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Pennsylvania's drug offenders need treatment, not jail time

If you have ever struggled with drug addiction, you probably know it takes more than just a strong desire to get clean. Pennsylvania's drug courts are designed not only to give the state's drug offenders an alternative to incarceration, but also to give them the incentive and the tools to kick their habits for good so that they do not end up coming back through the court system.

If you are charged with a drug-related crime, you may want ask about the possibility of having your case handled in drug court. Research has shown that drug courts work. Drug courts have a proven record of success. According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, in addition to helping addict offenders go to prison, drug courts also:

Help unite families

If you take part in a drug court program, your children are substantially less likely to have to spend long amounts of time in someone else's care, such as that of a foster parent. You are also 50 percent more likely to successfully reunite with your family members after taking part in the program than you would if you were punished for your drug crime using traditional means.

Have positive effects on crime

Your surrounding community also benefits by your participation in a drug court. Studies show that communities that offer drug court as an alternative to imprisonment enjoy a more than 40 percent reduction in crime. Furthermore, roughly three-quarters of program participants are not arrested for any additional crimes for two years or more after drug court completion.

Cost less than traditional prison sentences

Yet another way drug courts benefit their surrounding communities is by costing taxpayers far less than housing drug offenders in the jail system. Studies show that communities save more than $3.30 for every $1.00 they put into their drug court programs.

Help eliminate methamphetamine from communities

A methamphetamine addiction can prove incredibly difficult to kick, but your chances of doing so increase significantly if you participate in drug court. Meth addicts who participate in drug court can stay off the drug for about four times longer than those who take part in eight other offender programs.

Given the many ways in which they benefit drug addicts and their surrounding communities, drug courts may become more widespread in the years to come. If you are facing a drug charge and want to know if drug court may be an option for you, consider making an appointment with a criminal defense lawyer to discuss your options.

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