The Farmington Patch this week ran a story on the 47th District Sobriety Court and some of the successes this alternative court has seen. According to the piece, this court and others like it in the region save the local governments money while assisting offenders in recovery, providing a win-win situation.
Sobriety court is a program within the 47th District Court that allows for intensive treatment and assistance for people accused of alcohol or drug related offenses. While the guidelines state the offender must be accused of a OWI where their blood alcohol content was greater than .15, exceptions can be made at the administrator’s determination.
The main purpose of this program is to assist the offender in recovery and reduce recidivism. According to the Patch, it’s successful in these regards.
This particular Sobriety Court has graduated 40 offenders in recent years, none of which have appeared again in the court system. As a matter of fact, some of the original graduates return to watch the newer ones go through their graduation ceremony, as a reminder of where they began.
The program includes substance abuse treatment, education, drug and alcohol testing, and AA or NA twelve step programs. Often, in other jurisdictions where such programming isn’t available, similar offenders are not given the same tools at recovery and are found back in front of the judge again and again.
This program tries to identify those people who truly have alcohol and drug problems, those who can’t “get better” without some help and treatment. By giving them the help they need and access to counseling the Sobriety Courts assist the offender and likewise decrease future burdens on the courts.
In the world of crime and punishments, punishment often doesn’t do the job. Instead, the needs of the offender and the needs of public safety are better served with rehabilitation, or prevention. Although Sobriety Courts like this one aren’t available in every jurisdiction, there are other treatment options across the state.
When you are facing criminal charges and you need assistance for addiction or alcoholism you may get access to treatment and help through the courts. Contact our attorneys to discuss your charges and the programs available in your area.