POLL: Do you Support Mandatory Drug Treatment?
New law would require those deemed to be addicted to avoid jail, take part in drug courts
On Thursday Gov. Chris Christie signed a law creating drug court programs statewide, a law that will also make partcipation in drug court mandatory for many nonviolent offenders. The legislation is to be implemented over the next five years.
Essex County’s existing drug court system, founded in the late 1990s and the first of its kind in New Jersey, currently gives drug offenders the option of taking part in drug court instead of jail time. Participants in the Essex court remain under probation while receiving help getting additional education, job training as well as counseling for their addiction.
Supporters point to statistics showing that graduates of drug courts are far more likely to remain substance-free, to avoid repeat offenses and also more likely to reunite with family, outcomes Christie would like to see replicated statewide.
“When I outlined this proposal six months ago, I made it clear that our commitment to our most vulnerable was not just a matter of dollars and cents, it was about reclaiming lives. No life is disposable and every life can be redeemed, but not if we ignore them,” Christie. said in a statement.