A California Court for Young Adults Calls on Science
SAN FRANCISCO — On a cloudy afternoon in the Bayview district, Shaquille, 21, was riding in his sister’s 1991 Acura when another car ran a stop sign, narrowly missing them.
Both cars screeched to a halt, and Shaquille and the other driver got out. “I just wanted to talk,” he recalls.
But the talk became an argument, and the argument ended when Shaquille sent the other driver to the pavement with a left hook. Later that day, he was arrested and charged with felony assault.
He already had a misdemeanor assault conviction — for a fight in a laundromat when he was 19. This time he might land in prison.
Drug Courts Evolve to Repair Lives; Reduce Recidivism
Since 1991, California drug courts have expanded and evolved their collaborative, problem-solving approach.
May 18, 2016
Penne Soltysik 415-865-7740
Roughly 206 drug courts serve residents in 53 of California’s 58 counties. By helping people with substance abuse issues repair their lives, drug courts divert those who could otherwise cycle repeatedly through the criminal justice system.
Since California’s first drug court opened in Alameda County 25 years ago, these collaborative, problem-solving courts have continued to adapt and change, with local partners working together, learning from their successes and focusing on the needs of specific groups, including teens, veterans, and the homeless.
The Superior Court of Siskiyou County, for example, is working through its Community Corrections Partnership Committee to reduce recidivism. A recently launched collaborative court now serves repeat offenders—who often have problems with substance abuse—within vulnerable populations, including veterans, homeless people, and those struggling with mental health issues. The approach enables judges to modify sanctions and support recovery to reduce the likelihood of repeat offenses…. more