Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ottawa Citizen Feature on Drug Treatment Courts

The Ottawa Citizen recently ran a series on the capital's crack cocaine problems.

An article that ran on Saturday, June 19, 2010 as part of the series examined the city's Drug Treatment Court that works to divert small-time drug offenders away from jail and into addiction treatment programs:

"Offenders in Drug Treatment Court are always facing jail for the petty theft that feeds their habit. After a rigorous assessment, they are accepted into the program and begin treatment with Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services. First they are required to plead guilty to any charges they face"

"Addicts in the program set to work on reducing their drug dependency and perhaps achieving one of two goals:"

"1. Clean living for six months: If they stay drug-free and take all required treatment and counselling, they’ll walk away with a graduation certificate, one day’s probation and, with any luck, a promising future."

"2. Clean living for three months: Leave with a year’s probation. (Since staying away from drugs will be a condition of probation, this can be a trap for those likely to relapse.)"

"There are six Drug Treatment Courts in Canada — Ottawa, Winnipeg, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Regina. Each is more or less modelled on the first in North America which opened in Miami in 1989."

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • 7th Annual Justicia Awards for Legal Reporting (August 14, 2006): "The Awards are sponsored by the Law Commission of Canada, the Canadian Bar Association and the Department of Justice Canada and are given for 'outstanding journalism that fosters public awareness and understanding of any aspect of the Canadian justice system and the roles played by institutions and participants in the legal system'. Enjeux (Radio-Canada TV) won an Award for its March 2006 program 'Tribunal des Toxicomanes' that dealt with Vancouver's groundbreaking Drug Treatment Court. "
  • Tenth Annual Justicia Awards for Excellence in Journalism (September 24, 2009): "The winners in the broadcast category: Global TV Calgary (reporter Mia Sosiak, photographers George Glen and Bruce Aalhus, and editor Joe McDaid) for a November 2008 series 'Court of Hope' on Calgary’s Drug Treatment Court (...)"
  • Public Safety Canada Research Summary on Effectiveness of Drug Treatment Courts (May 20, 2010): "Public Safety Canada looked at 96 existing studies to evaluate them: 'This study highlights the issue that there are very few methodically-sound studies on which one can assess the effectiveness of drug courts at reducing recidivism (...) Although reductions of 4 to 8% in recidivism were found, these findings must be tempered by the generally poor methodologies used in evaluations of drug treatment courts and the quality of treatment'. "
  • Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (May 31, 2010): "Bill S-10 seeks to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) to provide for minimum penalties for serious drug offences, such as dealing drugs for organized crime purposes or when a weapon or violence is involved (...) The bill contains an exception that allows courts not to impose a mandatory sentence if an offender successfully completes a Drug Treatment Court (DTC) program or a treatment program, under subsection 720(2) of the Criminal Code, that is approved by a province and under the supervision of a court (...) The DTC program involves a mix of judicial supervision, social services support, incentives for refraining from drug use, and sanctions for failure to comply with the orders of the court."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:58 pm


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