Effectiveness Of The Victorian Drug Court System Criminology Essay

Drug tribunals have existed in America since the 1980 ‘s and were foremost established in Australia in 1999 with the purpose of deviating drug wrongdoers from the condemnable justness system and to airt them into intervention. Chiefly based on the USA theoretical account of drug tribunals in the manner that intervention is community-based and monitored by a judicial order. The Australian theoretical account differs by leting for non merely first-time wrongdoers to be treated, but besides allows long-time wrongdoers with belongings offenses to be offered this intervention before captivity ( Kutin et al. , 2010, pp152 ) .

Drug tribunals were first developed in New South Wales so in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. These tribunals were established under specific statute law in each different province and their end is to ‘help wrongdoers overcome their drug dependance and therefore stop their associated condemnable behaviors through tribunal enforced and supervised intervention plans ‘ ( Freeman et al. 2000 ) . Previous to the constitution of drug tribunals, instances were dealt with admonishing plans such as the CREDIT ( tribunal referral rating for drug intercession and intervention ) plan which was exercised through the tribunals before the drug tribunals were put into practise. This plan, which commenced in 1998, was used to aim non-violent wrongdoers with drug related jobs. These wrongdoers were diverted to ways of intervention as a status of bond. Once the wrongdoer was convicted, condemning could be deferred for up to six months, so the wrongdoer could take portion in intervention conditions. ( Kutin et al. , 2010, pp152 ) .

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Drug tribunals exist in non merely in the USA and Australia but besides in the UK and Canada. These tribunals run a small different to the theoretical account in Australia. The drug tribunal in Glasgow, Scotland portion similar purposes and aims to the Victorian drug tribunal.

Victorian Drug Court

The Victorian Magistrates tribunal has multiple specialized divisions. One of these divisions is the Victorian drug tribunal. This tribunal was foremost established as a test and subsequently became a specializer division in 2002 and is located in Dandenong. The chief aim of this tribunal is ‘to develop increased stableness for wrongdoers every bit good as supplying aid in reintegrating them into the community. ‘ it tries to accomplish this purpose by condemning the convicted to a drug intervention order ( DTO ) . A drug intervention order is a two twelvemonth plan that consists of two parts ; custodial and supervising and intervention. The tutelary portion consists of the wrongdoer being involved in a tutelary period that is served in the community. The supervising and intervention is the more intense portion of the order as the wrongdoer is required to be subjected to regular drug testing, reding assignments and regular assignments before the drug tribunal. In order for an wrongdoer to be eligible for a DTO, foremost they must go through certain standards under Section 18Z of the Sentencing Act 1991. Regulations of this act include that the suspect must plead guilty, be confronting an immediate term of imprisonment, topographic point of abode is within a ZIP code specified in the Government Gazette, dependent on drugs or intoxicant and this contributed to the committee of the offense, the offense was non of a sexual or imposition of bodily harm nature and the suspect is non capable to a Parole Order, Combined Detention and Treatment Order, or Sentencing Order from the Supreme or County Courts. The suspects are besides assessed by two separate experts with each expert composing a study on how the wrongdoer will or will non derive something for the DTO ( Magistrates, 2010 ) .

The Victorian Drug Court has proved to be a positive add-on to the Victorian Legal System. Wrongdoer are given a good manner of retrieving from their dependence every bit good as introduced back into the community. As the DTO suspends the tutelary sentence, wrongdoers are besides given a opportunity to have compulsory intervention. This creates a safer community every bit good as more effectual legal system with drug instances that would usually take up clip in the Magistrates tribunal are being dealt with as a separate entity, alleviating the Magistrates Court of excess instances and more clip to concentrate on other instances.

The Drug Court of Victoria contains both strengths and failings. Some of these failings include the fact that a individual has to plead guilty in order to be accepted into the Drug Court division. However, it would be thought that if a individual is non willing to plead guilty to an offense, they would non take their DTO earnestly and the DTO would be uneffective. Another failing of the Drug Court is that in order for a individual to be accepted into this division must be within a ZIP code where a Division of the Drug Court operates. This is non wholly just for people with drug offenses that live outside the declared countries.

Even though the Victorian Drug Court has weaknesses it besides has many strengths. One strength is the division helps let go of the congestion on the already busy Magistrates ‘ Court. This is a great benefit as more people will hold entree to timely justness. Anotherstrength of the Victorian Drug Court is that the drug division does non accept individuals who have committed offenses that contain a sexual or violent nature. Although, one would believe that if a individual was under the influence of a drug or intoxicant while perpetrating this offense so the countenance of imprisonment would be uneffective and when this individual is put back into the community, they are more likely to reoffend.

New South Wales Drug Court

The drug tribunal of New South Wales was the first drug tribunal to be introduced in Australia. This tribunal, merely like the other drug tribunals in Australia began as a test and after positive ratings, it was continued. The New South Wales drug tribunal is run under the Drug Court Act 1998 and its set aims are, as stated under Section 3 of the Act ; ‘to cut down the drug dependence of eligible individuals ; to advance the re-integration of such drug dependent individuals into the community ; and to cut down the demand for such drug dependent individuals to fall back to condemnable activity to back up their drug dependences. ‘ ( mention ) the New South Wales drug tribunal operates in a similar mode to the Victorian drug tribunals with suspects necessitating to go through similar standards in order to be eligible to be considered for a drug tribunal plan. If the suspect does non go through the set standards, the wrongdoer is referred back to the Magistrates tribunal for re-evaluation.

As each Australian drug tribunal is under different province legal power, differences are to be expected when the New South Wales drug tribunal is compared to the Victorian drug tribunals. One of these differences is the manner that the intervention plan is implemented. The New South Wales plan consists of a three-phase plan that usually takes up to 12 months to finish. New South Wales Magistrates can besides allow bond to wrongdoers with less important drug offenses and put them on the MERIT ( Magistrates Early Referral into Treatment ) plan. Wrongdoers must finish compulsory intervention as portion of the virtue bond conditions. The New South Wales State has besides has implemented a Youth Drug and Alcohol Court. This tribunal was created in 2000 and maps, non under the Magistrates Court but, under the Children ‘s Court alternatively. These differences would be a great add-on to the Victorian Model. Both provide the New South Wales legal system with an effectual manner to decide these instances in a timely mode.

Glasgow Drug Court

Another state that has a drug tribunal as portion of their tribunal system is Scotland. Scotland ‘s drug tribunal is based in Glasgow and comparable to the Victorian Drug Court but has its ain alone position on the procedure and the item that goes into the choice of the convicted individuals into this plan besides the age of the individuals accepted into the plan.

The Drug Court of Glasgow is similar to the Victorian Drug Court in that the individual has to plead guilty in order to be accepted into the Drug Court programme. However in Glasgow, the choice procedure is much more elaborate and vigorous as the charged individual has to be analysed. First even before the instance is in the normal process of the tribunals they must be accepted by the fiscal who so has to O.K. the charged individual to be accepted to be analysed by the Criminal Justice Social Worker. The Criminal Justice Social Worker analysis the charged individual and determine which arm of the Drug Court this individual will be accepted into ( Glasgow Gov. 2009 ) . These pre tribunal processs help the Glasgow Drug Court ‘weed ‘ out the individuals that will either neglect the plan or non accomplish the benefits of the plan. This would be a great scheme for the Victorian Drug Court as there are no formal pre tribunal processs to ‘weed ‘ out the individuals that will non have the rehabilitation benefits of a DTO ( Magistrates, 2009 ) . If Victoria introduced these pre tribunal processs into the system, certainly the effectivity and success of the plan would increase. On the other manus, if pre tribunal processs are introduced, so the province would hold to put more money into the Drug Court plan, this could be debatable as the financess for the supervisors and pedagogues could be lowered and this could ensue in a diminution in the quality of the plan.

The Drug Court of Glasgow chiefly focuses on individuals aged around the age of 21 ( Glasgow Government, 2009 ) this is a great thought for the Victorian Drug Court, because in Victoria most offenses covering with drugs are situated within this age group ( ABS, 2001 ) . Besides, one would believe if a 40 twelvemonth old individual is being charged with a drug offense that will finally ensue in imprisonment, so it would look that that individual has been in the drug concern for a piece and rehabilitation success would be rather low. However, alternatively of know aparting between age groups another arm for younger wrongdoers should be created In the Drug Court division, so that there is no favoritism between age groups, and rehabilitation is provided to all individuals.


The Victorian Drug Court has many strengths and failings but overall the strengths outweigh the failings. The Victorian Drug tribunals allow wrongdoers to get the better of their dependences and to let them safely back into the community. Though the Victorian Drug Courts could be improved farther by taking thoughts from other drug tribunals interstate and internationally. The Drug Court of New South Wales has the MERIT Program, which relieves the drug tribunal of congestion from more minimum instances. The New South Wales Children ‘s Court besides has a Youth Drug and Alcohol Court, leting young person instances to be heard in this tribunal, one time once more alleviating the Drug tribunal of instances to be heard. Victoria could besides take thoughts from the Glasgow drug tribunals by concentrating on young person instances instead than a complete scope of ages ( Magistrates ‘ 2009 ) .


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