That includes the entire Drug Court team, the Department of Corrections, The Freeholders, The Sheriff’s Department, the Judges, Treatment Providers, and the many family members and friends who came to cheer them on and support them.
This last time I saw 36 people who would have been incarcerated, institutionalized or who could have died as a result of their addiction, graduate and reclaim their lives.
I heard stories and testimonials from graduate speakers of the lives they had during active addiction and how if not given this choice, this gift, things would have ended badly. They now had steady jobs; some have gotten married, and had children. Some started their own business, reunited with families who had previously written them off. Some have regained custody of their children, some have had their records expunged, they’ve paid off their fines and they had negative drug tests the entire time!
Drug Courts are the most effective justice intervention for treating drug-addicted people. Drug Courts reduce drug use. Drug Courts reduce crime. Drug Courts save money. Drug Courts restore lives. Drug Courts save children and reunite families.
This system can and does work. It keeps families together. It cuts down on taxpayer money because the person is not incarcerated. Most of the time the person is a criminal because of their addiction. Stealing or using is all just survival for them at the time.
Unfortunately, if you have a violent crime of any kind you are not eligible for drug court. If your high and you get into an altercation with someone and use a weapon of any kind, even a screwdriver, you will be denied even if it was a threat and no-one got hurt.
Many people do extreme things; most times illegal and even immoral to make sure they get their drugs. They’re in situations where they deal drugs to fund their own habit. These addicted people need treatment not jail. It shouldn’t be so cut dry. If the person is high they are obviously not operating with a clear head. Most have underlying mental health issues and trauma. I feel the non- violent rule should be evaluated on a case by case basis before the person is sent to prison. If no-one was hurt, if the “victim” is a known drug dealer and the person feared for their life, are some examples of consideration. “ My two cents”