In Indiana, as well as many other states, drug courts stand as a beacon of hope, offering an alternative approach to the traditional punitive measures for non-violent, drug-related crimes.
These specialized courts recognize that addiction is a complex issue and that, often, traditional punishment does not help in addressing the root cause of these types of crimes.
Understanding drug courts
These courts aim to address the unique needs of individuals struggling with substance abuse. Rather than focusing solely on punishment, these courts aim to rehabilitate offenders by offering a structured path to recovery.
How do drug courts benefit the system?
Many people may wonder what the courts get out of this, and that is because most people do not understand that the judicial system does not want to punish individuals.
The law is in place to create and maintain order, and the judicial system understands that addiction is an illness and something that individuals should address.
While sometimes punishment is appropriate because the law says it is, drug courts open the door to the idea that there are ways to decrease drug-related crimes by addressing the root causes, such as addiction and substance abuse, which often lead to individuals committing crimes.
How do drug courts work?
Upon entering drug court, individuals undergo a thorough assessment to identify the root causes and create a personalized treatment plan. Instead of facing incarceration, individuals commit to a program that includes:
- Court check-ins
- Community support
Drug court usually takes between 18 and 24 months. A team of court professionals. Sometimes that involves a drug court judge, the individual’s criminal defense attorney, probation officers, community corrections representatives, treatment providers and a state or local prosecutor.
A beacon of hope
Drug courts embrace the understanding that some individuals commit drug-related crimes because of addiction and want to help them by addressing the root cause instead of punishing them. However, these programs are intensive and involve a high level of supervision.
Many individuals who graduate from drug court successfully deal with their addictions in the program and go back into the world with tools to continue to support them in their healing journey.
This not only helps the individual but also courts and communities, as these programs often result in lower rates of repeat offenses.