Are Specialty Courts the Key to Reducing Recidivism

Student: Adrian Negrete

Mentor: Christine Henderson


With the increase in population across the United States, the justice system has become backlogged. The prosecutor’s office is overwhelmed with incoming cases, probation departments do not have enough probation officers to keep up with the influx of clients, and the jails are incredibly crowded. There is a drug epidemic in the nation, and what we had been doing before has been ineffective. Ignoring the drug epidemic and raising the minimum amount a person can have in their possession is not the solution. Drug courts allow offenders the opportunity to receive treatment and have their felony charge(s) dismissed upon successful completion of the program. In order to increase the effectiveness of this program, we need to expand the eligibility requirements.
Many counties have started using specialty courts such as DUI court, Family court, and Drug court. The focus for drug court is to give those who have committed a drug-related crime another opportunity, a second chance. Rather than simply entering them into the system and becoming another statistic, drug court was established to prevent the cycle. Drug court is a system set in place to help those who have committed drug-related offenses and wish to seek help rather than spend time in a jail cell. Those who wish to and qualify for the program are required to enter a contract with the court and treatment facility. Through interviews and secondary analysis, this policy analysis recommends future actions concerning equitable entry into drug courts, the expansion for data collection, and analysis.


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