For the forthcoming research paper, I have chosen to do some studies on Drug Courts. Before this class, the majority of students were unfamiliar with drug courts where even some did not know whether they existed. In the current American society, drug courts are very beneficial. Drug courts are classified in different categories; they include, mental health courts, youth courts, domestic violence courts, community courts, family treatment courts, and juvenile drug courts. Over the past decades, these courts have gained remarkable acceptance. No matter the type of drug court in the discussion, the main focus is on the persons that are appearing in courts every day (Dixon 2006). As it is, prisons and jails are becoming overpopulated.
What is more important than to give the small time offenders an option of getting the help they significantly need? However, not all offenders can be reformed by these drug courts, but why are they not given a chance? Shouldn't the offenders have the right to fair and equal treatment? What is it that the society and the legal system going to lose? Won't the action by drug courts help to reduce the number of minor offenders in jails, thus improving overcrowding? The objectives of the study are to find out and outline the effectiveness of drug courts, describe various types of problem-solving courts that exist and give detailed analysis on the problem-solving courts, compared to imprisonment/jail. The overall research shall indicate the importance and dangers associated with drug courts (problem-solving courts) and the impacts they have on the general society (Mackinem and Higgins, 2008, P 148-153).
The number of cases presented in the court system of the United States has been increasing daily. However, there has been little attention in the needs of the offenders to get additional treatment after their court ruling. Instead, they are imprisoned in jails that are already overcrowded and fail to acquire help when they are in need. According to a study done by Stacy Burns, drug courts have aided in social control concerns that arise in the criminal justice system (Burns 2010). This study has indicated that these courts are successful in various regions chiefly with the mentally ill and homeless people. The study further states that the mentally ill people lack access to the treatment they need and with the recent closure of state's mental institutions due to lack of funding, these people are left with no one to look up to. Burns concludes that mentally ill offenders need to gain access to rehabilitation centers to prevent re-offending. Another study by Kaye in 2004 shows that courts have a relatively higher rate of case disposition as opposed to the higher rate of prosecution and clearance. This study proves the effectiveness of problem-solving courts and further states that they are beneficial to both the society and the individual offenders (Butts, & Roman 2004, pp 59).
Research on drug courts has shown extensive evidence on the positive impacts of problem-solving courts on the reduction of the rate of re-offending. Moreover, they have shown that drug courts help manage and reduce the rate of crime from mentally ill people which is a positive move. However, the researchers do not clearly explain the effectiveness of these courts in reducing overcrowding in prisons (Hucklesby & Wincup, 2010, pp 128-135). The studies also do not show an association of drug and substance abuse on the increase in the level of crimes. Therefore, in the future research, I will discuss how drug courts reduce the rate of drug and substance abuse, and the initiatives undertaken by the legal system to reduce crime rates using these types of courts.
Methods of Study
In this research, I shall investigate the effectiveness of drug courts in reducing the likelihood of repeat offending as well as the role they have in reducing overcrowding in jails. The most common methods used in this field of study are an analysis of victimization reports, using existing data from other researches, and survey to offenders. This method shall use a quality scale that shall evaluate the reliability of sources used in the study. However, due to various factors such as lack of firsthand information from offenders, the research shall use data from other sources that have quality and reliable data. This includes multiple published or printed materials that contain records of minor offenses. During this research, some challenges are expected. Accurate data on crimes such as shoplifting and drug possession might be little; this is because there are crimes that cannot be accurately measured since these crimes are hard to observe and are not reported to the legal system mostly.
Use of the FBI's uniform crime reports is another method that shall be effective in this study. This method shall be mainly based on the police measures of minor offenses that can be handled by drug courts. This method might include some doubts about the real statistics since it shall only rely on the reported cases. This method has some challenges since the UCR does not count all the crimes that are reported. Secondly, most index offenses which are also known as Part I crimes are only recorded if they are reported to the authorities. These types of offenses are the main aim of drug courts, and lack of enough data might affect the results. However, the study shall use the recorded data since only the crimes recorded by the police are taken to court where the main focus of the research is.
During this study, relevant data shall be obtained from well-analyzed studies and reports from the authorities and the court systems. According to the legal system, the appropriate hierarchy must be followed to gather the information needed (Whiteacre 2008). Therefore, the research shall involve interaction with influential figures in the community and ethical protocol must be followed. For instance, before reaching the criminal records from the court, one might be tempted to give bribes to acquire files of minor offenders serving jail terms in court. In the case of such a scenario, one must ensure to stick to the ethics of the system by reporting a bribe request to the relevant authorities. More so, every person demands privacy, and it is the right of every citizen. Therefore, I will be required to ensure that personal data is not breached. This will be done by using placebo names on person characters if the need arises.
The data in this research shall be collected using a qualitative analysis of various articles in this field of study. The selection of the materials for study shall follow a quality assessment to use them as the primary information sources. The criteria used to eliminate some of the articles involve standards like 1. The number of the sample used must be over 50 participants, 2 the information must be approved by the legal authorities, and 3 the statistics should be correctly recorded, with few errors when compared with other sources. A different set of data shall be gathered from the police departments. The study shall follow the required protocol linked with the authority to acquire reliable information.
Butts, J. A., and Roman, J 2004. Juvenile Drug Courts and Teen Substance Abuse. Washington, D.C., Urban Institute Press. 1(2), pp.59.
Dixon, N 2006. Drug Courts: An Update. Brisbane, Qld, Queensland Parliamentary Library, Research Publication, and Resources Section.
Hucklesby, A. and Wincup, E 2010. Drug Interventions in Criminal Justice. Maidenhead, Open University Press/McGraw-Hill Education. pp.130-135. http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=650318_0.
Lessenger, J. E., & Roper, G. F 2007. Drug Courts: A New Approach to Treatment and Rehabilitation. New York, Springer. http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=367325.
Mackinem, M. B., & Higgins, P. C 2008. Drug court: Constructing the Moral Identity of Drug Offenders. Springfield, CC Thomas. (1), pp.148-153. http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=554607.
Robinson, J. J., and Jones, J. W 2000. Drug Testing in a Drug Court Environment: Common Issues to Address. Washington, DC, Office of Justice Programs Drug Court Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Project.
Tiger, R 2013. Judging Addicts: Drug Courts and Coercion in the Justice System. New York, New York University Press. http://public.ebookcentral.proquest.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=1057777.
Tribal Law and Policy Institute, and United States 2011. Healing to Wellness Courts: A Preliminary Overview of Tribal Drug Courts. Washington, D.C., U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Drug Courts Program Office.
Whiteacre, K 2008. Drug Court Justice: Experiences in a Juvenile Drug Court. New York, P. Lang.
Zehm, K. L 2006. Social Support and the Drug Courts: Testing a Contingency Model for Types of Support and Beneficial Outcomes among Drug Court Defendants. 1(4), pp76-94.
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