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Drug court's role in the Arkansas judicial system

It is all too easy to think that people who do drugs should just be sent to prison. After all, that is a place where they can get clean, right? This is totally wrong. It is often possible, and sometimes easier, for people in prison to get ahold of drugs. There is a fairly good chance that going to prison isn't going to do a person addicted to drugs any good at all.

There is another option for some people who are facing drug charges in Arkansas because of addiction. There are currently 39 drug courts in this state. The exact role of these drug courts is to help people who are addicted to drugs get the help they need to get off the drugs. By doing this, the thought is that the addict will be less likely to commit crimes and return to the criminal justice system.

Drug courts are unique programs that combine court monitoring with addiction treatment and other forms of help. Together, these programs give the participants the tools they need to get sober and stay that way. They are a suitable way for nonviolent offenders to avoid having to go to prison.

One thing that people don't realize about drug court is that it is an intensive program. This isn't an easy way to avoid jail. Instead, participants have to meet very strict terms in order to successfully complete the program. Random drug tests, check-ins with the court or community corrections officials are required in this program. Most participants have to find work or go to school.

On average, drug court participants in this state spend 18 months in the program, which costs around $4.50 per day per participant. This is a stark difference from the much longer prison sentences that many would face otherwise. Each incarcerated prisoner costs taxpayers around $45 per day, so the drug court program is a great option for defendants and taxpayers.

Source: Arkansas Judiciary, "Drug Court Programs," accessed Nov. 28, 2017

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