Drug courts can be a good strategy for treating the U.S.’s twin epidemics of substance abuse and mass incarceration. But they need to be used more often, and more carefully.
But this is the way it should be: routing people away from prison as opposed to sending people whose criminality is treatable behind bars.
As drug courts spread across the world, new standards and best practices aim to hold them all accountable.
We should seek to expand the use of federal drug courts throughout the country for low-level drug offenses. These programs provide proven alternatives to incarceration for men and women who are willing to do the hard work of recovery, and it is my hope that, in the next five years, there will be an operational drug court in every federal district — with individual states following suit.