Drug Court

What is drug court?

Drug court is a special court that handles cases involving non-violent drug-using offenders through intensive judicial supervision, case management, treatment, chemical testing and graduated sanctions and incentives. While drug courts vary, all share an underlying premise that drug use is not simply a law enforcement or criminal justice problem, but a public health problem with roots deep in society.

Drug court is a team approach that brings together a number of interveners (judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, treatment professionals, probation officers, law enforcement, educational and vocational experts and community members) to require an offender to deal with his or her substance abuse problem. Personal accountability is an important aspect of drug court. The program rules are clearly defined and outlined in a handbook that is provided to each participant. A combination of rewards and sanctions are used to motivate and encourage participants toward recovery.

Do drug courts save money?

Drug court research reflects that for every $1 spent on drug courts there is a savings of $10 due to reduced jail / prison use, reduced criminality and lower criminal justice costs.

Are drug courts soft on crime?

No. Drug courts are designed to maintain greater control over a participant and their drug use through intensive supervision, increased chemical testing and frequent judicial monitoring that will immediately address non-compliance with the imposition of sanctions. In the traditional criminal setting, a person in a similar situation would otherwise receive little supervision, infrequent testing and have less incentive to change.