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Maryland’s drug offenders need treatment, not incarceration

If you ever served time in a Maryland penitentiary, then you may be aware of just how many drug offenders occupy those prison beds. Overcrowding is a serious problem at prisons across the nation, and communities have enacted new procedures and programs aimed at reducing overcrowding while treating what is often the root of the problem: drug addiction.  

Drug courts, per the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, are programs that seek to treat your drug addiction itself because it is the addiction that often leads to additional forms of criminal behavior. These closely supervised drug treatment programs generally combine regular visits to a judge or courtroom with treatment methods aimed at helping you, the addict, kick your addiction, and studies show they have considerable positive effects. In addition to helping keep drug offenders out of jail, drug courts:

Keep families together

If you have children and participate in drug court, you have a far better chance of reuniting with those children than you would if you do not take part in the program. Your children are also far less likely to have to spend time with a foster family or in another alternative care setting because of your participation in drug court.

Have positive impacts on crime

Studies indicate that you are also less likely to engage in criminal behavior after completing the program, and so much so that the effects can last for more than 14 years after you finish. Furthermore, three-quarters of drug court participants do not find themselves under arrest again for at least two years following program completion.

Save communities considerable money

When compared with the cost of housing a drug offender in a jail cell, drug courts save communities quite a bit of money. Savings range from about $3,000 to $13,000 per participant, and, on a national scale, about $3.36 is saved for every $1 invested into a drug court program.

Simply stated, drug courts work. To find out if they are available in your area and whether they might be an option for you, consider speaking with a lawyer.

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