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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: June 9, 2017 10:02 AM
From: Representative John T. Galloway
To: All House members
Subject: Drug Courts: Giving Magistrates Authority
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to combat the opioid crisis facing our Commonwealth by authorizing magisterial district judges to establish drug courts in Pennsylvania.

Currently, there are drug courts in 42 of the state’s 67 counties. By extending the authority to establish drug courts to magisterial district judges, the benefits of drug courts can be realized across the Commonwealth. Nationally, drug courts have had a positive impact on communities as 84 percent of drug court graduates have not been re-arrested and charged with a serious crime in the first year after graduation, while 72.5 percent have no arrests at the two-year mark. Once accepted into the program, drug court defendants must attend regular Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, maintain employment or perform community service, attend weekly meetings with a probation officer and twice monthly meetings with a judge, and must submit to regular drug tests. According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, cost savings due to drug courts range anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000 per client and for every dollar invested, taxpayers save as much as $3.36 in avoided criminal justice costs.

Specifically, my bill will allow magisterial district judges to establish drug courts, from available funds, in the same way they are currently operated by the PA Courts of Common Pleas and the Municipal Court of Philadelphia. The goal of my proposal is to extend access to individualized drug treatment programs in an effort to curb the growing opioid epidemic across the state.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

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Introduced as HB1868