ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Trey Anastasio, lead singer of the rock band Phish and proud Drug Court graduate, visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday, May 6, to participate in a day-long celebration marking the 20th Anniversary of Drug Court.
Mr. Anastasio joined the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) in calling for a Drug Court within reach of every American in need. Mr. Anastasio recognized over fifteen members of Congress for their support of Drug Court in the Fiscal Year (FY) '09 appropriations process.
In the evening Mr. Anastasio attended an NADCP 20th Anniversary of Drug Court reception.
"We are here today to celebrate the 20th birthday of Drug Courts: Twenty years of restoring lives, reuniting families and protecting public safety," said NADCP CEO West Huddleston. "In the twenty years since the first Drug Court was founded, there has been more research published on the effects of Drug Courts than on virtually all other criminal justice programs combined. The scientific community has put Drug Courts under the microscope and concluded that Drug Courts significantly reduce drug abuse and crime and do so at less expense than any other justice strategy."
Drug Courts are the nation's most successful strategy for dealing with drug-addicted offenders. In the twenty years since the first Drug Court was initiated in Miami-Dade, Florida, Drug Courts have revolutionized the justice system and saved the lives of over 1 million people. There are currently 2,301 Drug Courts located in every state and U.S. territory. Drug Courts annually serve over 120,000 people and a recent study funded by the Department of Justice showed that Drug Courts save $3.36 for every $1.00 invested. This savings is due in part to the fact that 75% of Drug Court graduates are never arrested again. Still, Drug Courts serve only about 5% of the adult offender population estimated to be in need.
"I would like every community in America to have the option of sentencing drug offenders to Drug Court," said Mr. Anastasio, "When we imprison people for minor drug offences, we waste money -- and we waste lives. Prison will turn a person with a substance abuse problem into a lifetime felon. Drug Courts can change that same person into a sober citizen, someone who takes responsibility for their actions and who stands ready to help others."
Drug Courts strike the proper balance between the need to protect public safety and the need to improve public health, between the need for treatment and the need to hold people accountable for their actions. Drug Court participants receive intensive treatment and other services they need to change their lives, all while being regularly and randomly drug tested. In addition, Drug Court participants are required to appear frequently before a specially trained judge to review their progress. They are given rewards for doing well and sanctions for not living up to their obligations to society, themselves and their families.
To learn more about Drug Courts and how they restore lives, reunite families and protect public safety, please visit www.NADCP.org.
For AP photo: Trey Anastasio supports Drug Courts, saying "I would like every community in America to have the option of sentencing drug offenders to Drug Court." Click here:
For AP photo: Trey Anastasio looks on as NADCP CEO West Huddleston blows out twenty candles in honor of the 20th Anniversary of Drug Court. Click here:
For a complete listing of Members honored with the 2009 NADCP Congressional Leadership Award, click here:
|SOURCE National Association of Drug Court Professionals|
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