Not all individuals who face drug charges will necessarily enter the justice system. The State of Tennessee acknowledges that some people caught in possession of drugs have a substance abuse problem.
Recovery courts may be an alternative to traditional legal punishment. These courts provide the defendant not only with addiction recovery, but also with resources to improve their lives.
Benefits of recovery court
According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, the goal of recovery court is to help those who are struggling with a mental health disorder or substance abuse get out of the justice system and into lives of stability. Rather than face punishment for a drug-related crime, defendants can recover.
These courts do not just treat addiction. They address a wide variety of life-related issues, such as family relationships and financial stability. They help improve education, housing situations and employment. They help some reunite with their families, and they reduce the number of kids who have to go into the foster care system.
Recovery programs are long enough that full treatment can occur. Although only around 60% of those who enter the programs complete treatment, it is much higher than those incarcerated or on probation.
Eligibility requirements for recovery court
Not everyone facing drug charges is eligible for recovery court. According to the Knox Recovery Court, it is only available for nonviolent criminals and those who:
- Are 18 years of age or older
- Enter on their own will
- Are willing to participate fully for 15 to 18 months
- Have a diagnosis of a mental health disorder or substance dependence
Eligible participants also must be currently facing charges in Knox County, although transfers may occur from other counties or states.