The scientific community has put Drug Courts under a microscope and concluded that Drug Courts work; today, commissioners “made it official” in a proclamation recognizing local drug court successes and naming May as Drug Court Month in St Johns County.
Juvenile drug court started in St. Johns County in August 2010, however, in 20 years since the first Drug Court was founded, there has been more research published on the effects of Drug Courts than on virtually all other criminal justice programs combined.
St. Johns County Sheriff, David B. Shoar, a drug court supporter from the beginning, told Historic City News editor Michael Gold, “Drug Court is better than jail or prison — better than probation and treatment alone.”
In the Seventh Judicial Circuit, prosecutors, police, defense attorneys, educators, probation officers or any of the team members recommend offenders for the diversionary program.
A youth might be recommended due to a string of burglary charges that are an indication of a drug problem. If they are not diverted to drug court they face stiffer penalties in juvenile court. “They have to have an open delinquency case but anyone can refer them,” Historic City News was told. “It doesn’t have to be a drug charge.”
Local judges Wendy Berger and Clyde Wolfe spoke to the audience this morning; praising the members of the drug court team and those participants who have used drug court as a second chance to a cleaner, safer life.
Judge Berger said, “If the offender completes the program, they stand a chance of having their charges dismissed or sentence reduced.”
“Drug Courts significantly reduce drug use and crime and are more cost-effective than any other proven criminal justice strategy,” Judge Wolfe said.
Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer