Drug Court snapshot
The video below provides a snapshot of the Drug Court of Victoria.
00:00:05:00 - 00:00:26:13
Drug Court participant: Drug Court supports you on every level that you could imagine. You know, they've helped me with housing, helped me importantly to rebuild who I wanted to be. And that's the most important because addiction really does strip you of your dignity and your integrity.
00:00:26:24 - 00:00:32:07
Magistrate Cameron: To see what people are able to do with the right supports in place is inspirational.
00:00:32:15 - 00:00:40:13
Acting Sergeant Tess Holmes: You can see how it just absolutely breaks that cycle of the recidivist offending that they'd found themselves in.
00:00:42:04 - 00:01:06:08
Voice-over: Drug Court strives to help people break the cycle of drug and alcohol related crime and enable them to have meaningful and productive lives. That also means less crime and a safer community. To achieve that aim, Drug Court sentences and supervises people who come before it by using drug and alcohol treatment orders or DATOs to be eligible for DATO.
00:01:06:10 - 00:01:21:07
Voice-over: A person must have a drug or alcohol dependency that has contributed to them committing a criminal offense for which they could be imprisoned. So Drug Court provides an alternative to prison and focuses on treating the causes of substance use and related offending.
00:01:21:10 - 00:01:32:18
Magistrate Cameron: Once drug or alcohol use becomes problematic, life becomes chaotic. It becomes a cycle of offending in order to support that drug or alcohol dependency.
00:01:33:05 - 00:01:46:02
Prof Ari Freiberg: The drug court is not a soft option. It's very hard for people to get through it because they have to address those underlying problems. And they're very deep seated in many cases, and they won't be solved in a couple of days.
00:01:46:11 - 00:02:17:03
Voice-over: A DATO has two parts. One treatment and supervision. The other custody. In the custodial part. Sentences of imprisonment are put on hold as the participant is supervised while undergoing treatment in the community. But the custodial part can be activated if the participant isn't following the rules, meaning they may be sent back to prison. A multi disciplinary team does the supervision and assists participants with their treatment, helping them meet the requirements and rules of their order.
00:02:17:12 - 00:02:40:10
Voice-over: This team has a wide range of specialists, including clinical advisors, community correctional services, case managers, and alcohol and drug counsellors. There are also police, legal aid lawyers, housing workers, and of course, the magistrate. The magistrate leads the team and the team provide a holistic service to participants by coordinating and supporting their engagement with treatment.
00:02:40:12 - 00:02:53:01
Magistrate Cameron: The magistrate really has to balance authenticity and care with their supervisory role and that helps participants to become accountable for their own behaviours.
00:02:53:19 - 00:03:10:08
Winnie Sarpong: In regular case management appointments. We discuss the drug test results of participants, confirm the curfew compliance, confirm their appointments are attended as per scheduled, and ensure that we discuss with them around their feedback and they progress on the DATO.
00:03:10:21 - 00:03:38:15
Voice-over: The treatment and supervision. Part of the data is structured into three phases as participants achieve goals specific to their recovery, they are promoted to a higher phase by the magistrate. Once participants have successfully completed their goals in the final phase, they are eligible to graduate from Drug Court while on a DATO. The participants are expected to attend weekly court hearings with the magistrate during phase one to supervise and monitor engagement and compliance.
00:03:39:09 - 00:04:05:04
Voice-over: There are fewer court hearings during phases two and three. Participants must undergo supervised urine screening for drugs and alcohol a number of times a week. They must also keep appointments with their case manager, drug and alcohol counsellor and clinical advisor to plan their treatment, rehabilitation and health and wellbeing needs. So while a DATO can be demanding and challenging, participants are well supported.
00:04:05:24 - 00:04:12:12
Sheridan Manley: Not unusual to see people employed when they graduate, engaged with study, reconnected with their children.
00:04:12:19 - 00:04:23:08
Magistrate Cameron: It's in all of our interests that they are living healthy, productive, lives, not committing, not committing criminal offenses to support a drug or alcohol dependency.
00:04:24:08 - 00:04:31:22
Drug Court participant: I've been clean for almost 12 months and I've got secure housing. I see my children. Life really is very different.