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Drug Courts

 

Drug Courts are easy accessible specialist courts for addicted repeat-offenders (participants). Under the supervision of the Drug Court judge participants follow a treatment program that supports them solving the causes of their criminal behavior and helps them to rebuild their lives as valued and law-abiding members of society.

 

During the program, the Drug Court judge cooperates closely with addiction care, social service institutions, the police, prosecution and the participant and his or her lawyer. Together they form a team that is committed to a successful return of the participant into society.

The judge monitors the progress of the participants by having them return at collective review hearings on a regular basis, where the institutions involved in the program report on this (judicial monitoring).

Drug Court judges make generous use of reward systems as participants commit themselves well or make progress in the program. In case of stagnation or relapse the judge can apply therapeutic sanctions that improve the participant’s commitment to the program. Preferably, the judge will impose sanctions in consultation with and with the consent of the participant.

 

After successful completion of the Drug Court program, the judge will award the participant with a graduation certificate. The participant then has a home and a solid source of income. The pending criminal case against the participant will then no longer be prosecuted.

 

Drug Courts were established because the criminal justice system had become clogged up on the amount of drug-related crimes to be treated and the criminal justice system had proved ineffective in countering illegal drug use.
These courts were so successful that they gained a solid foothold in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Norway and Belgium have Drug Courts now as well.

 

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