Legal St

Legal assessment 2: crime: drug courts and criminal law.
What is the drug court?

Since its establishment in 1999, the NSW Drug Court has undergone significant change. Amongst other things, sanctions for non-compliance with program conditions have been made more flexible, participants are now given formal warnings if they fail to progress, police have a greater role in screening for eligibility and the threshold for program termination has been reduced. This report details the results of a study designed to compare reconviction rates amongst participants in the Drug Court program with reconviction rates amongst a (statistically matched) comparison group deemed eligible for the Drug Court Program but excluded either because they reside out of area or because they had been convicted of a violent offence.

Access to the drug court:
So how is the drug court accessible? The main aim of the drug court is to tackle the underlying cause of involvement in crime (drug dependence or abuse) by placing drug dependent offenders on a program of coerced

Under the original Drug Court Act 1998, a person was deemed to be eligible for the program if:
  * They had been charged with an offence that could be dealt with summarily and did not involve serious offences such drug supply, violence or sexual assault; and
  *   It was highly likely that the person would, if convicted, be sentenced to imprisonment; and
  * The person pleaded guilty or indicated an intention to plead guilty; and
  * The person appeared to be dependent on the use of prohibited drugs; and
  * The person satisfied other criteria prescribed by the regulations.

The other eligibility criteria set out in the regulations included the requirement that:
  * The offender’s usual place of residence falls within prescribed Local Government Areas in western and south-western Sydney;
  * The offender does not have a mental health condition that could prevent active participation in the program....