As someone facing a Wisconsin drug charge, you may be fearful about your future and wondering whether you may wind up in jail. In some cases, if your conviction was for a nonviolent drug offense, you may have the option of entering drug court, rather than jail or prison. 

Drug courts have two main objectives. First, the National Institute of Justice reports, they hold you accountable for a drug-related crime. Second, they provide you with tools and resources that may help you overcome your substance abuse dependency, which may help keep you from reentering the state’s justice system. 

So, do they work as intended? 

Drug court findings 

Though studies assessing the effectiveness of drug courts are ongoing, existing research suggests that these programs are effective. A recent 10-year study of one drug court program revealed that it had notable effects at reducing recidivism. While these reductions varied somewhat from one year to the next, the program reduced recidivism among participants by between 17% and 26%. 

Drug courts also cost your community less money than housing you behind bars. The study showed that drug courts lead to an average public savings of $6,744 per participant. 

Factors impacting success 

While the numbers surrounding savings and reduced recidivism are encouraging, certain factors help determine the overall success of a drug court program. Whether you receive an accurate assessment of your condition and receive appropriate treatment is one such factor. The nature of your interactions with the drug court judge is another. Whether a drug court staff experiences considerable turnover may also impact your level of success in drug court.