The Cognitive Dissonance of Drug Courts

The Washington/Madison County Drug Treatment and Diversion Court in Arkansas recently received a $925,000 federal grant for its drug court program, to be doled out over three years. At a press conference announcing the grant, Drug Court Judge Chadd Mason said this:

"The grant targets the defendants that are placed in our program, thereby requiring their compliance with the justice system, compensation to victims, paying for treatment costs, paying their way, so to speak. That's an important part of what we do is encouraging and requiring that accountability."

"This grant will allow us to further our efforts in providing resources and effective tools for these target defendants, so that they can make changes in their lives that can address the issues that ... caused them to engage in criminality in the first place."

Targets. Defendants. Criminality. Those aren't the words Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske uses when he tours the country talking about the importance of drug courts. Rather, he says that “[D]rug addiction is not a moral failing on the part of the individual. It’s a chronic disease of the brain that can be treated." Kerlikowske has also said that the goal of the federal push for drug courts is to “lift the stigma surrounding those who suffer from addiction.”

So, does it matter that the guy in Washington making the case for drug courts has a totally different opinion of drug offenders than the people who actually run drug courts?

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  • The Late P Brooks||

    "The grant targets the defendants that are placed in our program, thereby requiring their compliance with the justice system, compensation to victims, paying for treatment costs, paying their way, so to speak.

    What the fucking FUCK?

    Would someone care to translate this gibberish?

  • niobiumstudio||

    Considering when you are arrested for a "drug crime" the "victim" on the police report is "society" (just like a noise complaint, drunk in public, disorderly conduct, etc.)... it is just what you call it - gibberish. I responded to this with the EXACT same phrase you did.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Though I left out one of the F's.

  • Chris Mallory||

    A noise complaint has a victim in the person who has the pictures rattled off his walls at 1 am by the idiot next door's stereo.

  • ||

    Not if the complainant is a police officer who disagrees with your taste in music.

  • Oso Politico||

    Hmm,'compensation for victims' - that sounds interesting - how do I become a victim?

  • ||

    They must mean people who's dog (or child) gets shot when the swat team "accidentally" conducts a no-knock raid on the wrong house.

  • niobiumstudio||

    "requiring their compliance with the justice system, compensation to victims, paying for treatment costs, paying their way, so to speak."

    WTF? Compensation to the victims? Isn't the "defendant" the fucking victim of addiction? Is he supposed to compensate "society" (that IS who is listed as the "victim" when someone is arrested on drug charges in real court)? They have to pay for treatment, pay for court costs, and "pay their way" - but a real criminal, a rapist or murderer or whatever the fuck doesn't have to pay for shit... How ass backwards is this? This "drug court" sounds great as a concept - like it may actually help people with addiction, but in reality it just looks like less rights, less oversight, and more bullshit. Drug usage is a NON-CRIME...

  • Juice||

    compensation to victims

    Yeah, that's what I spotted too. What victims are they talking about?

  • niobiumstudio||

    Maybe the fine "Dutch Master's" cigar rollers who spend countless hours producing top-notch tobacco products that are simply cannibalized so addicts like you can get high on your godless drugs are the victims?

  • Robert||

    I'd very much like to find this out. Maybe Mr. Riggs could provide some examples from the records. I'll take some guesses.

    If drug sellers get into drug court, possibly their customers could be deemed victims, and the seller made to refund what was charged for material that made their lives worse, or otherwise made to pay some kind of damages.

    More likely, this is about junkies who've been something of a nuisance but for whom no legal recompense has been made to people they've been nuisances to. For example, maybe a drug user did some petty damage to neighboring property or was just a bother to the neighbors by hir very presence, and could be assessed damages for being offensive to them or whatever.

    Or maybe they did substandard work and owe their employers some money back for the shitty job they did while intoxicated.

    I'm fairly well tapped out on the specul'n.

  • Paul.||

    It's moral failing all the way up.

  • Oso Politico||

    And he sounds like a really bad ass judge - a regular hanging Chadd.

  • R C Dean||

    Back the truck up, here. There was a $925K grant to a county drug court in Arkansas? WTF?

  • niobiumstudio||

    And that's only the 2nd most WTF problem with that blog post...

  • Gene||

    First of all most offenders aren't addicts. The only victims often are those charged no one else.If I was offered a diversion program like this a year or so ago when I was busted I would have taken the time or a fine. Fuck Drug Courts.

  • BakedPenguin||

    If you weren't an addict, you wouldn't have been arrested. QED.

    Because unlike alcohol, there's no way anyone could ever use drugs responsibly.

  • Gene||

    True that's their perception. Tough to overcome institutional dogmas.

  • BakedPenguin||

    To me, the most sickening thing about drug courts is how a lot of them basically demand you admit you have a problem, you need help, etc. etc. They're something very Inquisition-y about it.

  • Robert||

    There is a certain logic to their thinking based on "legalism": The only way to use those drugs non-medically is to use them illegally, and since lawbreaking is an evil, there is no way to do that responsibly. Not only that, but the fact that people are willing to break the law to obtain such drugs proves how dangerous they are. This is actually a large part of their thinking.

    And it's not exactly trivial. If they make a law against possessing, say, green colored toothbrushes, there would be overwhelming compliance because it would not be worth anybody's trouble to risk the penalties to acquire green toothbrushes when there are others that are legal and just as attractive. This would be used as evidence that it's not just the law that makes the danger, because, see, certain things if you made them illegal nobody would do, so there's no need to make them illegal.

  • niobiumstudio||

    And forced compliance with the justice system means weekly random drug tests. Even in Colorado where pot is decriminalized you can spend up to a year in prison for some pot in your piss (per the article about pot in co. today on reason...). Imagine what those penalties could mean through a drug court with forced compliance? You can end up spending a year or more in prison, tens of thousands of dollars in debt, hundreds of hours in treatment you could have been working and more bullshit when you could have paid a laywer $1500 to take care of it and end up with PTI for a first offense or 6 months probation, $1000 fine and no drug tests for a 2nd offense...

  • ||

    Exactly. It's all about getting people on supervised probation/into the system, where a large portion are likely to "re-offend". The prison-industrial complex was not happy with the status quo where most people arrested for petty drug crimes were largely pushed aside in favor of prosecuting actual criminals. Now that drug-users and small time dealers have their own courts, those doors are going to keep on revolving. (*cha ching!*)

    Of course the useful idiots (vast majority of people) will never be able to grasp the concept.

  • Joea0211||

    It's not bad enough that they are making up crimes the are imagining that there are victims. They have "... a chronic disease of the brain that can be treated." OK maybe they are beyond treatment.

  • tagtann||

    Should be interesting to see how that all works out lol.

    www.Anon-Days.tk

  • Berman Law||

    "This grant will allow us to further our efforts in providing resources and effective tools…" I am curious to know more about what theses resources and effective tools consist of.

  • Cavpitalist||

    They actually televise the drug court here in Washington County. I only know that because Matt Jones was in there, but I thought his deal was instructive.

    He got caught in a car cutting lines. Stupid, but not exactly a public menace.

    Anyway, while he was in the program, he got caught having a beer or two on the golf course, and that was against the drug court rules. Which makes sense, because having beer on the golf course is exactly what got him into trouble in the first place.

  • Whahappan?||

    "That's an important part of what we do is encouraging and requiring that accountability."

    The whole quote is a steaming pile of dogshit, but this part struck me. It's breathtaking hypocrisy for a fucking JUDGE to be spouting off about accountability. What a monster.

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