Substance abuse or addiction is an underlying factor in many criminal proceedings, especially those related to drugs. By criminalizing chemical dependence, the government has turned many people who otherwise do not break the law into criminals.
The Texas drug courts are an important tool that keeps those with addiction out of the standard criminal justice system and frees up resources in the courts for more serious offenses. They also help the people seeking pretrial diversion through the drug courts face and sometimes overcome their addictions.
The drug courts focus on treatment
Rather than treating someone with an addiction issue like a hardened criminal, the drug courts view them as someone who needs support.
Those who qualify for pretrial diversion in the drug courts will go on probation during the drug court process. They will be subject to random drug screenings and required to undergo treatment. Treatment requirements are an opportunity for someone to explore their substance abuse history and find a way to put their chemical dependence behind them.
Limiting opportunities perpetuate the cycle of addiction
All too often, an arrest and conviction for a drug-related offense will set someone up for a worse life. Their time in jail will limit their job opportunities and results in social isolation and stigma. They may return to drug use if they stop using substances while in prison.
Many people also find themselves relying on other chemical crutches while incarcerated, possibly leading to even worse addiction issues than those that led to someone’s arrest.
By avoiding jail and possibly letting someone move forward without a criminal record when they complete all court-ordered steps, pretrial intervention through the drug courts can help people overcome their addictions and move on with their lives.