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Drug courts and due process - Essay Example

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Drug courts are specialized courts dealing with non-violent substance-abuse offenders. The idea is to rehabilitate the drug users which sees them as victims rather than as criminals. In this way, efforts and resources are spent to implement this holistic approach to the drug problem. …
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Drug courts and due process
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Drug Courts and Due Process ID Number: of School Word Count: 332 Drug courts are specialized courts dealing with non-violent substance-abuse offenders. The idea is to rehabilitate the drug users which sees them as victims rather than as criminals. In this way, efforts and resources are spent to implement this holistic approach to the drug problem. It is a new model or paradigm in the criminal justice system that combines judicial monitoring, drug testing and escalating sanctions for those who fail to follow the prescribed program. The intent is to break the vicious cycle of drug addiction and the crimes it produces. The first drug court was instituted in Miami, Florida as an experimental response to a vast problem of crack cocaine that hit the city. The previous system proved futile in breaking the drug cycle and new thinking or responses were needed and so the drug courts came about. Alternative approaches were considered such as de-criminalizing the use and possession of illegal drugs and the use of taxation for drug sales to help pay for the costs of rehabilitation (Lessenger & Roper, 2007, p. 5). The sheer magnitude of the problem overwhelmed government resources. Crime advocates oppose drug courts because they see it as a soft approach that will not be able to contain the problem. The reasoning is to extinguish the demand for illegal drugs by an all out war against the users and the pushers; harsh punishment should be meted out to offenders. A bad impression results such as the perception of coddling criminals (Ackerman, 2010, p. 20). The drug control advocates want a “tough on crime” policy (Granfield & Cloud, 1999, p. 211). There is also the issue of limited resources such as budget constraints. On the other hand, due process proponents see the drug courts as giving addicts a second chance in life. The addicts are victims and should be treated humanely by giving them the support to reform and resume a normal life. The advocates' emphasis is on treatment and not on punishment (Nolan, 2003, p. 192). References Ackerman, G. (2010). Law and Courts: Current Perspectives from InfoTrac. Belmont, CA, USA: Cengage Learning. Granfield, R. & Cloud, W. (1999). Coming Clean: Overcoming Drug Addiction Without Treatment. New York, NY, USA: New York University Press. Lessenger, J. E. & Roper, G. F. (2007). Drug Courts: A New Approach to Treatment and Rehabilitation. New York, NY, USA: Springer Books. Nolan, J. L. (2003). Reinventing Justice: The American Drug Court Movement. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press. Read More
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