Defendants in the criminal justice system sometimes have a drug addiction to battle with. This can lead them to participate in illegal activities. Because addiction is a mental health condition, these individuals often have trouble breaking the cycle of feeding their addiction and getting into trouble with the law.
Simply punishing a person for breaking the law isn’t going to do much good if they have an active addiction. Instead, the addiction has to be treated so the person can get their life back on track. Many courts, including those in Virginia, use drug courts to help address both problems in tandem and under the court’s supervision.
How does drug court work?
Drug court combines long-term rehabilitation with the supervision of the court. The participant has to meet certain milestones and must actively participate in a very intense program. The frequent check-ins, random drug tests and other tasks help the person to live a productive life without leaving too much time for them to get into trouble.
The success of drug courts depends largely on the willingness of the participants to comply with the terms of the program and work on long-term sobriety. Some drug courts are able to reduce recidivism by up to 35 to 40%. Not only does that benefit the participant who’s staying out of trouble, but it also benefits society by saving money on future legal expenses.
One key point to remember about drug court is that it’s only available to people who meet strict requirements. For example, those who have violent crimes associated with their case won’t be able to participate. Finding out if you’re eligible for drug court early in the case is critical, so discuss this with someone familiar with the program.