As a New York resident who is currently facing a drug charge, you may have justifiable concerns about potentially having to serve time behind bars. Depending on the details surrounding your drug crime and whether you have an existing criminal history, however, you may be able to enter a drug court program instead of serving time in jail. Available to some offenders, drug courts seek to reduce crime and the number of people housed in the state’s prison system by addressing what is so often the root cause of criminal behavior: drug addiction.

According to the National Institute of Justice, while drug courts can help you curb your addiction for good, giving you an opportunity to potentially rebuild your life, they can also have positive effects on your entire community. For example, placing an offender such as yourself in a drug court program typically costs about $1,400 less than putting you through the traditional criminal justice system once you factor in costs associated with system processing, treatment and so on.

Once you factor in reduced recidivism and related costs, you can actually save your community upwards of $6,700 by participating in drug court, as opposed to spending time behind bars. While completing drug court can save your community considerable money, it can also help reduce crime in your area.

For example, one study revealed that felony offenders in a particular geographic area typically experienced a re-arrest rate of about 40 percent two years after committing their initial crimes. However, once that geographic area began offering drug court to felony offenders, the re-arrest rate fell to only 12 percent.

This information about drug court is educational in nature and does not constitute legal advice.