Drug courts may not have started in Montana, but they certainly made their way here. The first one opened up in 1996, and they have been so successful that there are now 31 of them in the state.
The goal of these courts is to keep people out of prison. Those who have nonviolent drug offenses are given alternative options. For example, they may be told that there is a treatment course that they can go through, and they won’t have a criminal record or won’t have to serve time if they complete that program.
It’s clear from the fact that these courts are becoming more and more popular that they are working. But what is it about them that makes them work? Why is this a better alternative than simply putting people behind bars?
The role of addiction
The reason the drug courts work is that addiction is the actual reason that many people break local drug laws. These individuals may not want to break the laws, but they may feel powerless not to. Addiction is a very powerful thing, and it is a recognized medical condition.
What this means is that putting someone in jail for a drug crime probably doesn’t help their addiction in any way. When they get back out, they’re very likely to simply re-offend, and then nothing has been accomplished. But if a drug court program can offer them the treatment that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, so that they can break that addiction, then they will have no reason to commit similar drug offenses in the future.
For this reason, it’s important for those who are facing charges to know exactly what options they have and what steps to take.