The Experience

That Matters

Drug court can result in positive impacts

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | Drug Crimes |

People who are facing criminal charges for many different crimes may have an underlying substance use disorder. While it’s possible that they may make positive changes in their life in the wake of such circumstances, that’s not common if certain underlying issues aren’t addressed first.

As such, many states employ specialized courts, often called drug courts, that can help to address this issue. Recidivism, which means a person returns to the criminal justice system for new charges after their case is resolved, decreases by around 38% to 50% when those who are affected by substance abuse disorders attend drug court instead of being subjected to traditional sentencing.

Drug court must be a comprehensive process

The effectiveness of drug court depends highly on several factors. The intensity and longevity of supervision in the program is one of these. Programs that include court monitoring after treatment is more effective than programs that cease once a participant receives treatment.

Drug courts generally employ addiction treatment, random drug tests, court appearances and other services to help the participants rebuild their lives and learn to be productive members of society.

Participation in drug courts is typically limited to people who have non-violent charges. The program is more effective for participants who want to get help and who are willing to make long-term lifestyle changes that will help them maintain their sobriety.

Drug courts are cost-effective options

Drug courts are typically more effective than traditional sentencing options, and they’re also more cost-effective. For every $1 spent on drug court, there’s a savings of approximately $4 that would be spent if the person was incarcerated. On average a drug court costs $2,500 to $4,000 per year per participant. The annual cost of incarcerating a person is $20,000 to $50,000 per inmate.

Drug court is only one way that substance-related charges may be resolved. Because not all defendants are eligible for these programs, anyone who is facing criminal charges, and who feels they may benefit from drug court should discuss this potential opportunity with their legal representative.