Your Freedom, Your Reputation, Our Mission

Drug courts: an alternative to punishment?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes

If you are charged with a drug crime, you may assume your future will likely involve a charge, conviction and sentence.

After all, the state tries very hard to deter the use of drugs and to encourage treatment for those who have gotten addicted to drugs by understanding the underlying causes.

Drug courts

One way Washington State is doing this is through drug courts. These are special courts within the regular court system dedicated to helping individuals with drug problems by avoiding punishment and instead entering treatment to recover from drug addiction.

By tackling the underlying problem that motivated the crime instead of just the crime itself, there is hope that the number of people committing these crimes will decrease and more people will get access to help.

What are drug courts?

These problem-solving courts focus on giving offenders tools to overcome their addiction through a program that includes comprehensive supervision, drug testing, treatment services and other resources. These courts focus on rehabilitation instead of punishment.

While not every individual who commits drug-related crimes qualifies for drug court, studies have shown that those who enter drug court are less likely to reenter the system for a drug-related crime.

Washington State offers several drug courts, including:

  • Adult drug court
  • Juvenile drug court
  • Family reunification drug court
  • Veterans support court

These courts work by addressing the underlying issues beneath the surface. Research has long shown that there is an essential connection between trauma and drug use.

Drug courts address the trauma and other mental health conditions that likely caused the offense to help the individual heal once and for all.

These courts offer a compassionate alternative to traditional approaches for people charged with drug-related crimes by allowing them access to rehabilitation options.

Rehabilitation can happen by shifting the focus from punishment to healing and supporting individuals with tools, accountability, and psychological resources.