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Cracking the Habit: Drug Courts in Action

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This video portrays the operation of drug courts, interspersed with comments on the effectiveness of drug courts by judges, treatment providers, police officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and drug offenders, as well as U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
Drug court judges explain the purpose of the drug court to be that of crafting and monitoring a drug treatment regimen for nonviolent drug abusers whose primary behavioral problem is drug abuse. Sanctions are structured to provide an incentive for maintaining a commitment to treatment, although relapses are taken into account as an inevitable pattern in the effort to become drug-free. Police officers express their frustration with the revolving-door policy of incarceration without treatment for drug offenders, which leads to a return to drug abuse and rearrest. They indicate their support for drug courts as a proven means of reducing recidivism. Comments by drug offenders who have participated in drug courts reflect the change that has occurred in their lives due to the guidance of the drug court in structuring and monitoring their treatment. The video portrays drug court judges' conversations with drug offenders in monitoring their progress in treatment. When drug offenders successfully complete treatment, they graduate from the drug court program through a ceremony and a "pep" talk by the judge. Also portrayed in the video is the operation and philosophy of the "wellness" court on an Indian reservation in Arizona. This court takes into account the cultural values and rituals of healing in the Native American culture.

Date Published: January 1, 2000