| What is difference between Drug Court
and traditional court?
Drug Court sets forth clear goals and incentives to aid in
drug addiction recovery. These goals and incentives must be
met by the individual every step of the way to ensure
graduation from the program. Strict penalties are put into
place if the person does not meet the intended goals. This
includes failures to appear at weekly court hearings, failure
to show for a treatment session or failing of a drug test.
Sanctions are implemented swiftly and in increasing severity.
Repeated or escalating violations of policy will result in
termination. Commission of any new felony offense requires
Drug Courts are based on negative reinforcement; the
withdrawal of negative or unwanted factors to reward positive
behavior. In these cases this is the removal of incarceration
and/or fines for positive performance in treatment programs.
Sadly, people who are in need of treatment programs are not
identified in the traditional court system. With the
continuing increase in incarceration costs and the need for
room in overcrowded jails, only 10% of persons who need
treatment receive it in the traditional court system.
Studies regarding the use of drugs also suggest that some
drug offenders utilize drugs in an attempt to self-medicate
themselves for a psychiatric disorder. Individuals with
mental illnesses are 2.7 times more likely to have substance
abuse problems than individuals in the general populace.
Individuals with substance abuse problems, particularly
problems involving drugs other then alcohol, demonstrate
almost a five–fold greater incidence of mental illness
then the rest of the population.