Not all drug crime offenders end up in the prison system. Florida offers an alternative for those who pose no additional risk to the community.
Drug Court Programs provide supervision for non-violent offenders who want to make a change and become drug-free. Over time, these programs show that they are beneficial in many aspects.
Purpose of Drug Court Programs
Florida started the first drug court in 1989. According to Court News Florida, the purpose of these programs is to help offenders stay out of jail and become drug-free by providing drug education and treatment alternatives.
To enter the program, offenders must go through pre-screening to see if it is a suitable option for them. If so, they must complete the program, which ranges from four months to 18 months.
The court supervises these programs, and they consist of case management and comprehensive treatment. Some aspects of the program include:
- Random drug screening
- Court appearances
- Peer support meetings
- Residential treatment
- Substance abuse counseling
There are various programs to serve adults, juveniles, veterans and those with mental health issues.
Benefits of drug court
For drug offenders, these drug programs help them stay out of jail, stop substance abuse, save their lives and help mend relationships with family members and friends. There may also be a dismissal of the related charges, which allows the offenders a new start in life.
According to the Florida Drug Courts, these programs also reduce crime in the community, have valuable cost benefits and have improved treatment outcomes compared with other criminal justice approaches. The Florida programs related to drug offenses have served as an example for other drug programs across the United States.