Rehabilitation: A Shift in How the Criminal Justice System Addresses Drug Offenders
The criminal justice system is seeking alternatives to lengthy prison sentences when it comes to dealing with drug offenders
By Dr. Vincent Giordano
Since the late 1900s, there has been a shift in how the criminal justice system deals with drug offenders by creating alternatives to lengthy prison sentences. Prior to the shift, the war on drugs resulted in large numbers of individuals being incarcerated for a multitude of offenses ranging from drug possession to drug trafficking.
The Establishment of Drug Court
In response to this problem, the first drug courts were created. Drugs courts allow for court supervision of a drug offender as well as the ability for an individual to receive treatment. This process allows for a certain amount of accountability for the offender while addressing the central problem: the individual’s drug abuse/dependency.
According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service(NCJRS), 100,000 drug offenders have entered drug court programs since their creation. NCJRS states that drug courts are more effective at reducing recidivism and are more cost-effective than traditional methods of incarceration. This shows that rehabilitative efforts, which are lower-cost to taxpayers, are more effective than locking up offenders.