Drug Courts in New York Helping to Treat, not Punish

A new and successful model of criminal justice uses drug courts in New York and across the county. These courts are said to be responsible for a reduction of re-offenders of up to 26% in New York State.

Drug courts are a separate criminal process that focuses on close monitoring and treatment of drug addiction. In exchange for reduced criminal penalties and avoiding jail time, offenders agree to regular drug testing, and monitoring of attendance at narcotics anonymous and other more formal drug addition treatment programs.

It is an idea that is rapidly expanding nationwide, because it is cheaper than traditional criminal court, jails, and probation systems, and it works. According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, up to 70,000 people are currently in drug courts nationwide.

One of the possible downsides to a drug court is that in order to be accepted into a drug program, you must essentially admit to the charges. According to many criminal defense lawyers, this can result in much more serious penalties if a person fails the program and is kicked out. Without the drug courts, the evidence would be questioned and attacked, and penalties agreed to in a plea bargain would likely be less. When that happens the defendant has essentially conceded all the facts in evidence against him, and faces the full wrath of the court, whatever that may consist of. This happens in the up to 40% of participants that drop out of the program.

Other criticisms of the programs conclude that they are more complicated then they need to be, and that the key is requiring and enforcing abstaining from drug use, which can be managed by a less intensive, and cheaper program with less overhead.

Whatever the criticisms and problems, it is clear that the attempt to treat drug addition and avoid addicts being sent to jail so frequently is most often a good deal for the defendants and for society.

If you are charged with drug possession in New York state, please contact our attorneys to find out if you may be eligible for a New York drug court program. The case evaluation is free.

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