|Why Drug Courts?
The emergence of crack cocaine in
the mid 1980's placed a tremendous strain on our already overburdened courts, as arrests soared for drug-related crimes. For many defendants, incarceration by itself was not enough to break the cycle of illegal drug use and crime. A new approach was needed–one that would address the abuser’s underlying dependency and halt the revolving door of drugs-crime-jail.
Drug Courts provide that new approach, diverting nonviolent defendants to strictly supervised treatment programs instead of incarceration.
More than 70 percent of Drug Court defendants nationwide stay in treatment. While more than half of the drug dependent offenders prosecuted in traditional courts will be arrested again, re-arrest rates for drug court participants are well under 30 percent and less than 10 percent for graduates.
The first Drug Court opened in Dade
County, Florida in 1989. Since then, more
than 600 drug courts have become
operational across the nation, including
more than 30 in New York State. Drug
Court opened in the City of Plattsburgh
in May 2003.