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Introduction: Drug Courts in Operation

NCJ Number
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume: 33 Issue: 4 Dated: 2001 Pages: 1-10
James J. Hennessy
Date Published
10 pages
This article is an introduction to a special issue of the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, is concerned with current research on drug courts in operation.
The author of this introductory article offers an overview of the history of the United States’ “war on drugs,” with a focus on the punitive versus rehabilitative aspects of the legal fight against illicit substance abuse. The author primarily discusses the history and use of drug courts as the main treatment alternative that incorporates aspects of both a punitive and a rehabilitative approach to the treatment of drug offenders. According to many researchers, drug courts emerged as a treatment alternative because the traditional legal methods of incarceration, probation, or supervised parole were not impacting the use or prevalence of drug abuse in the United States. Thus, drug courts focused on alternative methods of keeping American’s off of drugs; they strove to reduce the need to incarcerate drug offenders. These drug courts emerged in 1989 from a grassroots effort to incorporate mandatory, supervised “treatment” into the punishment of those convicted of drug offenses. Drug courts are considered an effective alternative to traditional criminal justice processing, with more than 1,000 drug treatment courts in operation in all 50 States during the year 2001. The author concludes the article by introducing the subsequent articles contained in this special issue of the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. References


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