treatment alternatives to incarceration

Overview of Drug Courts and Problem Solving Courts in the United States

"In 2012, the Bureau of Justice Statistics' (BJS) Census of Problem-Solving Courts (CPSC) counted 3,052 problem-solving courts in the United States (figure 1). The most common types of problem-solving courts were drug courts (44%) and mental health courts (11%) (figure 1). Most courts (53%) reported that they were established prior to 2005, including drug (64%), youth specialty (65%), hybrid DWI/drug (63%), and domestic violence (56%) courts.

Drug Courts and Therapeutic Jurisprudence

"Drug courts are an application of therapeutic jurisprudence theories in which the judge does not ask whether the state has proven that a crime has been committed but instead whether the court can help to heal a perceived pathology.9 Drug courts adopted the disease model10 that posits that people struggling with drugs have a chronic disease that reduces their ability to control their behavior.11"

Purpose of Drug Courts

"The primary purpose of these [drug court] programs is to use a court's authority to reduce crime by changing defendants’ substance abuse behavior. In exchange for the possibility of dismissed charges or reduced sentences, eligible defendants who agree to participate are diverted to drug court programs in various ways and at various stages in the judicial process. These programs are typically offered to defendants as an alternative to probation or short-term incarceration."