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Pennsylvania's drug offenders need treatment, not incarceration

If you are among those who have spent time behind bars in Pennsylvania, then you probably know that many of those currently calling the state’s jails and prisons home are there because they committed drug-related offenses. Though not yet available in all areas, drug courts, which allow addicts like you to avoid serving time by instead taking part in highly regimented and supervised drug diversion programs, have proven results.

Help keep families together

Should you receive an offer and accept an invitation to take part in drug court, any children you may have become far less likely to have to spend any substantial amount of time in an out-of-home placement setting, such as in the care of a foster family.

Save communities money

It is also less expensive for communities to place drug offenders like you in drug court programs than it is to house you in a traditional prison setting. So much so, in fact, that drug courts save, on average, between $3,000 and $13,000 for every offender who makes his or her way through the program.

Reduce crime

Drug courts also have proven, positive effects on crime. Studies show that, when compared with traditional penalties such as jail sentences, drug court programs reduce crime by almost 50 percent. Furthermore, about 75 percent of those who finish drug court will not be rearrested for at least two years following program completion.

Force compliance

As an addict, you are probably aware of just how difficult kicking your addiction on your own can prove to be. Because of the strict nature of drug courts and the fact that many addicts fear the alternative, which is typically imprisonment, many addicts comply with the rules of the programs and ultimately find help beating their addictions. Without this level of accountability, about 70 percent of today’s drug addicts leave drug treatment before completing it.

Ultimately, whether drug court is an option for you will depend on where you live and the severity of your crime, among other factors.