Objectives of the Drug Court of NSW
The objectives of the Drug Court of NSW are set out in the Drug Court Act 1988 (below). These objectives deliver an overall benefit to the community of NSW - reducing the risk of re-offending by drug dependent people.
The most recent evaluation by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Reporting found that when compared to a comparison group, people who had been treated through a Drug Court program were:
- 37% less likely to be convicted of an offence
- 65% less likely to be convicted of an offence against a person
- 35% less likely to be convicted of a property offence
- 58% less likely to be reconvicted of a drug offence.
Achieving the objectives of the Drug Court Act
Section 3 of the Drug Court Act 1998 sets out the objectives the Drug Court seeks to achieve. These are to:
- reduce the drug dependency of eligible persons
- promote the re-integration of such drug dependent persons into the community
- reduce the need for such drug dependent persons to resort to criminal activity to support their drug dependencies.
These objectives are to be achieved by establishing a scheme, under which drug dependent persons, who are charged with criminal offences, can be diverted into programs designed to eliminate, or at least reduce, their dependency on drugs. Reducing a person's dependency on drugs should reduce the person's need to resort to criminal activity to support that dependency, and should also increase the person's ability to function as a law abiding citizen.
Collaboration: the Drug Court team and partner organisations
The Court works in collaboration with a number of other organisations. These include the Department of Corrective Services, including the Community Corrections Division, and the Department of Health, through Justice Health and the Area Health Services. In addition a large number of residential rehabilitation services provide treatment for Drug Court participants. Officers of the Director of Public Prosecutions, a Police Prosecutor and the Legal Aid Commission also form part of the Drug Court team.
Part of the role of the Drug Court team is to oversee the progress of participants through the program and jointly formulate strategies to assist participants' rehabilitation. The team consists of the:
- Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) solicitor
- Police representative
- Clinical Nurse Consultant
- Legal Aid solicitors
- Community Corrections Division co-ordinator
- Registrar of the court and the judge.