Drug Courts, Social Reintegration, and Stigmatization of Drug Users

"Although drug courts provide an alternative to the immediate incarceration of drug users, these courts are still connected to a criminal justice system that treats drug use as a crime. Therefore, when participants enter the drug courts, there is an institutionalized stigma attached to drug use.192 Drug courts perpetuate this stigma because they are based on a system of rewards and punishments. When participants act 'badly' (either by testing positive for drugs or breaking other imposed conditions that create a presumption of drug use), they are treated as pariahs, not patients. For continuing 'bad' behavior, drug court participants can be eventually incarcerated, which is the ultimate representation of societal segregation and ostracism."


Woods, Jordan Blair, "A Decade after Drug Decriminalization: What can the United States learn from the Portuguese Model?" University of the District of Columbia Law Review (Washington, DC: The University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, 2011) Volume 15, Number 1, p. 30.