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The Future of Drug Courts
How States are Mainstreaming the Drug Court Model.

Report by the Drug Court Advocacy Group on experience in Boston, USA attending a Drug Court Conference and sessions of Drug Courts during August 2004
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FAVOR SA Legal expert Jacques Joubert is lobbying for the establishment of Drug Courts in South Africa.

Call for 'drug courts'
Article by News24.com

Here are some articles which we hope will illustrate the need for our Campaigns, and a few examples of how effective they can be. 

To illustrate the effectiveness of Drug Courts, we bring you this story from the USA:

One Road to Recovery:
A Prop 36 Success Story
Wednesday, February 9, 2005

It took Peter Kosinski 34 years to lose everything, and less than 2 years to begin to recover it all.

When he was 11, Peter began experimenting with alcohol and marijuana, and over the years became what he considered a “functional addict,” using cocaine regularly and LSD less often. At 34, he started using methamphetamine, and his life began to fall apart. He abandoned his two children and his job. As his life spiraled further out of control, he found himself first living out of his car and then, inevitably, on the streets.

Ironically, Peter’s fate changed the day he was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance. Instead of facing jail time, Peter was offered a chance at renewal through the Proposition 36 treatment-instead-of-incarceration program. With only four dollars in his pocket and a knapsack of clothes on his back, Peter entered a residential transitional program where he finally found the support he needed to begin recovery. “It was an important stepping stone to get a foothold on what recovery really is about,” he explains. He feels the difference in the environment between prison and the transitional program, where participants find solidarity among their peers who all face the same struggles, was essential to a successful recovery.

For Peter and many like him, prison was not an effective deterrent to using drugs. In fact, being in jail reinforced his lifestyle and gave him new ideas about using. The first thing he would do when he got out of jail was get high.

But this time the opposite would be true. When he left the program—where he proudly served as house manager for 18 months—Peter felt confident that he was ready to replace his bleak past with a promising future. Today, he is the primary sales person for a company that sells construction services. Peter squared away past debts, taxes and child support and worked hard to reconcile his relationship with his older children, now 13 and 18. He also has a 13 month old son and is building a home with his significant other.

Through Proposition 36, Peter got his chance at a clean slate and the proof is in the pudding: he has remained clean and sober for four years. He says, “I am most grateful for the chance to make it up to my loved ones and for the chance to make a U-turn in my life, which, otherwise, may never have been an option on the road that I had been on.”

For more information on Proposition 36, visit www.prop36.org

To illustrate the need for programs such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and  DUI "Arrive Alive" - we bring you this touching story from Durban:

Don't jail my son's killer, mom pleads

Tania Broughton
August 12 2005 at 09:33AM

A Durban mother has forgiven a driver who killed her only son while high on drugs and, in an act of compassion, asked court officials not to send the woman to jail.

Instead, Pat Bouwer said she wanted the death of her son Daniel da Silva to mean something. And she hopes that the 31-year-old drug addict, who on Thursday admitted in the Durban regional court to killing him, would now turn her life around.

"I know Daniel would have forgiven her the moment she crashed into him," said Bouwer after Thursday's court case.

"Daniel was the most forgiving, non-judgmental person. He would know that she didn't do it on purpose. I have put myself in her shoes. I now realise that she just made a mistake. It is very hard to accept, but it was a mistake."

'I
t is very hard to accept, but it was a mistake'
Da Silva, who was 23 when he died, was a talented drummer who played in two church bands.

Just before he died, he had taped a rough draft of a song he had written for his girlfriend. His family later released it as the theme song for a road safety campaign that they started in his name.

In a written statement handed in to Magistrate Mike Lasich on Thursday, Samantha Felton, of Umbilo, said that on the evening of December 21 last year she had consumed a "moderate quantity" of liquor and had then taken "rock" cocaine - a substance she was addicted to.

She had then got into her Mini Cooper and driven home. That was the last thing she remembered about that evening.

However, she said she accepted that at the traffic lights at the intersection of Gale and Blake streets, she had driven into Da Silva's stationary motorbike.

She did not stop. She was eventually flagged down further along the road by witnesses who had chased after her. Da Silva died on the scene from head injuries.

Felton conceded that the crime was serious, prevalent and that the government had spent large sums of money on awareness campaigns about intoxicated driving.

In mitigation, she said she had spent the past four years nursing her bedridden mother, who had chronic emphysema. At the time of the incident, her mother was in the final stages of the disease.

She also admitted to being a drug addict, saying she had been in rehabilitation "with limited and temporary success" several times.

Since the incident, though, she had not touched drugs or alcohol. She said she had met Da Silva's family and expressed her "sincere regret".

Da Silva's family were consulted about an appropriate sentence and Bouwer was adamant that she did not want Felton to go to jail. Instead, in terms of a plea-bargain agreement with the state, Felton received a five-year suspended sentence.

This was conditional on her serving three years house arrest, with 24 hours of community service each month and attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings every Friday. Her driver's licence was also suspended for three years.

Bouwer said being involved in the decision about sentence had been satisfying.

"We can now only hope and pray that it will work and that she will grow into a better person. She knows now that Daniel was such a good person... perhaps he will be her guiding light."