Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry
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Drug courts: the results speak for themselves

Take it from a judge: drug courts work.

And when it comes to evaluating the outcomes linked with incarceration versus drug court participation, respectively, the comparative upsides of the latter can hardly be overstated.

So says judge Michael Rumley, a principal voice and figure in the drug court program operative in Cass County in western Missouri.

Rumley notes a central two-prong advantage to drug courts that makes them far better sentencing choices than a behind-bars lockup for many drug offenders. He points to these material benefits:

  • Drug courts cost society far less than the taxpayer dollars required to house a prison inmate; and
  • The recidivism rate (that is, the return-to-crime propensity) for drug court graduates is far lower than for paroled prisoners

As noted in one online source presenting drug court information, Missouri has a high number of drug courts operating across the state, which clearly serves as evidence that many people soundly endorse Rumley's view.

And for good reason. One estimate posits that a year an offender spends under drug court supervision costs taxpayers about $7,000, with prison incarceration costs over the same period totaling about $36,000.

And regarding the oft-cited variable of recidivism: Reportedly, only about one in 10 drug court participants subsequently reoffends, with the recidivism rate for paroled offenders being as high as 80 percent.

Of course, drug court -- which typically offers counseling, job-placement, treatment and considerable community support -- is not for all offenders. Rather, preferred participants are commonly nonviolent offenders who program officials believe don't merit incarceration and who can be rehabilitated through their outside-prison involvement in what drug court has to offer.

Individuals wishing to learn more about drug courts and potential placement within a drug court program can contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for information and, when necessary, strong legal representation in a drug-crimes case.

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Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry

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