Over 2,300 Individuals Graduate Drug Court In May

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Criminal Justice System Saves Millions in an Unprecedented Month of Drug Court Graduations

Drug Courts provide a critical service to our Nation's families and communities by offering viable treatment options for individuals struggling with substance abuse, while reducing the burden on the Nation's courts, jails, and prisons. Drug Courts are a key element of a holistic approach for reducing the drug abuse and its consequences in the Nation

Throughout the month of May, Drug Courts around the country celebrated National Drug Court Month with graduation ceremonies for individuals who had entered the criminal justice system with serious drug addictions and are now productive citizens living clean and sober.

Organized by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, this year’s National Drug Court Month highlighted the tremendous impact Drug Courts are having in reducing substance abuse and crime and saving money for taxpayers. Drug Courts save, on average, between $4.00 and $12.00 per client.

"Drug Courts provide a critical service to our Nation's families and communities by offering viable treatment options for individuals struggling with substance abuse, while reducing the burden on the Nation's courts, jails, and prisons. Drug Courts are a key element of a holistic approach for reducing the drug abuse and its consequences in the Nation,” said White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske who spoke at a Drug Court graduation in San Diego on May 18.
There are now over 2,400 Drug Courts across the nation. Drug Courts feature prominently in the nation’s newly released National Drug Control Strategy which emphasizes evidenced based programs that reduce substance abuse and recidivism.

"National Drug Court Month brings to light the profound impact Drug Courts have on reducing substance abuse and crime and transforming our criminal justice system," said West Huddleston, NADCP's Chief Executive Officer. "Every one of the over 2, 400 individuals who graduated Drug Court in May represents a life saves, tax dollars saved and a criminal justice system that has found a solution for drugs and crime. With Drug Courts restoring lives, reuniting families, and making communities across this Nation safer, the time has come to put drug courts within reach of those in the criminal justice system most in need of this life-saving program.”

On June 3, Attorney General Eric Holder will recognize the success of Drug Courts by delivering the keynote address at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals 16th Annual Training Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. The conference is the nation’s largest on drugs and crime.
National Drug Court Month Highlights:

  •     The new Minot Adult Drug Court in North Dakota graduated its first participant on May 6.
  •     The Etowah County Drug Court in Alabama honored its 500th graduate on May 8th.
  •     On May 14, Tampa Bay Devil Rays star Ben Zobrist delivered remarks during a celebration honoring 94 graduates of the Pinellas County Drug Court.
  •     The largest single National Drug Court Month celebration occurred in Stockton, California on May 15. 240 graduates were recognized in a ceremony attended by nearly a thousand people.
  •     On May 16, Governor Bev Perdue proclaimed May National Drug Court Month in North Carolina. Gov. Perdue was one of four Governors to pass a National Drug Court Month Proclamation.
  •     Ramsey County Adult Substance Abuse Court in St. Paul, Minnesota held its 100th graduation on May 19th.
  •     560 Individuals graduated Drug Court in Florida, the largest statewide total reported.
  •     The Fargo and Grand Forks Juvenile Drug Courts in North Dakota celebrated their ten year anniversary with a reception honoring past and present graduates.
  •     240 graduates.

Of those graduates, 91 gained employment while in treatment and 119 enrolled in school.

  •     Nine babies were born to women in the program, and all were born drug-free.
  •     61 parents were reunited with 79 children, a lengthy process involving Child Protective Services and the court system.
  •     Of those who started the program, 70 percent completed it.
  •     Fewer than 2 percent of those enrolled in the program picked up new criminal charges.
  •     The graduates saved taxpayers $3.9 million by not taking up jail and prison space, officers' arrest and investigation time, and many days in court. That number was reached by an independent firm that calculated a number of factors.

*Source: San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Richard Vlavianos

About The National Association of Drug Court Professionals

It takes innovation, teamwork and strong judicial leadership to achieve success addressing drug-using offenders in a community. That’s why since 1994 the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) has worked tirelessly at the national, state and local level to create and enhance Drug Courts, which use a combination of accountability and treatment to compel and support drug-using offenders to change their lives.

Now a national movement, Drug Courts are the shining example of what works in the justice system. Today, there are over 2,300 Drug Courts operating in the U.S., and another thirteen countries have implemented the model. Drug Courts are widely applied to adult criminal cases, juvenile delinquency and truancy cases, and family court cases involving parents at risk of losing custody of their children due to drug abuse. Drug Court improves communities by successfully getting offenders off drugs and stopping drug-related crime, reuniting broken families, intervening with juveniles before they embark on a debilitating life of addiction and crime, and reducing impaired driving.

Now 20 years since the first Drug Court was founded in Miami/Dade County, Florida, more research has been published on the effects of Drug Courts than on virtually all other criminal justice programs combined. The scientific community has put Drug Courts under a microscope and concluded that Drug Courts significantly reduce drug abuse and crime and do so at less expense than any other justice strategy. NADCP has further championed new generations of the Drug Court model. These include Veteran’s Treatment Courts, Reentry Courts, and Mental Health Courts, among others. Veteran’s Treatment Courts, for example, are adapting to the needs of our heroes from the armed services, who sometimes have difficulty adjusting to civilian life or coping with combat-related stress, and may become involved with the justice system due to substance abuse or mental illness. Rather than ignore their plight, Veteran’s Treatment Courts provide the treatment and structure they need to resume productive lives. Reentry Courts assist individuals leaving our nation’s jails and prisons to succeed on parole and avoid a recurrence of drug abuse and crime. And Mental Health Courts monitor those with mental illness who find their way into the justice system.

Today, the award-winning NADCP is the premier national membership, training, and advocacy organization for Drug Courts, representing over 27,000 multi-disciplinary Drug Court professionals. NADCP hosts the largest annual training conference on drugs and crime in the nation and provides 130 training and technical assistance events each year through its professional service branches, the National Drug Court Institute and the National Center for DWI Courts. NADCP also publishes numerous scholastic and practical publications critical to the ongoing growth and fidelity of the Drug Court model. NADCP works tirelessly in the media, on Capitol Hill, and in state legislatures to transform the American justice system through policy, legislation, and appropriations.

Learn more online at http://www.AllRise.org.

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