The state of Florida has specialty courts called treatment courts that integrate education and treatment into the justice system to reduce criminal behavior.
Drug courts and adult drug courts are the most common kinds of treatment courts in Florida. They aim to proactively address drug-related crime by helping people with drug and alcohol abuse disorders get the help they need throughout the criminal case process and beyond.
In drug courts, lawyers and judges take a non-adversarial approach and integrate alcohol and other drug treatment services into justice system case processing. Instead of sending defendants to jail, judges may order recovery programs and be part of a coordinated strategy to help people recover from addiction.
Often, drug courts have community partnerships, conduct alcohol and drug testing, and take other steps to monitor and evaluate the program’s effectiveness. Drug courts can easily identify eligible participants and reduce future crimes by helping defendants (frequently repeat offenders) get their substance abuse disorders under control.
Mental Health Court
Florida also has a special mental health court to help people who are mentally ill access treatment, training, and support services during the criminal process for various misdemeanors and felonies.
Instead of being punished, eligible individuals referred to the program may choose to complete the mental health court in approximately 9 to 12 months. If they successfully complete the program, their charges will often be dismissed, and the criminal case may be closed.
By improving the mental health of its citizens, Florida helps reduce recidivism (repeat crimes and arrests) and improve public safety.
Veteran’s Treatment Court
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) partners with courts across the country to help military veterans and service members get help when they are arrested for various felonies and misdemeanors.
Adjusting to civilian life after serving in the military can be difficult, and the veteran’s treatment court’s holistic approach can meet the unique needs of each veteran. This program helps Florida give back to those who have served our country and supports veterans as they navigate post-service life.
Veteran’s treatment court lasts approximately 12 months, each veteran gets a veteran mentor during the program, and participants get access to the tools and services they need in the community. With these improvements, veterans will be less likely to commit crimes in the future.
How Treatment Courts Help
People often commit crimes when they feel out of control, desperate, afraid, under the influence, or even lonely. Sometimes, people have chemical imbalances in their brains or unhealed wounds from childhood that simply need to be addressed.
By reducing the very motives and urges to commit crimes, treatment courts make the community safer. Instead of punishing someone who is already suffering, treatment courts help that person improve their health and wellbeing and become a better member of society.
If someone steals because they are desperate to buy drugs, for example, drug courts can help them defeat their addiction, which solves the criminal behavior at its root.
Similarly, mental health courts help people understand why their actions were wrong and take steps to prevent future wrongdoing, and veteran’s treatment courts help military veterans and service members adjust to civilian life.
Treatment courts view people who commit crimes as people instead of criminals, which makes the criminal justice system more effective for everyone.
Inside or outside of treatment courts, criminal defense attorneys have similar goals. Your lawyer can help humanize you and defend your rights – whether that means seeking treatment in a drug court or presenting your side of the story in a standard trial.
At the Law Offices of Cavanaugh & Cavanaugh, P.A., we have over 45 years of combined experience and can help identify the best solution for your unique case. Our compassionate attorneys don’t see you as a criminal, and we want to help make sure the judge and jury see you as a person, as well.
For lawyers who are loyal to you and pride themselves on excellent communication and customer service, please call the Law Offices of Cavanaugh & Cavanaugh, P.A. at (239) 309-2006 or schedule a consultation online today.