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Problem Solving Courts - Research Proposal Example

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PROBLEM SOLVING COURTS Introduction Problem solving courts represents a deviation from the formal judicial procedures and consequences to establish a rehabilitative and reform oriented process to offenders who either are charged with drug abuse or are associated with mental health problems or abnormal behaviors…
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PROBLEM SOLVING COURTS Introduction Problem solving courts represents a deviation from the formal judicial procedures and consequences to establish a rehabilitative and reform oriented process to offenders who either are charged with drug abuse or are associated with mental health problems or abnormal behaviors. Unlike the formal judicial system that aims at enforcing laws through punishments, problem solving courts’ principle objective is to facilitate a long term and effective recovery of the subjects from their conditions and to rehabilitate them from committing the crimes against which they are charged. This paper seeks to discuss aspects of problem solving courts. The paper, assuming the role of a law clerk, will explore the history and background of drug courts, the intended purpose and goals of the courts, intended target populations and measures of success of problem solving courts. History and background of drug courts Drug courts developed from initiatives of state and local government systems to establish a more effective solution to substance abuse. Its development is traced to three decades ago. The number of substance abuse offenders at the time was high with a majority being minor offenders. Most of the suspects, for instance, were never involved in serious crimes such as violence or drug trafficking. A research initiative into reducing drug abuse cases and its associated criminal activities then recommended adoption of a treatment approach to these minor drug offenders by subjecting them to mandatory legal procedures for rehabilitation. Further recommendations for incorporation of the rehabilitator initiatives into the judicial system then generated the drug courts, a system of problem solving courts. Efforts have since been made to treat minor drug offenders in the drug courts instead of the formal judicial procedure (Franco, 2010). The history of drug courts also includes federal policies that started in the 1970s, though initiatives that are more significant emerged with the Anti Drug Abuse act of the year 1986. The act that prompted increased rates of drug related arrests influenced the sensitivity into finding a solution to the drug problem and easing pressure from the judiciary (McKenzie, 2006). The courts intended purpose and goals One of the intended goals of the drug courts has been to relieve pressure in the systems that have primarily been caused by high rates of drug related arrests. The high number of suspects meant pressure on judges and an ultimate pressure on prison facilities. The overcrowding in the prisons prompted initiatives to reduce the number of prisoners. As a result, the drug courts were identified to rehabilitate offenders as a long term and effective approach solving the drug problem through coercion. Another goal of the drugs court is to ensure an effective treatment process in which the judicial system is in charge. This induces a legal obligation on the offender to comply with the prescribed treatment as an alternative punishment to imprisonment. Consequently, the drug courts’ objectives are directed towards ensuring effective treatment of victims of drug abuse who are identified with minor offences instead of sending them to prisons (Tiger, 2011). Intended target population The drug courts targets the universal population subject to eligibility criteria. As a result, both minors and adults are a target population of the drug courts. This is consistent with the courts’ objectives of providing treatment to drug offenders and reducing pressure in the prisons and jails. There is however a difference in eligibility criteria between the adults and the juveniles. The courts particularly target the entire juvenile population who are subjected to treatment based on involvement in drug abuse. Any minor who is identified with drug abuse therefore qualifies for subjection to the drug courts. The target population with respect to adults is however more specific as dependence on drugs must be identified. The target population of the drug courts is therefore the set of all minors involved in drug abuse and adults who are significantly dependent on drugs (Cooper, 2002). Measures of success Drug courts among other problem solving systems have been effective in their objectives. Even though significant resources are required to set up the courts and run them, research initiatives, as reported by Wolf (2008) shows that the drug courts system has been effective in reducing the pressure on the courts and in reforming victims of substance abuse and substance addiction. In order to adequately establish and run a drug court, an entity requires an average of $ 260,000 as was determined in Las Vega (Blake, 2008). Conclusion and recommendation Drug courts have been identified as an effective solution to controlling substance use and abuse. The courts are also necessary because of their roles of easing pressure from the judicial system, prisons and promoting a healthy society. With a start up and a running budget of about $ 260,000 that can be funded by the government, starting a problem solving court would be a rational idea. Reference Blake, A. (2008). Realistic drug court implementation for rural areas: Evaluating the effectiveness of a multi-jurisdictional model for program delivery. Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest Cooper, C. (2002). Juvenile drug treatment courts in the United States: Initial Lessons learnt and issues being addressed. Substance use and misuse. Vol. 26. 1694 Franco, C. (2010). Drug Courts: Background, Effectiveness, and Policy Issues for Congress. Washington, DC: DIANE Publishing McKenzie, D. (2006). What Works in Corrections: Reducing the Criminal Activities of Offenders and Delinquents. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press Tiger, R. (2011). Drug courts and the logic of coerced treatment. Sociological Forum. Vol. 26. 172-173 Wolf, R. (2008). Breaking with tradition: introducing problem solving in conventional courts. International review of law computers & technology. Vol. 22. 90. Read More
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