Drug Courts Profoundly Alter the Traditional Functions and Adversarial Nature of the US Criminal Justice System

"In drug court, the traditional functions and adversarial nature of the U.S. justice system are profoundly altered. The judge – rather than lawyers – drives court processes and serves not as a neutral facilitator but as the leader of a 'treatment team'14 that generally consists of the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, probation officer and drug treatment personnel. The judge is the ultimate arbiter of treatment and punishment decisions and holds a range of discretion unprecedented in the courtroom,15 including the type of treatment mandated, whether methadone prescription is acceptable (and at what dosage) and how to address relapse. The defense lawyer, no longer an advocate for the participant’s rights, assists the participant to comply with court rules.16"

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"Drug Courts Are Not the Answer: Toward a Health-Centered Approach to Drug Use" Drug Policy Alliance (New York, NY: March 2011), pp. 5-6.
http://www.drugpolicy.org/site...

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