Drug court at risk

By ,Ottawa Sun

First posted:

If funding for Ottawa’s drug treatment court remains uncertain, the prison-diversion program could stop taking new clients as soon as this summer.

The federally funded drug treatment court is set to continue until March 31, 2012. But because the court process takes nine months to complete, without a funding recommitment, the program could stop taking clients in August.

The Ottawa drug court was set up by James Budd from Rideauwood Addiction Centre. It’s one of about nine in Canada, meant to wipe out the $80,000 to $100,000 cost of incarceration per year by getting addicts into care instead.

Every Tuesday at 2 p.m., the same team of a specifically assigned judge, Crown, defence counsel, treatment provider and a probation officer gather in courtroom No. 8. “It’s the only courtroom where you’ll hear applause,” says Budd.

People have to qualify for the program, must plead guilty and volunteer for drug treatment, weekly court appearances and regular urine tests. Those who stick with the program are rewarded weekly with applause, praise and little things like gift certificates and coffee cards.

Those who slip up and start taking drugs again run the risk of being kicked out and sentenced to jail — the penalties are more severe if they try to lie about cheating.

After a minimum nine months, those who are successful may be sentenced to one day of probation.



Commentary by the ottawa mens centre



The Ottawa Drug Court is a classic example of how "restorative justice" aka common sense justice is applied. Its an example of how decorum and civility can result in corroboration that provides positive results for society with a minimum of destruction.

Quite opposite that of family court where sociopaths like Sheffield and Power leave an endless trail of corrupt destruction.