The Melbourne Magistrates' Court has recently introduced a Drug Court division, in addition to the division already established at the Dandenong Magistrates' Court.
This recent development for Melbourne Court users provides for both sentencing and the ongoing supervision/treatment of offending drug users who are experiencing addiction.
The primary function of drug courts are to reduce recidivism and substance abuse among eligible offenders. Eligible participants are required to abstain from AOD use, take accountability for their conduct and engage in rehabilitative treatment models.
Critically, these Court mandated programs allow for sentences to be served in the community as opposed to in custody.
The catalyst for the development of Drug Court programs reflects a recognition by the Court and the community that custodial sentences and a 'tough on drugs' approach are an ineffective mode of rehabilitation. The therapeutic model considers the integration of public health and public safety, along with the treatment and personal needs of the individual.
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