Are drug courts effective?

As a Missouri resident facing a drug charge, you may have valid fears about potentially having to serve time in jail, if convicted of the offense you are facing. While this is a distinct possibility for many drug offenders, you may be able to avoid having to serve time behind bars by instead participating in a state drug court program.

Drug court programs, per the National Institute of Justice, have undergone evaluation for effectiveness since the 1990s and are sometimes available to nonviolent drug offenders, depending on certain circumstances. Drug courts seek to strike an important balance between holding drug offenders accountable for their actions and giving them the tools and guidance they need to beat their addictions.

Among the main sentiments behind drug court programs is that, by helping offenders kick their addictions, they in turn become less likely to commit additional crimes and reenter the justice system as a result. So, is this actually happening? According to a recent 10-year study of a drug court program operating in a different state, drug courts, were, in fact, effective at combatting recidivism.

In fact, the study showed that the felony re-arrest rate two years after a conviction fell from 40 percent to 12 percent for offenders who took part in drug court in one county, while in another, it fell from 50 percent to 35 percent. While drug courts can help you stay out of jail and stay off drugs, they can also result in savings for your community. The study indicated that each person who effectively completed drug court saved his or her community an average of $6,744. If you are facing a drug-related criminal charge, you may want to find out whether participating in drug court might be an option for you.

This information is educational in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice.