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The Drug Court Fraud

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Guest Post by Steven K. Erickson, J.D., LL.M., Ph.D., MIRECC Fellow, Yale University

Drug courts are widely popular these days and have been heralded as a progressive system for dealing with chronic behaviors that often involve “revolving-door” defendants who cycle in and out of the criminal justice system. Indeed, state and federal governments have largely bought into this model of handling highly recidivistic crimes. In 2004, the GAO reported over 1,700 drug courts were in operation nationwide and a projected $69.86 million dollar budget for 2007. But there are serious question about drug courts, both in terms of effectiveness and policy.

Read the full article, The Drug Court Fraud

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Perhaps trial judges in populous urban jurisdictions favor drug courts simply to get a slew of non-violent felonies off their docket. Whether drug court defendants go straight might not concern those trial judges who can otherwise focus more attention and resources on violent felonies. Could the benefit of drug courts be completely unrelated to the outcome of any one drug court case? If non-violent felony cases can be diverted away from courtrooms that handle major felonies, would drug courts be considered a failure because the same defendant reappears with a new possession charge?

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