Literature reviews are important for any research because they assist the researchers in placing the research topic in a clear and well-defined context from which it is a lot easier for them to draw research questions and so help in making the research as specific as it can possibly get. Specificity is one of the main gauges of a good research because it, among other reasons, makes the research findings more authentic and so more reliable. Lack of specificity renders the entire research vague and at the risk of failing to have the power to convince users to adopt it as being reliable.
The Origin of and Need for Drug courts Drug courts were first introduced in the US as a response to the rapid rise in drug addiction among drug offenders. This rise was significantly large between 1984 and 1990 when it is estimated that it rose from11,854 to 29,306. This number soon rose to the current over 2000 drug courts in the country. The United Kingdom has also been increasingly following in this path and it is expected that it will have many more drug courts in the future as their demand soars.
The only possible impediment to the expansion is the unproved claims that it is a very costly system. Drug court programs serve as the best bet for drug abuse prevention by improving the lives of those processed through the correctional of the use of drug courts, as they provide programs that have therapeutic integrity (Lessenger & Roper, 2007). This does not only improve the offenders’ life, but also protects the community as well as ensures the safety of the entire public.
However, rehabilitation as an effective tool of reducing crimes related to drugs remains a critical concern (Maguire & Okada, 2010) because there are issues over the government having to assist offenders to get treatment while other people cannot even get the same. The utilitarian goal of the drug court will have to be abandoned if treatment of offenders does not work with the drug courts. Whiteacre, (2008) points out that in reviewing the existing process of outcome evaluations of the drug courts an assessment of the success of drug courts within the conceptual framework needs to be carried out by the use of a conceptual framework.
This would help in addressing various questions, which include seeking to know the various treatment methods that are employed by the drug courts, the indicators that point to the way in which drug courts are trying to carry out their programs in a successful manner, the measures that the drug courts take to determine their level of success, and how the courts seek to enhance their success levels in the future. These questions bring forward a set of hypothesis that will help us to identify whether the intervention of drug courts to the drug offenders is effective.
Maguire & Okada (2010) writing in Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice are of the view that impact evaluation of a single drug court should be carried out in order to assess whether the treatment modifies the character and the personality of the offender. The study should include measurement of the kinds of success that have been achieved by the effectiveness of the drug court programs, since the purpose of a drug court is to divert drug offenders from facing criminal justice by providing them with an opportunity for treatment resources (Lessenger & Roper, 2007).
According to Lessenger & Roper (2007), a good evaluation program should strive to ensure that the drug court specialists have the required skills pertaining to training the offenders such as the background area of the offenders and trying to find out the root course that makes the offenders to indulge in criminal activities, among other.
This will make them produce positive results for the criminals even after they leave the drug court, and thus helping the offenders in the end rather than suffering. In an attempt to reduce crime, it would be rational if the assessor assesses not only the short-term benefits of the drug courts but also the long term benefits (Maguire & Okada, 2010). Careful consideration of financial benefits should be put into place as the drug courts continue to gather other sources of income.
Therefore, the drug courts should not only evaluate the benefits they provide in financial terms but also look for an additional source of income for effective running of the system. A careful consideration of the current costs of the drug court program to the participating members of the criminal justice system should be put into consideration. These include the working team of the drug court; the prosecutors, public defender’s office, police, jail, and probation and treatment providers.
They should also evaluate how the court resources are distributed in the drug courts by carefully identifying the cost savings associated with drug courts even when findings are unavailable at the federal government (Lessenger & Roper, 2007). In addition, the assessor should evaluate the relationship that exists between the drug court program and the rest of the court’s departments. Butts & Roman (2004) point out that a number of issues should be used in evaluating whether the drug courts help in assisting the drug abuser in learning of new adaptive cognitive skills.
In evaluating the types of treatment methods that should be used by the drug courts in order to achieve effectiveness, one should put much emphasis on the method that appears to develop cognitive skills to the offenders. They also state that the appropriate method to be used for all offenders should assess the pattern of the drug use, and the way they influence how the program runs. This program to be put in place should define the length of time required for successful rehabilitation to be achieved.
For a successful assessment of the drug court, the evaluator also needs to review the evaluation on two aspects, that is, he/she is supposed to review the effectiveness of the program during the training time as well as after the training. He/she should then collect the data related to the study such as the treatment retention study, recidivism study, drug use study cost effective, and other rehabilitation outcome studies. This data can then be used to make the final conclusions on the overall cost of running such a drug court program.
But back to the more specific issue of cost in terms of the length of time it takes for the trials to be completed, Granfield (1998), writing in the article An examination of the Denver Drug Court: The impact of a treatment-oriented, drug-offender system argues that it does not matter that it is a pretty long process if indeed it can be able to bring about the desired level of results. What matters is the need to have the drug offenders getting rehabilitated, and in the right way so that once they are off the program they can be in a better position to embark on other normal life activities and get completely weaned of their criminal life.
Every individual who has been on drugs desires to leave that kind of lifestyle but somehow the addiction is too strong to break from. According to Huddleston et al. (2008), what drug courts seek to achieve is to have these people’s lives turned around. And given that it is usually a very demanding process, it is mandatory that a lot of investment in terms of time is done until this person can be completely delivered from one’s addictions. In essence, although it might take the state a long of time to have this totally finished, it is in the end very useful compared to the criminal courts.
In yet another commentary, it has been argued that it is all wrong for any comparison of the two courts to be done on the basis of time taken only but rather a lot more focus has to be put on the overall outcome or efficiency of the courts (Butts & Roman, 2004). This is because of the great differences in the aims and so approaches that each court follows. On the one side, the drug courts seeks to have the drug offender punished but even more importantly helped to turn around one’s life.