Everyone wants to avoid incarceration. That includes the state of California.
Prisons are a substantial expense for the state government. In fact, this is one of the highest-spending states per prisoner in the country, with each inmate costing an average of around $130,000.
What is the role of collaborative courts?
One of the ways that state law reduces the personal and economic costs of incarceration is by offering a collaborative justice system to people who qualify. Many drug offenders do happen to qualify for this program, but it depends on the individual case — and the way that the defendant presents arguments and handles facts.
These drug courts differ extensively from the traditional court system. Some of the unique features include:
- A team approach
- Less of the “state-versus-criminal” adversarial format
- A priority on supervision and rehabilitation
However, drug courts are still part of the criminal justice system. As such, they have well-defined standards and demand close attention to procedures and rules.
Do drug courts replace other courts?
Adult drug courts typically do not replace criminal courts. Instead, they are often something that happens after a judge issues an adjudication on a case.
The most common situation is that someone goes into drug court after pleading guilty to a charge. There are also various other models, including those that do not require a guilty plea. Options could depend on the case or the jurisdiction.
Apart from keeping people out of jail when they do not require incarceration, drug courts also aim to keep people from committing the same crimes again. Overall, the emphasis is more on rehabilitation and less on punishment.