In Texas, someone who is convicted of a drug crime may be sentenced to jail time if the offense is serious enough. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice also developed a drug court program that allows for offenders to receive treatment for substance abuse rather than simply serving a jail sentence.
The department lists many benefits of drug courts. Offenders receive immediate treatment and sanctions when they relapse, they have regular intensive reactions with a judge and the environment is geared toward their success.
How do they work?
When a defendant has been charged with a non-violent offense, they are assessed to determine if they are a good fit for a drug court. The program includes weekly supervision visits, monitoring by a judge, weekly treatment sessions and frequent drug tests to determine if the participant is using drugs.
Drug courts usually last between 12 and 18 months and can be done as a probation program or a pretrial program. If the person completes a pretrial program, successful completion in the program means the charges are dropped. Probation programs often require completion of a drug court program.
Do they work?
Local and federal data suggest that drug courts are successful in reducing recidivism rates. When offenders receive treatment for their substance abuse disorder when they are arrested, they are less likely to offend again. As drug courts are expanded across the state, they are paid for by federal grant funds, local counties and program participants. Anyone who has a history of substance abuse who is facing drug charges may benefit from working with an attorney who understands the drug court system.