When someone is convicted of a drug offense, the result can be fines, community service, probation and even jail time. Over time, professionals noticed that many offenders were serving their jail time, leaving and returning very quickly. Rather than continue a path that led to high rates of recidivism in jails and prisons, some Texas counties turned to drug courts.
According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, in 2001, the Texas legislature passed a bill requiring that any county with more than 550,000 people apply for funds from the federal government and other resources to set up drug courts for drug offenders. These counties included the following: Travis, Tarrant, Hidalgo, El Paso, Dallas and Bexar.
Drug courts lead to intensive supervision and are often successful
Drug courts treat addiction successfully and keep offenders out of jail. A drug court is a treatment program led by those in the judiciary system for individuals that requires extensive supervision. These forms of supervision are more extensive than regular community supervision and are often the preferred option for those who commit non-violent offenses.
When a person is accepted to a drug court, they are required to do the following:
- Meet weekly with a community supervision officer
- Be monitored by a drug court judge
- Participate in the program for anywhere from 12-18 months
- Submit to regular drug testing
Funds for drug courts come from federal grants, local counties and payments made by those in the program.
Why are drug courts successful?
Preliminary research shows that drug courts are often successful. The following factors contribute to that success: focus on using community services for success, immediate treatment during relapse and regular interaction with judicial authority.