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Do drug courts work?

If you are facing a California drug charge, you may have serious concerns about having to spend time behind bars. Increasingly, however, some drug offenders, depending on the circumstances of their crimes and criminal history, receive an offer to take part in a drug court program, as opposed to serving time in jail. Drug courts seek to treat the addiction itself through a combination of counseling and regular appearances before a court. The main idea is that the program will help addicts stay on track while keeping more non-violent drug offenders out of California’s already-overcrowded prison system.

Do drug courts deliver all they promise, though? According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, they absolutely do, and they also offer a number of benefits not only for the addicts, but for their surrounding communities. For starters, they save taxpayers considerable money. Nationally, every $1 invested in drug court saves as much as $3.36 by reducing related criminal justice expenditures.

Drug courts also have a proven, positive reduction on crime rates. Compared with more traditional sentencing options, such as jail time, drug courts reduce crime in communities by more than 40 percent. Additionally, about three-quarters of all successful drug court graduates remain arrest-free for at least two years following program completion.

If you have children, they also stand to benefit substantially from your participation in drug court. Your inclusion in the program means your kids are far less likely to spend a lengthy amount of time in someone else’s care. You are also more likely, as a parent, to find success in the program than you are if you do not have kids.

This information about the effectiveness of drug court is informative, but it should not replace legal advice.

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