Throughout the United States, Federal judges and prosecutors are proscribing prison for drug-addicted, non-violent offenders in favor of treatment programs and community service. Unofficially known as Drug Courts, this is an effort to avoid overly punitive and destructive sentencing. Moreover, the Justice Department has backed this idea, allowing courts to dismiss charges in certain cases.
This is a Federal approach to a program that his been highly effective in numerous state level prosecutions. States are finding this method preferable to incarceration as it is less expensive and more effective than prison for many recidivist, drug dependent offenders. Recognizing this, the Federal government is now espousing it as a solution.
The following states, many of whom already had such a system in place, have been chosen for the Federal program: California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington. So far, approximately 400 potential prison inmates have been spared incarceration and have begun treatment under the Drug Court program.
This is a win-win. Drug Courts focus on helping addicted users receive treatment and rehabilitation, and they save taxpayers the huge expense of warehousing inmates. It’s not an end to the inane and destructive drug war, but it can be seen as a Christmas Miracle cease fire.
Defendants agree to accept responsibility, sign up for drug treatment and community service, and allow judges to track their success. If they complete the program and stay out of trouble, they receive a commuted sentence. Violation of any of these conditions will result in their receiving the full sentence they would otherwise have gotten. Drug Courts are not available to defendants who are accused of violent crimes, high value drug traffickers or gang members.
To learn more, go to this NYT article.
BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.
- Justice praises bill on prison overcrowding (wvgazette.com)
- Drug Courts Work (captainjustice.net)
- New report in Minnesota documents success of drug court model (sentencing.typepad.com)
- Northern Hills Drug Court holds graduation (rapidcityjournal.com)
- Retiring Beaufort County Drug Court judge transformed court, offenders’ lives (islandpacket.com)
- We know community crime prevention pays off: Guest opinion (oregonlive.com)
- Houston-Henry County Circuit get Adult Drug Court Program (wtvy.com)
- Drug Court’s new approach: Community service instead of jail time (tdn.com)