Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Drug courts reduce drug use and criminal offending

Deputy United States Attorney General James M. Cole touted drug courts at a recent National Association of Drug Court Professionals Conference in Washington, DC.  Here are excerpts from his remarks:

Research funded by the National Institute of Justice shows that local drug courts do reduce drug use and criminal offending.  In particular, programs that target individuals who are drug-dependent and at high risk for recidivism have been proven to be especially effective and yield the greatest return on investment.

A drug court is most effective when it has a clear and focused screening process and relies on a validated risk assessment instrument.  A drug court has better chances for success when it uses a system of graduated and immediate sanctions and incentives, when the process is understandable and meaningful to participants, and when the process is delivered in a way that can be perceived as fair and equitable.  And it works best when those running the program establish a continuum of care that supports relapse prevention, community integration, and aftercare services.  These are critical strategies, founded on science, that can help maximize the drug court approach, and need to be built into our programs.

The truth is that drug courts may not be suitable for everyone who has committed a drug crime.  But for those cases where it is a good fit, they can make the difference between a continuing cycle of crime and a changed, drug-free life. 

To read more: http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/dag/speeches/2013/dag-speech-130715.html

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