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Drug courts and diversion programs

It was 1989 when the first drug court got underway in Miami-Dade County. Since then, according to Florida Courts, "numerous studies have confirmed that drug courts significantly reduce crime, provide better treatment outcomes, and produce better cost benefits than other criminal justice strategies." 

What constitutes drug court? Turning to Florida Courts once again for insight, readers learn this particular form of discipline integrates treatment services for both drugs and alcohol. It also includes drug and alcohol testing to encourage adherence to commitments of abstinence.

Individuals who qualify for participation can expect extensive support, judicial interaction and a collaborative approach to their cases. They can also anticipate strong accountability for their actions.

Even juveniles may qualify for diversion programs, but they should not expect this form of discipline to be any less regimented than the drug courts described above. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice makes it clear that the courts can impose any number of conditions on an alleged offender, including requiring him or her "to live in a residential facility for a period of time."

Other "sanctions" may involve paying restitution to any victims of the offense, undergoing professional counseling, submitting to a nightly curfew and apologizing to those hurt by his or her actions. In addition, juvenile offenders may have to perform community service, give up their right to drive and stop hanging around with friends who have been negative influences. 

It is worth reminding youth that those who participate in diversion programs will still have to report to probation officers who will consistently monitor behavior.  

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Ian F. Mann, P.A.
1424 Dean Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901

Toll Free: 866-416-1488
Phone: 239-935-5935
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