Study Shows Drug Courts Need Retooling, Argues For Decriminalization
A new report by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), “America’s Problem-Solving Courts; Criminal Cost of Treatment,” available here, finds drug courts need serious re-working . Among the recommendations:
- A defendant should not be required to
plead guilty before accessing treatment.
- Admission criteria must be objective and fair, and prosecutors must relinquish their role as gatekeeper
- the drug court framework must accommodate long-standing ethical rules.
- Drug courts must be used for high-risk defendants facing lengthy jail terms;
- less onerous and expensive alternatives to drug court must be readily available for low-risk
defendants and those who commit low-level offenses.
- Drug courts must be open to all people regardless of race, economic status, or immigration status; methodologically sound research must be done to ensure drug courts are open to all.
It's a long report that includes everything from the history of drug courts to why decriminalization is the smart, fair , economical and effective alternative to prisons:
The criminal justice system is overwhelmed with cases. Nearly 2,000,000 Americans are arrested each year for drug crimes, and 500,000 are currently incarcerated for a drug offense. These victimless crimes should never enter the criminal justice system.
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