The usual process for justice sector reform has been fairly predictable in recent years; unveil a new initiative in one or two locations, wait for a year or so until the details are bedded down. then expand it to other places.
Drug Court has bucked that trend. Introduced at Dandenong in 2002, it has yet to be introduced across the board – or anywhere else, for that matter.
The Drug Court was profiled on the Law Report a couple of weeks ago.
Once heralded as the flagship “problem-solving criminal court” of the future, the statistics indicate that around 30% of people on the Drug Court program successfully complete it. Those who do have frequently continued to commit minor crime and continued to use drugs without having their Drug Treatment Order revoked. In the first year of its operation, only 6% of people on the program tested negative for illegal drugs 90% of the time or more.
The government apparently doesn’t consider the program sufficiently successful to expand it elsewhere. On the Next Generation Courts page of the DOJ website, the CISP program, Diversion and Family Violence initiatives are referred to, but Drug Court is not.
Has anyone out there got some hands-on experience of the workings of Drug Court? What do you think about the program?