Drug Court and Effectiveness
Nowadays, the problem of drugs has become very crucial in the USA. This issue has become a striking point of the debates between the drug supporters and their opponents. That is to say that some individuals consider drugs a form of salvation while the others completely reject them. The amount of drug addicts gradually increases every day. They not only spoil their health and their lives but also have a destructive effect on the society. Drug addiction entails illnesses, unhappiness and misery. Taking into account the increasing tendency of drug abuse, the American government decided to help people who would like to terminate their drug addiction. Accordingly, it provides a program of drug courts. It is considered to be the perfect recovery program for the addicted.
Being a helpful weapon against drug abuse, drug courts have a primary objective in order to reach the desirable goal. The initial target of the drug courts is to stop drug abuse and excessive alcohol consumption as well as related to these problems criminal behaviors. The drug courts help with recovery by providing a coordinated response to those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. The realization of the mentioned goals needs a team-based approach that would involve the cooperation of the defense counsel, judges, probation authorities, law enforcement and the greater community. The reason for this is quite obvious - the collaboration of the mentioned parties encourages the people who have drug abuse problems to participate in the programs. The criminal justice system has a great influence on them. It affects a person after a certain event, namely, arrest and persuasion to begin and continue their treatment. An arrest is considered to be a traumatic event for any individual. It creates an immediate crisis situation and can constrain an abusing behavior. The time after the arrest is a very important since it enables an intervention as well as an introduction of the importance of AOD treatment. That is why immediate and effective action enables making the treatment more effective. One may admit that the main objective of a drug court is to assist individuals in overcoming the problems that are connected with drug addiction, namely the crimes that they have committed.
Drug courts usually presuppose a complex treatment process that consists of several phases. These phases are stabilization, intensive phase, and a transition phase. The first one includes the time of AOD detoxification, education, and initial treatment. The second phase includes individual and group cooperation therapies. The last phase may underline employment, social reintegration, education, and other important activities.
It is very true that many addicted people have problems with law. That is to say that most of the people who are tried by drug courts are individuals who committed a certain crime under the influence of a drug. The participants have to prove the truthfulness of all the evidence against them in order to be accepted for the program. Moreover, the individuals have to follow the strict limitations concerning their daily activities. They must undergo a drug treatment program as well as weekly tests. They must visit drug court weekly and take part in self-help groups. They must remain drug-free and avoid contact with people who consume drug. An efficient participant could have the charges against him/her dropped at the end of the program. If the defendant fails to meet the objectives of the program, he/she automatically is sentenced to jail on the original charges. Nevertheless, not everyone can be eligible for a drug court. When an individual asks to be accepted for a drug court, a supervisor examines the defendant. If the supervisor accepts the eligibility of the defendant, he/she will be immediately accepted. That is to say that all the participants of drug courts are individuals who want to overcome their drug addiction and its effects.
It is completely true fact that the number of drug courts is steadily increasing. There is a lot of them throughout the country. One of such institution is the Akron Municipal Drug Court. Being established in 1995, it is one of the well-known drug courts in the USA. The participants are considered to be offenders who have been accused of drug abuse, complicity, and possession. The eligibility is performed with help of some agencies, namely the narcotics unit, police, the prosecutor, judge, and the Oriana House caseworker. Each agency plays a significant role in coping with drug addicts. The narcotics unit scans the physical state of a participant. This agency determines the type of drug that a person consumed, the period of time during which this individual consumed drugs and impact of the drug on the physical state of the person. It enables a clear understanding of the problem and provides a possible solution for the problem. The police examine the previous crimes committed by the defendant and provide an alternative training to limits his/her violent behavior. The prosecutor is considered to be one of the most important representatives of the drug court. He/she is responsible for conducting the eligibility test as well as examining the mental state and behavior of the person. The validity of the testing depends on the prosecutor’s attention and carefulness. A judge helps to understand the severity of the crime committed by the drug addict. It provides a theoretical background concerning the crime and proposes the extent of the punishment. The last agency, the Oriana House, is responsible for providing a position of employment for the participants. After going through the whole recovery program, the people are given an opportunity to become employees in several sectors. One may state that every agency is of paramount importance since the drug courts are a complex institution. Its result depends on the collaborations of each of the agencies.
The Akron Municipal drug court has a strict system that enables an appropriate supervision and treatment of the individuals. The core method of supervision, applied by the Akron Municipal Court is the digital database. This Drug Court possesses information about of every offender. The main data is the age, the physical state, the name of the consumed drugs, and the crime committed under the influence of the drug. This information is private and not everyone has access to it. It helps the supervisor to look through the information when it is required. Having a perfect system of supervision, the Akron Municipal drug court has a great treatment approach as well. The drug court takes into account the treatment requirements of every individual, namely drug abuse, alcohol consumption, education, family difficulties, employment, housing as well as physical and mental states. Consequently, the individuals undergo treatment regardless of the level of their treatment needs. In the Akron Municipal Court 95 percent of individuals undergo substance abuse treatment, 22 percent education programs, 14 percent mental health, 11 percent housing, 25 percent employment services, 8 percent family, 5 percent medical services. That is to say that treatment method is based on a strict division of the individuals’ needs. Consequently, such an approach brings wonderful results. All of the graduators remain crime-free for a long period. They change their attitudes towards alcohol and other drugs, becoming conscious citizens. Moreover, the graduates occupy some work positions or start studying at educational institutions. Accordingly, it enables to reduce the level of drug addiction in the country.
Taking into account different levels of treatment, one may state that there various types of offenses as well. A great amount of attention is focused on the offense of the drug abuser. A high percent of the individuals are former drug consumers. That is why there is a special treatment for them. Consequently, a drug court is responsible for examining as well as healing the participants. It handles the cases, including drug-using offenders, with the help of a complex judicial supervision and mandatory substance abuse treatment. The healing period ranges from 6 to 12 months. During this period, offenders are not accepted to the Akron Municipal court since they are on probation. After attending all of the required classes, an offender can enter the mentioned institution. One should admit that every offender requires an individual approach. Accordingly, each case is individually examined in every aspect. Former drug abusers not only worsen their physical health but also a mental one. They have become miserable and exhausted respectively. Accordingly, the Drug Courts are in charge of reducing the negative impact of drugs on individuals. By applying the sufficient treatment, the Akron Municipal Court has reached a great success. It is proved that in 1999, 82% of offenders finished the treatment course with a great success (drug court). Moreover, the statistics show that starting from its beginning to the present time the amount of offenders was more than 1000 participants.
Analyzing the gathered information concerning the Akron Municipal Drug Court one may state that drug court has a substantial effect on the development of modern society. Firstly, it brings a normal life to offenders. That is to say that after a sufficient treatment program the participants return back to work, education, and families. Secondly, it assists to improve not only mental health of the offenders but also their physical state. Thirdly, it enables to reduce the level of drug consumption at the global and local levels. That is why the government is the main supporter of the drug courts. During the period of 1998 to 2010 the American government invested $530 million through federal grants to encourage drug courts at all levels. The government believes that drug courts are effective for giving an alternative to incarceration. Being a helpful tool in the government’s hand, the effectiveness of drug courts is sometimes controversial. There is a small percent of critics who stick to the idea that the drug courts can not reduce the rate of recidivism. The reason is that drug courts do not monitor the abstinence of the individuals beyond completion of the program. Accordingly, it is difficult to identify the lasting impact of the drug court participation on recidivism, criminal victimization, substance abuse, and other factors. One more point is that most of the drug courts operate at the local level; it is sophisticated to determine the outcomes. In 2005, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted an evaluation analysis of the effectiveness of drug courts. It concluded that the main advantage was that the drug courts avoided costs, namely drug addicts not using medical service that might have lowered unemployment among the members. Despite some disadvantages of the drug courts, they still remain effective institutions that help individuals to overcome various types of drug addictions. Moreover, it reduces the rates of crime at both federal and state levels.
To sum up, drug addiction is considered to be one of the vital problems of modern humanity. A lot of people lost their close friends and relatives because of the drugs’ impact on their lives. There are various types of addiction of which alcohol and drug addictions are just two general names. Consequently, the excessive usage of alcohol and drugs leads to rise of crime rates in the country. To some extent, the crimes depend on the type of consumed drugs. Most of the criminals commit crimes under the influence of some substances. That is why special institutions were established. Drug courts are responsible for helping people in resisting their drug addictions and for reducing the crime rates. A bright example of the drug courts is the Akron Municipal drug court. It offers an effective program that enables coping with the addictions.