Adult Drug Court

According to the Drug Task Force, over 80% of the felony crimes committed in this parish are drug related.  The persons committing the crimes are either possessing or selling illegal drugs, or using drugs and/or committing crimes to get money to buy drugs, or a combination of all of these.

There is not room in the prisons of the state to hold all the felony offenders, or all drug related offenders.

Simply placing them on probation does not solve the problem, either.  There are so many people on felony probation now that the Office of Probation can barely manage its supervision of them.  Furthermore, well over half of all persons put on felony probation in Louisiana commit another crime.

In response to the need to find a solution to the problem of dealing with felons who have substance abuse problems, and where incarceration is not appropriate, Judge Rick Harrington started the Adult Drug Court Program in 2004.  Drug courts are premised upon the ability of the judge, with the help of all the justice system shareholders, to closely supervise individuals who need treatment services, and to administer immediate consequences for their failures and successes. 

Persons who have been found guilty of felony crimes and who have substance abuse problems are put under the strict supervision of the court, provided with drug treatment, and are required to be employed.  Drug court participants are required to appear before the judge on a regular basis to review their progress.  They are drug tested regularly and required to attend varying levels of treatment based upon the individual need of each participant.

Violent offenders and drug dealers are not eligible for the drug court program.  District Attorney Van Kyzar and Sheriff Victor Jones are working closely with the Drug Court program, and the District Attorney determines which defendants are appropriate candidates for drug court.  The sheriff provides court security, supervision of probation services, and general coordination of daily operations.

Judge Harrington says that the whole purpose of drug court is to put offenders with substance abuse problems under the strict supervision of the court with immediate consequences for their actions, and provide them with treatment, so that they do not return to the system.  Nationally, 85% of persons who successfully complete a drug court program do not commit another crime.