Editorial: Drug courts are proving their value

  • Article
  • Updated: July 5, 2012 - 6:24 PM

New study shows superiority of treatment-centered approach.

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jd55604Jul. 5, 12 7:45 PM

And yet after all of drug courts treatment centered sentencing, the offender will still have a detailed criminal record that will dog them for the rest of his/her life realistically preventing them from most employment opportunities aside from low-skilled positions. Hey, at least this still keeps our criminal justice system funded and staffed to the hilt for its never ending war on drugs.

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thunderJul. 5, 12 8:14 PM

Try a random study and see what the results would be. I do not doubt that the model is effective but the persons in the Drug Court program volunteered and were likely more motivated for success.

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gunflint55Jul. 5, 12 9:08 PM

There are many sides to this story. Drug Court "works" if by "works" you mean less jail time than would have occurred for the same offense prior to Drug Court opening up. On the other hand, a lot of the numbers are cooked (I used to work in a Minnesota Drug Court) as far as the re-offending stats, but these courts are desperate to look good. Bottom line is that many people in the corrections system are sick and tired of wasting resources on drug crimes. It would still be more sensible (and considerably cheaper) to legalize most drugs, but Drug Court is better than nothing. At some point some state will have to have the guts to legalize narcotics, if only to end the violence and stop throwing away good money. It won't be Minnesota. We are a cowardly state. Possibly with all the gang violence in Chicago, Illinois will have the courage to give it a try.

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ipmuttJul. 5, 12 9:38 PM

OK, with murders every time you turn arround in Mpls and it the suffounding comunities, the simple fact is Mpls is not dealing with it;s drugs and drug gangs. Plain, undeniable, skip the political BS, see it for your self.

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rms316Jul. 6, 12 7:01 AM

What kind of drug offenses does this court see? I have to believe that many people are tired of the courts being tied up with so many drug offenses. Until something is done about legalization, we'll still have a problem.

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jones345Jul. 6, 12 7:16 AM

Easy for government programs to pad their numbers so the funding can continue programming.

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sundialJul. 6, 1210:48 AM

Drug courts do screen out violent offenders and dealers, and yes participation is "voluntary" with a big stick if you mess up and a big carrot if you work the program. So even if it's not a "randomized" trial study, it is still worthwhile to divert users who would otherwise clog up jails and prisons with little hope for recovery.

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songczarJul. 6, 1211:55 AM

Legalize. At this point most of society, the rational part, is tired of this desctructive war on drugs.

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owatonnabillJul. 6, 1212:40 PM

gunflint55 is correct. Drug courts, by whatever arbitrary standard, may work with a small selected group affected by drugs but they do nothing to address the far bigger picture of drug-related violence, killings, and ruined lives on both sides of the Mexican-American border. Drug courts treat a symptom while ignoring the disease. Studies in nations such as Portugal and the Netherlands, where drugs (and treatment) is far more available than here, have shown that the availability of drugs does not lead to progressive usage of harder drugs, and that by aggressively promoting and making available treatment for those who seek it, usage (and collateral damage such as AIDS from shared needles) actually goes down. Our "war on drugs" is costing far more in lives either snuffed out or ruined, than free drug use ever would. When the cure is worse than the disease, it is time to re-think the issue.

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jgmanciniJul. 6, 12 1:30 PM

"Our "war on drugs" is costing far more in lives either snuffed out or ruined, than free drug use ever would. When the cure is worse than the disease, it is time to re-think the issue."-----AMEN to that, owattonabill. Now, when are the politicians going to get the message and start decriminalizing?

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