The Champion

April 2011 , Page 7 

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Addicted to a Flawed Solution: Drug Courts Revisited (Inside NACDL)

By Norman Reimer

 It has been two years since NACDL released a seminal study that focused on the burgeoning drug court phenomenon. The report, America’s Problem-Solving Courts: The Criminal Costs of Treatment and the Case for Reform, fundamentally challenged the growing national acceptance of drug courts.1 For the first time, a major investigation conducted under the auspices of the criminal defense bar documented flaws in what many had perceived as a universally popular and effective alternative to lengthy incarceration.

NACDL based its report upon hearings conducted around the country. The task force received testimony from an array of stakeholders, including defense lawyers, prosecutors, drug court professionals, judges and ex-addicts.2 It found a widely disparate approach to drug courts. A few featured open admissions, did not require irrevocable waiver of rights, and carried minimal negative consequences for failure in treatment. But those were the exception.

All too ofte

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