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The dismantling of drug courts in Florida

| Feb 4, 2019 | Firm News

In most cases, people do not intend to be a danger to themselves and others, but that can be what happens when individuals drink over their limits or use illegal drugs. These activities often result in trouble with the law, as well. However, a DUI can be a sign of a greater issue.

Drug courts consider that fact and provide an answer. Even so, the Florida Department of Corrections dismantled the state’s program last year, leaving a few questions and concerns.

Drug court

The purpose of drug court is to reduce the risk of parties becoming repeat offenders by providing treatment that helps offenders to kick their habits and enter back into society as productive citizens. The judge, prosecutor, defendant and defendant’s attorney work together, along with the rehabilitation center staff, to create a program fit for the defendant and incorporate court appearances to track progress.

The program’s benefits

The successful program helped many offenders receive the rehabilitative services they needed to overcome their addictions and re-enter society as productive citizens. Not only did the program provide them with the support they needed for their drug habits, but also required them to obtain an education or maintain employment, which aided them in making a smooth transition after the program. Many graduates of the program continue to sustain a substance abuse free lifestyle.

The consequences of ending the program

With the dismantling of Florida’s drug courts, the effects are widespread. Now, those parties who would benefit more from rehabilitative treatment than incarceration will not receive the same quality assistance, and will likely not have all the necessary tools to transition back into society smoothly. Regular courts will see more cases, which will also result in higher levels of incarceration in already crowded jails. The rehabilitation centers and drug court workers will likely suffer as well.

Though the DOC justifies cutting the drug court program as a fix for a financial issue, it adds to another serious issue. However, with the continued spread of drug court programs across the country and their positive track record, the program may see its day in a Florida court yet again.