Drug treatment courts cut down likelihood to reoffend

According to a new study offenders who have committed drug crimes and have gone through a drug treatment court are not as likely to reoffend as those who participate in adjudication processes that lack addiction treatment. Criminal sentences that do not address addiction are more expensive because they do not address the underlying issue according to one doctor who reviewed the study.

Drug courts have been expanding around the country for years and today more than 60 percent of the jurisdictions in the United States have drug courts. Drug courts are a specialized legal forum where offenders admit guilt to drug crimes and if the offenders are found to have a substance abuse issue, they can then participate in a substance abuse program that is jointly run by the court.

Offenders who participate in the substance abuse program have case managers, submit to random drug testing and regularly appear before the court. The programs range from six to 12 months, and if offenders successfully complete the program then their charges or penalties are reduced or dismissed.

Drug court programs are generally believed to be beneficial, and the study was conducted to test that belief. The study compared the experiences of drug offenders who participated in drug court with similar drug offenders who did not participate in drug court for a period of five years. Offenders who participated in the program were not as likely to commit a new crime. Offenders who participated in the program and committed another crime took a longer amount of time to reoffend than those who do not participate in drug court. Participants reoffended in 614 days and nonparticipants reoffended in 460 days.

Source: Medscape News, “Drug Court cuts recidivism, keeps offenders out of jail,” Kate Johnson, 4/21/11

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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