Drug courts first started in Australia in 1999. The aim of drug courts is to divert drug reliant transgressors from the criminal justice system and into treatment. Their establishment stands for a significant step towards a healing design of offender management – moving the focus from offenders and their actions to the problems and possible reasons for their behavior.
Australian drug courts are mainly based on the designs developed in the USA during that they showcase an integrated community-based treatment program that is kept track of through routine appearances be- fore a judicial officer. The treatment program requires drug abstinence through frequent and random drug screening, and increases participant accountability through a series of sanctions and rewards. Unlike United States drug courts, which generally target first-time culprits, the Australian programs are primarily focused on offenders with a long history of property upsetting and are used as a final choice prior to imprisonment.
Eligibility requirements for a drug court order differ in each jurisdiction. In general nevertheless, the accused has to plead guilty to their charges and satisfy the court that their drug dependency contributed to the commission of their offense. As soon as a drug court order has actually been made, individuals follow a three-phase program over a 12-month period. During this time they will engage in a variety of drug rehabilitation and life skills programs aimed at decreasing upsetting and substance abuse and preparing participants for neighborhood re-integration as non-drug making use of people.
Challengers of healing jurisprudence and drug courts assert that strict, judicially monitored treatment programs fail to represent the ‘normative’ change processes required for successful drug rehab. It is believed that this form of ‘coerced treatment’ is not likely to provide sustainable outcomes for both offenders and the neighborhood.
Nevertheless, recent evaluations both in Australia and overseas have usually identified a number of positive results from drug courts. These can consist of:
reductions in substance abuse and criminal recidivism both during and after program conclusion;
enhancements in participant’s health and health;
monetary cost savings in prosecution, law enforcement, jail and court expenses;
social benefits such as the long-lasting reduction in drug use, increases in work, education, and the reunification of families.
Evaluating the long term efficiency and cost-benefit of this strategy to breaking the drugs-crime link will certainly need ongoing assessments.