Drug related crimes are a very big reason why so many people are in jail or in prison and it’s been brought to several state officials attention that a majority of money has been spent keeping these inmates incarcerated but in actuality these individuals are addicts who need drug court, subsequently, to deal with their addiction to drugs or alcohol.
There are a little over 2,600 drug courts around the country but two in particular located in Ohio, The Sobriety Treatment Accountability Recovery program operated through Fairfield Municipal Court, and the Drug Court run by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth are the most successful in helping addicts to recover and keeping them out of incarceration. Since the creation of drug courts in the 1980’s, they have helped over a million people stay out of the prison system. Many addicts are not hard-cold criminals; they commit crimes because they are under the influence or in need of money to obtain drugs or alcohol. These people have a serious problem and jail is not the answer for them. They need help; something imprisonment will not do for them. Non-violent offenders with drug addiction problems are qualified to enter drug court and the ones with alcohol addiction, municipal court. To steer clear of imprisonment they are required to complete an intensive drug rehabilitation program. While in this program, participants are drug tested regularly, required to keep jobs and complete community service, and are seen by the judge weekly. In the two more thriving drug courts mentioned above, there have been 170 graduates from the program run in Butler County and 18 in Fairfield County. The graduation rate in Butler County is 45 percent since 2007 and 42 percent since 2009 in Fairfield County. The average national graduation rate in all drug courts is 57 percent, according to a study done by the National Drug Court Institute. These drug courts give back money to the community, close to twenty-seven dollars for every dollar invested according to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. To keep an inmate in jail or in prison costs up to twenty-thousand to thirty-thousand dollars, but investing in the treatment program of an addict or alcoholic in the drug courts costs a lot less. Why wouldn’t our government officials try to help in saving the lives of these suffering individuals, while saving money?
Our country thrives on finding ways to save money and this is an excellent solution. We mistakenly spend tons of taxpayers’ dollars incarcerating harmless people that have committed crimes because they have problems with substances not being able to control their urge to act out. Many addicts and alcoholics are falsely destined to be deemed a criminal for the rest of their life, arrested over and over again because of their problem have found the refuge they deserve in drug court. Even with about only half actually graduating the program and living a life free of drugs and alcohol, we see that programs like these do work.