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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 23, 2019 10:45 AM
From: Representative Joanna E. McClinton
To: All House members
Subject: National Drug Court Month
Since the creation of the first treatment court 30 years ago, drug courts have grown in popularity nationwide as an effective method to fight substance abuse and criminality in our communities. These courts combine intensive judicial supervision, mandatory drug testing, treatment and other incentives - with the overall goal of breaking the cycle of addition and crime. As of 2015, there are over 3,000 drug courts operational in the United States, with roughly two-thirds of Pennsylvania counties operating some form of these courts.

Philadelphia started our state’s first drug court in 1997 which facilitated the creation of the Pennsylvania Association of Drug Court Professionals (PADCP). This statewide advocacy group encourages the creation of similar courts throughout the state as a way to save money, while at the same time providing offenders with a chance to get the treatment they need and not end up back in jail. Drug courts nationwide vary in target population, program design and service resources, however the majority of these courts target adults, including DWI/DUI offenders and veterans.

The benefits of these courts cannot be downplayed. Drug courts save money and reduce recidivism. In fact, for every $1.00 invested in drug courts, taxpayers save as much as $3.36 in avoided criminal justice costs. Not only are drug courts the right thing to do from a treatment standpoint, they also save our taxpayers money. Drug courts are a win-win for Pennsylvania.

National Drug Court Month highlights the collective impact of adult drug courts, juvenile drug courts, family dependency treatment courts, tribal healing and wellness courts, DWI/DUI courts, and veteran’s treatment courts. Collectively, these courts have facilitated community partnerships to broadly enhance criminal justice, public safety and public health. I ask my colleagues join me in designating May 2019 as “National Drug Court Month” in Pennsylvania.

Introduced as HR288