Essay on Juvenile Drug Courts

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Drug Courts came about as a result of a backlogged court system and a steady, rapidly increasing prison population. Drug courts are a form of diversion that helps the offender through rehabilitation and the community through an increased sense of protection, which serves the best interest of everyone. Drug Courts are community based intermediate sanctions that incorporate treatment principles into the Criminal Justice System and divert drug offenders from traditional punishments of probation and prison. The objective of drug courts programs is to treat the underlying problems of addiction among drug offenders and eliminate participants’ future drug use and crime. Drug courts came about as a result of the 1980’s “war on drugs” where…show more content…
The drug courts primary goals include abstinence from drug use and reduction of recidivism. They work to increase community safety and awareness, life skills, and create a sense of well-being. As with adults, many nonviolent, substance-abusing juvenile offenders repeatedly cycle through the system due to a lack of intervention measures that would provide sanctions and services necessary to change their deviant behavior. In an attempt to resolve this problem, many communities have established juvenile drug courts. Determining the target population and eligibility is centered on making use of limited available resources. Because of this, most juvenile drug courts focus on non-violent juveniles with moderate to heavy substance abuse problems. The offender must sign the drug court agreement and a release of information, which states they admit to committing the crime. The juvenile drug court treatment program begins with an evaluation process. The program is then implemented into a four-phase sequence that concludes with graduation. In Phase I, an individual assessment plan is established that includes a minimum of nine hours of intervention per week. This intervention consists of social activities and health related classes that cover topics such as AIDS, HIV, and STD’s. Individuals may also undergo family intervention, individual counseling, programs such as AA/NA, anger-management, self-esteem classes, and support groups.
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