Karma Cher Bergeron
National American University
The Drug Court program having had success working with drug offenders prompted the state of New Mexico to create and implement the first DWI/Drug Court program. DWI/Drug Court focuses on hardcore drinkers or anyone else who is under the influence while driving. Except for the added sanctions, stipulations, and requirements the DWI/Drug Court program was developed by following the Drug Court model.
This research paper focuses on answering some of those questions that arise to those unfamiliar with the programs. It will provide reasons as to why specialty courts like Drug Court and DWI/Drug Court were established to begin with as well as what their differences are. Explanations of how an offender is chosen to participate in the program and what an offender will do while in the program are discussed. Although, the program is strict with tough regulations, sanctions, and the personal costs that offenders who graduate, have a higher chance to not reoffend, thus making it an excellent alternative for these type of offender than a traditional court setting.
Keywords: drugs, Drug Court DWI/Drug Court, Specialty Courts
DWI/Drug Courts They do Work
Drug Court programs have been a part of the judicial system since the late 1980’s. With an abundance of information available online and in libraries, the general public still does not have any idea about the program. Since its inception, the program continues to grow in a numbers of states it is available, numbers of personnel enrolled and the methods have proven effective due to the success of the program. The different phases of the program work together, allowing it to be a positive influence in both the community and the offender’s life. Through different independent studies, the success of the program is demonstrated thru the increasing enrollment of personnel, growth in number of courts as well as the proven methods. Despite its tough regulations, sanctions, time spent, and the costs, offenders that graduate are less likely to reoffend, making it an excellent alternative to traditional court systems (Huddleston & Wosje, 2004).
History of Drug Courts and DWI/Drug Courts According to the US Department of Justice, felony drug related convictions rose by 134% between 1980 and 1987. This increase of offenders and their drug history, usage was of great concern to the judicial system in Dade County, Florida. They were noticing that the same offenders continued to come to court on a variety of charges. This fact brought on the realization that the judicial system was not effective in rehabilitating these types of repeat offenders (Huddleston & Wosje, 2004). In 1989, a group of judicial professionals in Dade County implemented a system that was deemed what we now know as the Drug Court program. The idea of this court system was to provide long-term addiction treatment in conjunction with the intensive probationary and/or supervision that monitors and tracks compliance for the participants. This was geared to focus not on the offender's, instead to find out why they are committing these crimes and work on shifting their thoughts and behaviors (Marlowe & Meyer, 2011). Across the country, all the Drug Courts have the same objective: to give and encourage defendants facing drug-related charges. That with an incorporated long-term in-depth substance abuse treatment program and close supervision by the courts. The programs end goal is to assist offenders in the Drug Court program to ultimately alleviate the drug use, thus lowering criminal behavior (Huddleston & Wosje, 2004). According to National Drug Court Institute (NDCI) in 1996, the backbone of the Drug Court program was developed into what is known as the 10 key components. These 10 key components have since been the basis for many of the other specialty programs, for example the DWI/Drug Court program (Marlowe & Meyer, 2011). The