If you are facing charges for a drug offense, you may be afraid that jail time is in your future. However, there may be an alternate option in the form of recovery court.
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs discusses that recovery courts, also known as drug courts, are court-supervised treatment programs. The courts typically dismiss the associated charges for participants who complete the program.
According to the New Jersey Courts, to be eligible for the program, the defendant must not have a violent-related charge or any previous convictions. Recovery programs are also for those with substance abuse problems, and potential participants undergo clinical assessments and legal reviews prior to acceptance.
Recovery court elements
As part of the program, participants must make regular court appearances. Other elements include:
- Random drug and alcohol testing
- Group and individual counseling
- Relapse prevention
- 12-step program
- Community service
- Probation officer meetings
For those that need it, detoxification and residential programs are also available at no cost. The recovery court programs last anywhere from one to two years, and participants must partake in all aspects. Those who do not complete the program must go back through the traditional justice process.
Benefits of recovery courts
Recovery courts benefit the community, as studies show there is less crime as a result. They also benefit taxpayers, as it is less expensive for a defendant to obtain treatment than go to jail.
Recovery court participants benefit in that they treat their substance abuse, which results in better family relationships and more opportunities for work. Those who complete the program also have reduced rates of committing another crime compared to those serving jail time.