Why drug courts don't work?

Drug courts are also wildly inconsistent when it comes to providing evidence-based treatment. For example, even though the National Association of Drug Court Professionals recommends against doing so, medical professionals are sometimes turned away by probation officers or judges who prefer a less therapeutic approach. In the first month after release from jail, Habakkuk Nickens receives 10 job offers and a driver's license, and sees his daughter to her prom. During her TEDx talk, New Hampshire Supreme Court President Tina Nadeau defends drug courts and, while explaining the process, expresses surprise at “how difficult it is for criminals to be honest.”.

She goes on to explain how penalties for breaking the rules in drug court can include “writing an essay on honesty, completing community service, or showing up and spending the day in court, or spending several days in jail. Writing an essay on honesty would be better suited for a disobedient fifth grader than someone struggling with an opioid addiction. Given this approach, it is not surprising that the system encourages dishonesty on the part of the participant and dehumanizes them by eliminating their agency and showing little or no compassion for their situation. This system creates a fear-based relationship between the participant and the treatment system, rather than a compassion-based relationship.

This DPA report concluded that treatment programs selected by drug courts are almost always abstinence-based, and that even methadone-based treatment and other maintenance programs are rarely included among treatment options. Abstinence programs carry an additional danger due to the participant's reduced tolerance after being discharged. Harm reduction centers are also excluded from potential treatment options, despite the fact that they are uniquely equipped to care for and provide resources to injecting drug users. The harm reduction model differs greatly from the abstinence model because it recognizes that many people will continue to use drugs despite potential dangers.

Recognizing this, they work to reduce the risks that may accompany drug use by providing sterile syringes, fentanyl test strips, Narcan kits, and general education that can greatly reduce a drug user's risk of overdose or contracting HIV, among other hazards. By showing compassion and understanding, they help reduce the burden of stigma on people who use drugs and stay prepared to help break addiction when the person is ready to do so. Coercion is not part of the process. This philosophy is at odds with the exclusive abstinence approach and therefore remains excluded from the list of approved drug court treatment options.

Much of the data surrounding drug courts can be misleading. The National Criminal Justice Referral Service, a government entity, reports that participants are less likely to be arrested or use drugs during and after being in the program. While they recognize that drug courts are more expensive and use more resources, the claim is that there are longer-term savings due to lower recidivism rates. In light of these trends in incarceration, consensus has been growing in the Americas on the need for drug law reform and alternatives to criminal sanctions for certain categories of drug offenses.

Drug courts are not the solution to the systemic problems of overdose deaths and mass drug arrests. As a result of selective selection, people with more serious drug problems are often denied access to drug courts. National drug policy reform gains momentum, it's time for the United States to make a concerted effort to reduce the failed drug war elsewhere. Of course, I'm not the first person to criticize drug courts, but what I'm doing is something unique is looking very carefully at the forms of therapeutic control that are happening within treatment centers, actually observing the logic of that treatment within the drug court itself and trying to frame how do those therapeutic techniques of government work in ways that empower some, but are also a form of social control for others.

President Joe Biden vowed to end incarceration for drug use, explaining that no one should be jailed “just for the use of illegal drugs. Since drug courts need prosecutors, judges and other court personnel, as well as the use of a public courtroom, drug courts are more expensive than voluntary treatment administered through the health system. Drug courts in the Americas present a series of recommendations that should be seriously considered by countries concerned about mass incarceration and that intend to move away from over-reliance on criminal justice responses to drug use. Perhaps the most telling measure of whether or not the drug court model is an effective drug control strategy is contained in overdose statistics.

Their experiences show that ending the criminalization of drugs coupled with serious investment in treatment and harm reduction services can virtually eliminate drug overdose deaths, while significantly improving safety and health. Attendance at Drug Court Sessions Drug Court sessions will be scheduled according to their phase in the program. Instead of incarceration, Biden has embraced drug courts and other forms of forced or forced drug treatment to address the growing crises of overdose and addiction in the United States. Participants have agreed to appear at regularly scheduled Drug Court sessions in front of the Drug Court Judge and have also agreed to follow a treatment plan that is established to meet their individual needs.

He has worked to broaden the understanding of this policy, culminating in the Drug Courts of the Americas, a comprehensive academic review of the effectiveness and impact of drug courts in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. From 1995 to 2000, the federal Drug Court Grant Program funded the opening of 275 drug courts across the country. While drug courts reduce initial sentences, this reduction in incarceration is offset by the time participants spend behind bars to receive penalties, as well as by longer sentences imposed on people who do not graduate from drug courts. .


Wade Pfalmer
Wade Pfalmer

Hardcore organizer. Freelance zombie buff. Passionate social media junkie. Hardcore web specialist. Typical coffee fanatic. Lifelong tv fanatic.

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