By ERIK ECKHOLM
Published: October 14, 2008
SEATTLE — It was not your usual courtroom scene. For one thing, the judge choked up as he described one woman’s struggle with opiate addiction after her arrest for forging prescriptions.
Over the last three years, she had repeatedly missed court-ordered therapy and hearings, and the judge, J. Wesley Saint Clair of the Drug Diversion Court, at first meted out mild punishments, like community service. But last winter, pushed past his forgiving limit, he jailed her briefly twice. The threat of more jail did the trick.
Now she was graduating — along with 23 other addicts who entered drug court instead of prison. Prosecutors and public defenders applauded when she was handed her certificate; a policewoman hugged her, and a child shouted triumphantly, “Yeah, Mamma!”...
Nationwide, 70,000 offenders are in adult or juvenile drug courts at any given time, with the number growing, said C. West Huddleston III, director of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. The concept has been supported by the Clinton and Bush administrations.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
A Little Treatment Goes A Long Way
An interesting post in the New York Times regarding the Seattle Drug Court is worth noting-including a slide show of some of the recent graduates of the Seattle program. What we have learned is that drug courts work to give people lasting change and a chance at a drug free life.