Thursday, June 3, 2010

Attorney General Eric Holder Praises Nation’s Drug Courts

Pledges to help put a Drug Court within reach of every person in need

(Vocus/PRWEB ) June 3, 2010 -- Attorney General Eric Holder delivered remarks today to 3,200 Drug Court Professionals during the opening ceremony of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals 16th Annual Drug Court Training Conference in Boston, MA.

Attorney General Eric Holder praises Drug Courts during the NADCP 16th Annual Training Conference.
Attorney General Eric Holder praises Drug Courts during the NADCP 16th Annual Training Conference.

Holder’s speech followed moving comments from successful Drug Court graduates who told the packed audience the story of their addiction, involvement with the criminal justice system and ultimate restoration in Drug Court. Holder called them a “testament” to the fact that Drug Courts significantly reduce crime and save the criminal justice system money.

The economic benefit of the nation’s 2,400 Drug Courts was a central theme of the day. Drug Court’s save communities from $3,000 up to $13,000 per participant. Holder said that if Drug Courts were expanded to serve every individual in the criminal justice system who qualifies, the savings would exceed $1 billion a year. “It is time to determine how we will put Drug Courts within reach of every individual who needs the program,” he said.

In introducing Holder, Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson said that the rise of Drug Courts over the last twenty-one years has “changed the way we think about criminal justice” and initiated a “movement toward collaboration, community engagement and accountability.”

“Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson and Attorney General Eric Holder are true champions of Drug Courts,” said NADCP CEO West Huddleston. Their leadership and innovation have advanced the notion that our criminal justice system can be a solution for those who desperately need treatment for addiction. After two decades of research, it has never been clearer that Drug Courts are this country’s most successful strategy for restoring lives, reuniting families and making communities safer. The incredible graduates we heard from today represent only a fraction of the one million individuals whose lives have been saved by Drug Court. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals and the 27,000 Drug Court graduates we represent, stand with the Attorney General in support of putting a Drug Court within reach of every American in need.”

NADCP’s 16th Annual Training Conference will run through Saturday, June 5.

About The National Association of Drug Court Professionals
It takes innovation, teamwork and strong judicial leadership to achieve success addressing drug-using offenders in a community. That’s why since 1994 the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) has worked tirelessly at the national, state and local level to create and enhance Drug Courts, which use a combination of accountability and treatment to compel and support drug-using offenders to change their lives.

Now a national movement, Drug Courts are the shining example of what works in the justice system. Today, there are over 2,300 Drug Courts operating in the U.S., and another thirteen countries have implemented the model. Drug Courts are widely applied to adult criminal cases, juvenile delinquency and truancy cases, and family court cases involving parents at risk of losing custody of their children due to drug abuse. Drug Court improves communities by successfully getting offenders off drugs and stopping drug-related crime, reuniting broken families, intervening with juveniles before they embark on a debilitating life of addiction and crime, and reducing impaired driving.

Now 20 years since the first Drug Court was founded in Miami/Dade County, Florida, more research has been published on the effects of Drug Courts than on virtually all other criminal justice programs combined. The scientific community has put Drug Courts under a microscope and concluded that Drug Courts significantly reduce drug abuse and crime and do so at less expense than any other justice strategy. NADCP has further championed new generations of the Drug Court model. These include Veteran’s Treatment Courts, Reentry Courts, and Mental Health Courts, among others. Veteran’s Treatment Courts, for example, are adapting to the needs of our heroes from the armed services, who sometimes have difficulty adjusting to civilian life or coping with combat-related stress, and may become involved with the justice system due to substance abuse or mental illness. Rather than ignore their plight, Veteran’s Treatment Courts provide the treatment and structure they need to resume productive lives. Reentry Courts assist individuals leaving our nation’s jails and prisons to succeed on parole and avoid a recurrence of drug abuse and crime. And Mental Health Courts monitor those with mental illness who find their way into the justice system.

Today, the award-winning NADCP is the premier national membership, training, and advocacy organization for Drug Courts, representing over 27,000 multi-disciplinary Drug Court professionals. NADCP hosts the largest annual training conference on drugs and crime in the nation and provides 130 training and technical assistance events each year through its professional service branches, the National Drug Court Institute and the National Center for DWI Courts. NADCP also publishes numerous scholastic and practical publications critical to the ongoing growth and fidelity of the Drug Court model. NADCP works tirelessly in the media, on Capitol Hill, and in state legislatures to transform the American justice system through policy, legislation, and appropriations.

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