The traditional justice system and penalties, such as trials and incarceration, may not serve those facing drug charges and put them back on the right path. The drug court program in Louisiana provides an alternative sentencing option for such cases. According to the Louisiana Supreme Court, the 2015 drug court graduates had only a 9.9% recidivism rate, well below the rate for those sentenced through traditional interventions. Of the 2015 program participants, 90.1% had not received additional drug-related convictions since graduating from drug court.
Understanding the drug court program may help people facing drug-related charges determine if they may benefit from participating.
How does the drug court work?
According to the Louisiana Supreme Court, the drug court program involves substance abuse treatment, judicial oversight and regular drug testing. Program participants also receive community supervision and support to help them overcome their substance use disorders. Participants move through the program phases by addressing their substance use disorders and other issues and exhibiting successful behaviors. Trained drug court staff use validated assessment and screening tools and apply the legal eligibility requirements in order to determine who may participate in the drug court program.
What do participants have to do to graduate?
To successfully complete the program, drug court participants must complete all the requirements. This includes attending the scheduled treatment sessions and participating in regular interactions with the drug court judge or team. Further, participants must abstain from using drugs for the duration of the program.
The decision of whether to allow people charged with drug-related offenses to participate in the drug court program ultimately falls to the court; however, those facing drug charges may ask for consideration.