Nowadays, many of South Carolina’s jails and prisons are full of inmates who might otherwise not be there were it not for their drug addictions. Because of this overcrowding issue, and because so many state residents grapple with serious drug addictions, some offenders enroll in drug court programs, as opposed to serving time in jail or prison.
Drug courts are closely supervised programs that strike a careful balance between holding criminal offenders accountable for their criminal acts and giving them the support they need to break their addictions and change their lifestyles. Though not available in all areas and typically reserved for non-violent drug offenders, drug courts can benefit both offenders and their community in numerous ways. Just how are today’s drug courts helping addicts and their communities?
Drug court benefits
According to the National Institute of Justice, there are roughly 3,000 American drug courts currently in operation. Statistics show that today’s drug court programs have proven, positive results when it comes to:
Helping addicts kick drug habits
Because drug courts essentially force accountability by requiring that attendees undergo regular drug tests to remain in court, they are often effective at helping drug addicts get clean. In fact, drug court participants were substantially less likely to test positive for illicit substances after participation in the program, with only about 29 percent of participants testing positive for drugs. Meanwhile, 46 percent of comparable offenders who did not take part in drug court tested positive for drugs.
Reducing criminal activity
Drug courts can also have a positive impact by helping lower crime rates in the communities where they operate. Drug court participants were 10 percent less likely than non-participants to face re-arrest after completing these programs, and they were also 13 percent less likely to engage in future criminal activity than those not in drug court programs.
If you face drug charges and have concerns about potential jail time, find out whether enrolling in drug court may be a possibility for you.