Drug Courts as Incarceration Alternative for Nonviolent Criminals: New AMA policy encourages the establishment of drug courts at the state and local level as an alternative to incarceration and a means of overcoming addiction for individuals with addictive disease convicted of nonviolent crimes. According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, drug courts are an alternative to individuals with addictive disease, providing them with intensive treatment and regular drug testing. A 2009 study of the National Institute of Justice found that drug court participants had significantly fewer positive drug tests and reported better improvements in their family relationships.
“Individuals with addictive disease require treatment,” said Dr. Hoven. “When an individual is convicted of a nonviolent crime, drug courts can provide the medical attention, support and accountability needed to help them conquer their addiction and turn their lives around.”
Oklahoma has drug courts in about 71 of its 77 counties. It costs $5,000 a year to put someone in drug court versus $19,000 to put that person in prison. The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, which has an incredibly long name, advocates that drug courts are a less expensive and more effective means of treating offenders with drug problems:
Drug court graduate re-arrest rates of 23.5% when compared with rates of those whom successfully complete standard probation, 38.2%, and released inmates, 54.3%, are further proof that Oklahoma Drug Courts work.
Addiction costs Oklahoma about $7.2 billion per year, including $1.8 billion in direct costs. A significant portion of the offenders in Oklahoma’s prisons are nonviolent offenders, including two-thirds of the female offender population.