Drug courts are the result of a combined effort from the judiciary system, social services, prosecution, defense bar, probation, law enforcement, mental health and treatment communities to forcefully intervene and break the cycle of substance abuse, addiction and crime (National Drug Court Institute, 2009). The drug court’s role is to quickly identify drug abuse offenders and place them in strict court monitored treatment. The treatment is an intense long term solution including combined services from probation, social programs, and mental health services.The judge has special expertise in this field and sees the offender on during a rigorous process. Drug courts are designed to outperform all other courts in drug abuse cases, by reducing drug and criminal behavior while offenders are participating in the program, the courts are specially equipped to provide a solution to the growing epidemic of drug abuse. The first drug court was established in Miami Dade County, Florida in 1989; there are now 2,000 programs operating. The American Judicial System’s goal is to establish another 3,143 courts.
The state of Arizona successfully operates drug courts. Drug courts have proven to reduce recidivism and prevent relapses, which in turn reduces jail overcrowding (Supreme Court of Arizona, 2009). The treatment program is offered in lieu of prison for non-violent, low level drug offenders. The drug court works in a way to rehabilitate the offender, keep families together, treat the source of the problem and reduce the jail population. References National Drug Court Institute, 2009: www. ndci.
org Supreme Court State of Arizona, Arizona CASA Program, 2009: www. azcasa. org