THE ACT’s new Drug and Alcohol Court began today (December 3), enabling the ACT Supreme Court to sentence substance-dependent offenders to treatment orders instead of prison.
“The benefits of the Drug and Alcohol Court have a broader positive impact on government and government-funded services as well as on the wider community, particularly through reductions in crime and anti-social behaviour,” says Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay.
“The Supreme Court will initially assess offenders referred to the Drug and Alcohol Sentencing List to determine if they are eligible to undergo a suitability assessment for a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Order.
“Following this suitability assessment, a report detailing the offender’s circumstances and drug treatment options will be prepared for the court.
“If participants do not follow the treatment plan, or want to stop treatment early, they will be required to complete the rest of their sentence in prison.”
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith says the new process will help to ensure that crime caused by addiction is also viewed as a health issue, connecting people with the right health supports and services needed to recover from addiction.
Acting Justice Lorraine Walker will oversee the establishment and operation of the new court for the next 12 months.