Defendants facing certain drug charges, such as possession, may be able to avoid incarceration if they meet certain requirements. Drug court programs are treatment programs supervised by the court.
Those eligible for these programs are non-violent offenders who want to get clean and are willing to participate and complete the program. These drug court programs are beneficial in many areas.
Details of drug courts
According to the City of Oklahoma City, drug court programs are voluntary, and they consist of various things:
- Random alcohol and drug testing
- Consistent court appearances in front of a drug court judge
- Self-help meetings
- Counseling services
- Additional treatment services
There also may be an employment or education requirement. The length of a program varies, and those who do not fully participate or complete the program must go through the traditional legal process.
Benefits of drug courts
The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services discusses the varying benefits of these drug court programs. For participants, one of the biggest benefits is that they avoid going to jail or prison, and a judge may also dismiss the original charges.
Participants also graduate free from substance abuse, which often improves their relationships. Compared to those who carried out a jail or prison sentence, drug court graduates have much lower rates of unemployment, higher incomes, higher levels of education and higher chances of regaining custody of their kids. Their rates of incarceration three years after graduating are also much lower.
Drug court programs save taxpayers money, as their estimated costs are around 25% of incarceration costs. Communities also benefit, as there is a reduction in crime by around 45%.