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Could participating in drug court help you avoid jail?

As a Texas resident facing a drug-related criminal charge, you may be fearful of having to potentially spend time in jail. While, for many drug offenders, jail time is an unavoidable reality, you may, depending on certain circumstances, be able to enroll in a drug court program instead of having to spend time behind bars.

Not everyone is a good candidate for drug courts, and they are not yet available in all geographic areas, but if you are facing a nonviolent drug-related criminal charge, participating in drug court may help you avoid jail. Drug court programs, per the National Institute of Justice, offer numerous benefits for drug addicts as well as their communities. The notion behind drug court programs is that they strike an important balance between holding criminal offenders accountable for their actions and giving them the resources they need to beat their addictions. Because drug addiction is frequently the root of criminal behavior, many believe that treating addiction will lead to a reduction in crime rates.

Statistics indicate that this crime reduction is, in fact, a key benefit of drug courts, with drug court participants proving less likely than their peers to re-offend and reenter the criminal justice system. In fact, one study on the subject revealed that felony offenders who did not attend drug court had a 40-percent re-arrest rate two years after their initial crimes, while drug court participants only had a 12-percent re-arrest rate within the same time period.

Furthermore, research shows that it is actually cheaper for drug-related criminal offenders to attend drug court than it is to house them in the traditional prison system. Long-term estimates suggest that each person who enters a drug court program, as opposed to undergoing standard criminal justice processing, saves his or her community about $6,744 over time once you factor in reduced recidivism and related expenditures.

This information is educational in nature and not a replacement for legal advice.

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