2006).
There exist numerous Drug Courts which include; Adult Drug Court, Federal District Drug Court, DWI court, Reentry Court, Juvenile Drug Court, Veterans Treatment Court (which is the newest model), Family Dependency Treatment Court, Tribal Healing to Wellness Court and Back on TRAC: which translates to Treatment, Responsibility, Accountability on Campus.
This paper seeks to determine the core duties and functions of the special court known as a drug court. In addition to this, the paper will analyze and find out whether these drug courts are effective and efficient to their mandate.
To begin with, the adult Drug Court has realized a decrease in the tendency to fall back in committing crimes and reduced abuse of illegal substances among offenders who are non-violent. Apart from this, they have elevated the probability of correcting behavior successfully. Undoubtedly, drug-related crime rates have elevated over time but this is no solid ground for pointing fingers at drug courts. There are a myriad other factors that are more likely than not that hinder the progress achieved. Such include demographics that are always changing (e.g., skyrocketing unemployment and poverty levels), patterns of drug abuse (e.g., cocaine, methamphetamine and crack) and government policies on drugs (e.g., War on Drugs). These may be the cause for such development. Indeed, the main purpose of creating drug courts was the very reason that drug-induced crimes on the elevating plane. The logical interpretation in this case is that high drug crime rate led sparked installation of Drug Courts and never the vice versa. The notion that Drug Courts have led to increased arrests of drug related crimes is somehow vague and seems very misplaced.
Secondly, the incarceration cost in America by 2010 was standing at a high of $80 billion (Dr. Douglas, 2015). This is due to the large populations put behind bars following the government’s policy of ‘tough on crime’. The federal prison population has grown tremendously by about 800% from 1980 according to the United states Justice Department. In fact, officials of the Justice Department remarked that federal prisons were operating at an over capacity of almost 40%. However, the policy makers have since changed that and replaced it with ‘smart on crime’. The latter advocates for alternative options other than incarceration for drug offenders who are non-violent. This turn of events has greatly helped save the economy from the injuring cost of running prisons: Which were otherwise flooded with inmates. Moreover, this has reduced recidivism rates among non-violent drug offenders, since they do not get the influence of mainstream federal prisons. However, sympathizers of drug users try to water down efforts of the Drug Courts. For instance, according to Dooley (2007), “Drug Courts will never provide a solution to the drug...
References: DOOLEY, W. GRAINNE (2007). WHY DRUG COURTS ARE THE NOT THE ANSWER.
DR. DOUGLAS MARLOWE (2015). DRUG COURTS SAVE LIVES AND MONEY: SO WHY THE CRITICISMS?
SHAFFER, D. (2006). RECONSIDERING DRUG COURT EFFECTIVENESS: A META- ANALYTIC REVIEW. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/
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