Miami Judge Jeffrey Rosinek’s tough-love approach has been the guiding spirit of Miami-Dade’s Drug Court, a pioneering project that the U.S. drug czar recognized yesterday as a model, the Miami Herald reports. John P. Walters, director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, touted the program’s success in trying to turn around the lives of nonviolent users. The Miami-Dade Drug Court has produced more than 10,000 graduates, with a rearrest record of only 4 percent. “It builds on the balance we have tried to establish,” Walters said in Rosinek’s courtroom. “We want to cut off the sources of both demand and supply that feed this problem.”
Walters outlined the Bush administration’s latest assault on drugs — from targeting Latin American traffickers to voluntary random public-school testing to community substance-abuse treatment. Miami’s Drug Court was launched in 1989 by then-State Attorney Janet Reno, Public Defender Bennett Brummer, and others. It has spawned more than 1,600 drug courts around the nation. President’s Bush’s proposed fiscal year 2006 budget includes $70 million for local drug courts, more than double the $30.6 million allocation this year. Walters pointed to a National Institute of Justice study that compared re-arrest rates for drug court graduates with people who were imprisoned for drug offenses — and found “significant differences.” The study said that the likelihood that a drug court graduate would be rearrested and charged with a serious offense in the first year after graduation was 16.4 percent, compared with 43.5 percent for non-drug-court graduates.