The State Budget commitment to reintroduce drug courts in Queensland will go a long way to targeting the problem of addiction and reduce spiralling crime, according Queensland’s peak solicitor group.
Queensland Law Society President Christine Smyth on Tuesday (June 13) welcomed the announcement to reopen the courts after they were scrapped by Newman LNP in 2012.
Ms Smyth said it was well known many people who appeared before the criminal courts suffered varying substance addictions, including alcohol, and the return of the drug court would provide diversionary programs to help rehabilitate offenders.
“Drug courts proved to be a very constructive and positive diversionary strategy to deal with drug dependant criminals when they were made permanent in 2005 after a successful trial after laws were introduced five years earlier,” Ms Smyth said.
“Addictive behaviour across all forms needs to be treated if the court is to achieve its purpose, which is not merely punishment but to deal with issues causing criminality.
“QLS was publicly critical when drug courts were shut down in 2012 and we welcome their reintroduction.
“We think it is extremely important Queensland has a drug court that actually deals with more people and is rehabilitation-heavy, rather than using the court as a weekly monitoring service as it had been in the past.”
Drug courts were first introduced in Queensland in order to divert those who committed drug-related offences away from the criminal justice system and break the cycle of crime, by placing them on tailored rehabilitation programs and monitoring their progress.
Ms Smyth said QLS stands ready to assist the government with to ensure the return of drug courts achieves the best possible outcome for offenders, victims and wider community.