It's been more than 20 years since the first drug court opened in Parramatta, specifically designed to deal with offenders who are addicts.
The Drug Court of NSW opened in 1998. It now operates in another locations: central Sydney and the Hunter.
The court attempts to address underlying drug dependency which has resulted in criminal offending. It is open to people who commit non-violent offences.
There are four pillars of the drug court program: drug treatment, social support, court updates on the participants progress and regular drug testing.
Those are spread out across three phases.
The first is the initiation that takes an average of three months. It's focused on ceasing drug use and criminal activity and includes three drug tests per week.
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It's followed by the consolidation phase which starts to expand the focus to developing life and job skills, while addressing any major life issues. It takes an average of four months.
The final phase, which is an average of five months, teaches fiscal responsibility through employment.
To be eligible, the offender has to have indicated they will plead guilty and will highly likely be sentenced to imprisonment if convicted. They also have to be a willing participant.
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