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NCJ Number: 169769 Find in a Library
Title: Drug Courts: An Innovative Approach to Drug-related Crime
Journal: Judicial News  Dated:(November 24, 1997)  Pages:5-7
Author(s): R S Martinez
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 3
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the origin of drug courts, their functions and environment, and eligibility requirements.
Abstract: For several decades, illicit drug use has shaped and defined the criminal justice system. In many jurisdictions, the single largest criminal category is drug offenses, with alcohol and other drug (AOD) use a contributing factor in the majority of all other crime categories. Criminal justice processing and AOD treatment services are both directed toward stopping illicit drug use and related criminal activity. A working partnership between the two in an attempt to enhance the effectiveness of each was the concept behind treatment-oriented courts, frequently referred to as "Drug Courts." Focusing on individuals whose major problems stem from AOD use, the drug courts compel individuals to join treatment and supervise them throughout the treatment process. In exchange for successful completion of the treatment program, the court may dismiss or reduce the original charge, not impose a sentence or offer some lesser penalty. In these courts, the primary goal of criminal justice practitioners is sobriety rather than punishment, and the judge is the central figure in a team effort. Treatment providers can focus greater energy on assisting participants instead of enforcing sanctions.
Main Term(s): Controlled Substances
Index Term(s): Alternative court procedures; Court reform; Court social services; Court-sponsored victim services; Criminal justice system reform; Custody vs treatment conflict; Drug Related Crime; Drug treatment programs; Efficiency
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