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Drug courts are therapeutically oriented courts that attempt to reduce drug-related crime through a mixture of treatment and judicial oversight. Dade County, Florida, established the first drug court in 1989. By mid-2006, there were 1,563 drug courts in the United States, including 411 juvenile drug courts. Singleand multisite studies of drug courts, as well as meta-analyses, suggest that drug courts are more effective than traditional criminal courts in reducing recidivism, though this finding does not apply to all drug courts, nor does it apply to all defendants who appear before drug courts.

In the 1980s, the federal government and many states enacted stricter drug laws, which increased the number of defendants charged with drug-related offenses. In addition, it is estimated that between one fourth and one ...

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