Drug Court Victoria
Drug Court of Victoria
Dandenong Magistrate's Court, Cnr Foster & Pultney Street
PO Box 392
Phone: 9767 1344
A Drug Court is a court, or a division of a court, which is responsible for sentencing and supervising the treatment of offenders with drug problems, who have committed an offence under the influence of drugs or to support a drug habit.Drug Courts are being trialed in four other states in Australia, as well as in Canada, Ireland, Scotland and England. There are over 570 drug courts in the USA.
The Victorian Drug Court represents a fundamental shift in the way in which the courts will deal with drug offenders. It seeks to protect the community by focusing on the rehabilitation of offenders from drug or alcohol addiction with the ultimate goal of bringing stability to offenders' chaotic lifestyles and reintegrating them into the community.
An offender in the Drug Court will be sentenced to a Drug Treatment Order (DTO). The DTO consists of two parts, a custodial part and a treatment and supervision part.
The custodial sentence is suspended to allow for the treatment of the offender. The treatment and supervision will involve conditions being imposed, which are intended to address the offender's drug and alcohol dependency. Sanctions and rewards are used to reward compliant behaviour and sanction non-compliant behaviour.
The Drug Court Magistrate will have the responsibility for the supervision of offenders placed on the Drug Court program. The Court contains a multi-disciplinary team consisting of a case manager, clinician, specialist community correction officers and a dedicated police prosecutor and defence lawyer. This team will work with the Drug Court Magistrate in managing and supervising offenders on the Drug Court program.
If offenders breach the DTO, the DTO can be cancelled and offenders can be sentenced to imprisonment.
The Victorian Drug Court initiative is an experimental response to the failure of current custodial sanctions to adequately address drug use and related offending. The Victorian model has incorporated the best features of existing drug courts in order to establish a unique Drug Court for Victoria.
(Sourced from the homeless persons legal clinic Melbourne)