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