Caught With Drugs? Try Drug Court
Recovery, Respect, and Hope Offered by Traditional Court Alternative
A successful initiative in the Victorian Magistrates Court is assisting drug-addicted parents to get their lives back on track and resume their role in their children’s lives.
The Dandenong Drug Court, recently featured in television and print media, was introduced in response to the failure of the traditional criminal justice system to adequately address drug associated offenses.
Drug Courts are in operation in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.
In a departure from the traditional court and sentencing process, the Drug Court’s focus is on the rehabilitation of drug and alcohol dependent offenders, providing them with assistance in reintegrating into the community and getting their lives back on track.
In Dandenong, Magistrate Tony Parsons takes an innovative approach to the treatment of offenders who are offered an intensive treatment program as an alternative to a prison sentence. Participants in the program undergo frequent drug and alcohol testing, regular meetings with counselors and therapists, and weekly appearances in court for assessment before Parsons. Failure to comply with the program’s strict requirements will result in exclusion from the program and a prison term.
The program doesn’t work for every offender but for those who complete the program, the results can be life-changing.
According to the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association, and a recent Government review of the court:
- the $30 million cost of operating the Drug Court since 2002 has created a net saving of $50 million in prison costs;
- Of those who complete the program, there was a 29 percent reduction in reoffending and improvements in health and wellbeing when assessed 2 years later; and
- People are twice as likely to be in full-time employment after completing drug treatment orders.
With social and economic benefits such as these, the Drug Court alternative is offering an effective solution that is making a difference to families affected by drug and alcohol dependency. Speak to your Brisbane family lawyer for legal advice in this regard.