Drug courts in the US

During the 1980s, the number of people who were using drugs in the United States greatly increased. There were many arrests made and most of these were as a result of cocaine use. This was period when there was an epidemic of cocaine usage. The judicial system established tight laws and as a result, the prisons were filled with the culprits involved. Most of the early courts put more emphasis on rapid handling of the cases rather than treatment issues. The traditional courts therefore were ineffective and only lead to an increase in use through reinforcing denial. This lead to the establishment of drug courts whose role was to reduce abuse by successfully rehabilitating the less violent offenders. To achieve this, they focused on continuous treatment and regular drug testing. These were intensely carried out under strict supervision and with the help of numerous rehabilitation services. The drug courts also helped in reducing recidivism rates (Government Accountability Office, 1997).

While in the drug courts, the individual undergoes a series of treatments and counseling sessions coupled with frequent appearances in court. The end result of completing the program is reduction in penalties, or sentences and getting the necessary skills to improve their lives (Government Accountability Office, 1997).

In New Jersey State where I reside, drug courts have been established. Research has shown that most crimes in the United States are as a result of drug influence and or alcohol. The reason for setting up these courts was to reduce prison overload, reduce drug use and recidivism. It has been proved that incorporating supervision and treatment is more effective in achieving these than relying on supervision or treatment alone (National Institute of Justice, 1999). Therefore, the drug courts have helped in breaking the cycle of addiction. It has also lead to reunions of families and reduced the number of babies born with drugs in their systems. The judicial system has also saved a lot of money which was used in the building of more jails. The outcomes of the drug courts are the reduction in rates of recidivism, re-arrest and re-conviction. The individuals have gained necessary skills, improved their study levels and maintained their lobs to support their families (National Institute of Justice, 1999).

There is need for the establishment of drug courts in every state to help in the processing of drug cases. This will offer a viable solution to the addiction of drugs. It has helped in the reduction of crime rates and reducing the cost incurred by the judicial system. The drug courts have lead to healthier families. According to a report from the US Department of Justice, many drug free babies have been born to drug addicts who graduated from the program. This emphasizes the success of these courts. The drug courts have enhanced cost saving in judicial system (National Institute of Justice, 1999).


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