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NCJ Number: 202927 Find in a Library
Title: Drug Courts in the U.S.
Journal: Issues of Democracy: The Changing Face of U.S. Courts  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:May 2003  Pages:13-19
Author(s): Carson Fox; West Huddleston
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 7
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article presents a brief overview in the development and implementation of drug courts in the United States.
Abstract: The United States court system became overwhelmed in the late 1980's with an increase in arrests for drug and drug-related or involved cases. In addition, mandatory minimum sentences for the possession and distribution of drugs led to tremendous increases in jails and prison populations. To combat this situation, in 1989, the Miami, FL court system implemented the drug court program; an intensive drug treatment program designed as an alternative to incarceration. Today, there are over 1,200 drug courts across the United States. Drug courts maintain a drug court team of treatment and criminal justice professionals who oversee the program and review each participant’s case before the regular court hearing. Drug court participation is voluntary and eligibility is determined based on a legal and clinical screening. In 1997, 10 key components in the framework for drug courts were established as a set of basic standards for those wishing to implement a drug court program. These components consisted of: (1) an explanation of a drug court’s integration of alcohol and drug treatment services with the justice system; (2) a description of drug courts as non-adversarial; (3) the attempt by drug courts to identify participants early in the criminal justice system and place them into treatment; (4) the need for a continuum of treatment and rehabilitation services in drug court; (5) the regular monitoring of participants through alcohol and drug testing; (6) the coordinated strategy which governs drug court responses to participants’ behavior; (7) ongoing interaction with the judge; (8) the need for monitoring and evaluation of the drug court, measuring program success; (9) the need for continuing interdisciplinary education; and (10) the building of partnership in the community to enhance program effectiveness and generate community support. Compliance with the 10 key components is necessary to receive Federal funding. Drug courts have shown tremendous success and now exist in almost every metropolitan area of the United States.
Main Term(s): Drug Courts
Index Term(s): Alternative court procedures; Alternatives to institutionalization; Court reform; Court system; Drug offenders; Drug prevention programs; Drug Related Crime; Drug treatment; Juvenile drug courts
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