New Jersey's decade-old drug courts system has greatly decreased the chances of drug offenders returning to jail, according to a report by the state Judiciary cited by the Press of Atlantic City. Statistics show that, three years after completing the program, 16 percent of drug court graduates have been arrested and 8 percent convicted. By comparison, a 2001 study by the Department of Corrections reported a 54 percent rate of re-arrest and 43 percent were re-convicted.
“Drug courts have increased exponentially across the country because communities have recognized that court-based treatment interventions for drug-involved offenders can be an effective tool with regard to some of the substance abusers who come in contact with our criminal justice system,” said Judge Glenn A. Grant, acting administrator of the courts. The state's drug court program was first established as a “best practice” in 2000. Cumberland and Ocean counties began theirs in 2002, with Atlantic and Cape May counties receiving funding in 2004. Offenders are given programs that take into consideration things such as treatment needs, relapse history, progress in treatment and support system. Probation is a maximum of five years, but can be made earlier at the court's discretion.