The drug court program is different than a typical criminal court program. The goal is to keep people from going to jail. Instead, drug courts will use treatment programs, supervision and even mandatory drug tests to stop cycles of criminal activity related to addiction in their tracks. People are given a program that they have to complete, and they are able to have their charges dropped if they complete the program successfully.
This system has been incredibly helpful and has spread across the entire United States ever since its inception. Is also used in Pennsylvania. What are some of the specific ways that drug court can help those who are facing drug charges and who are eligible for this opportunity?
It focuses on addiction
First and foremost, the drug court process is aimed at breaking the cycle of crime and addiction. Often, people who are being arrested on drug offenses are only doing so because they’re addicted to the substances in question. It’s not as if they want to be arrested or they even want to break the law. But they have a physical addiction that they cannot manage on their own, so they will continue to violate the law as long as that active addiction persists.
In other words, putting an addicted person in jail – or even threatening them with jail time – won’t have any effect. But sending them to a treatment program that can help them to effectively manage their addiction may keep them from returning to crime in the future.
It protects an offender’s future
Additionally, as noted above, criminal charges can be dropped when a person complies with a drug court program and completes it. This means that they will not have a permanent record, which they would have had if they had been convicted in a traditional criminal court.
A permanent record can keep convicted offenders from getting a job, renting an apartment or getting a loan. By keeping a drug charge off someone’s record, their ability to live unburdened in this way – as they hopefully work a strong recovery program – will be preserved.
Not everyone is eligible for the drug court process. However, it’s important for those who have been accused of drug crimes to look into all of the options they have, as they may have greater opportunities to avoid severe consequences than they’ve originally allowed themselves to believe.