Information about drug courts

Posted Sept. 21, 2011, at 7:15 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 21, 2011, at 8:13 p.m.

Why does Maine need drug courts?

• Research shows that the severity of a person’s dependency is directly related to criminal behavior.

• On average 87 percent of crime is committed by those with a severe level of substance abuse dependency.

• A 1999 study of Maine’s prison population showed that 95 percent of the Department of Corrections population is in need of some form of substance abuse services.

The Drug Court Mission

The mission of the Adult Drug Treatment Court is to hold criminal offenders accountable, to stop criminal activity related to the abuse of alcohol and drugs, and to increase the likelihood of successful rehabilitation of offenders through early, continuous, and intensive judicially supervised substance abuse treatment and other appropriate rehabilitation services that will allow participants to become more integrated in the community as productive and responsible members of society.

Drug Court Goals

  1. Reduce alcohol and drug abuse dependency among criminal offenders
  2. Enhance community safety by reducing criminal recidivism
  3. Increase personal, familial and societal accountability of offenders
  4. Develop in offenders the necessary personal, familial and societal assets and skills to become productive citizens through, for example, employment, positive community activities, and healthy and safe family relationships

What is a drug court?

A drug court is a special court given the responsibility to handle cases involving drug-using offenders through comprehensive supervision, drug testing, treatment services and immediate sanctions and incentives. Drug court programs bring the full weight of all interveners (judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, substance abuse treatment specialists, probation officers, law enforcement and correctional personnel, educational and vocational experts, mental health workers and many others) to bear, forcing the offender to deal with his or her substance abuse problem. Drug courts work similar to a court diversion program in that, in exchange for a guilty plea, a client may enter the drug court and following drug court graduation expect a greatly reduced sentence. While in drug court clients are allowed to remain in the community while being supervised by various drug court staff.

Source: Maine Judicial Branch website

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