What is Drug Court?
A Drug Court is a special court given responsibility to handle cases involving substance-abusing offenders through comprehensive supervision, drug testing, treatment services and immediate sanctions and incentives. Drug Court offers individuals facing criminal charges for drug use and possession an opportunity to enter a substance abuse recovery program in lieu of straight jail time. The requirements of Drug Court are strict because the road to recovery is not easy. A candidate is tested frequently, must attend substance abuse recovery meetings and make regular court appearances in order to abide by the requirements of Drug Court.
Drug Court programs bring the full weight of all interveners (judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, substance abuse treatment specialists, probation officers, law enforcement and correctional officers, education and vocational experts, community leaders and others) into the fold, forcing the offender to deal with his or her substance abuse problem from every possible angle. Alameda County Drug Court was created in 1991; it was the first Drug Court in California and the second in the nation following Dade County, Florida.
To eligible substance-abusing offenders Drug Courts provide one of the most viable options for addressing the substance-abusing offender today. Whether the person enters the judicial system because of a criminal offense, delinquent behavior, or they neglect or abuse their children, they can benefit from the enhanced supervision provided in the drug court system. Not only do offenders benefit but public safety is also strengthened through the monitoring and accountability that occurs with Drug Court. A candidate who gets through all parameters imposed by the Drug Court graduates with their sobriety resulting in the dismissal, reduction (or set aside) of their offense, or with a lesser penalty or a combination thereof imposed.