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Jail is not the only option for non-violent drug offenders

On Behalf of | May 23, 2023 | Misdemeanors

The State of Michigan understands that incarcerating all drug offenders is not necessarily effective. As a result, it offers certain individuals facing drug charges the opportunity to enter into a drug treatment program, known as drug court, instead of going to jail.

Not all offenders are eligible for the program. Drug programs are intense, and participants must complete the program or face legal consequences.

Eligibility requirements

According to the State of Michigan 86th Judicial District Court, eligibility criteria of participants include:

  • Non-violent offense with no history of violent behavior
  • Diagnosis of a substance abuse disorder
  • No weapon present at time of arrest
  • Emotional and mental stability
  • Willingness to follow rules of the program

Participation in drug court is voluntary, and if a participant does not complete the program, it is a violation of probation.

Drug court program structure

There are various aspects of the program that all participants must take part in, and there are various phases. In all phases, there is zero tolerance of drugs and alcohol, and participants must gain approval from their probation officer before taking any medication. There are random urine and alcohol tests, and each participant must attend 12-step meetings.

Participants are subject to random home visits. They must also pursue, maintain or continue education, employment or community service while in the program. There are also counseling sessions the participant must attend.

Benefits of drug courts

The Michigan House of Representatives discusses benefits for the community and those who complete drug court programs. Drug courts result in a safer community and reduced crime. Compared to those in jail, participants have a higher education level, higher employment rates and reduced recidivism.

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