May is National Drug Court Month and is coordinated by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). This year's theme for the month is "Drug Courts: A Proven Budget Solution." There are 2,500 Drug Courts across the country. The courts take a different approach for prosecuting people for crimes like drug possession or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a person charged with the DUI or drug crime has an underlying addiction, the special court tries to address that underlying problem rather than simply sentencing the defendant to jail.
Georgia has the highest rate of people who are in the corrections system in the U.S. According to WSB News, currently 1 in 13 people in Georgia is in prison, on probation or on parole. It's well-known that Georgia's prisons are overcrowded, and in these tough economic times the state's budget is strapped.
Georgia may begin seeing more alternative courts, such as DUI courts and drug courts, but only if the state can come up with the money to fund the programs. Governor Nathan Deal said in his inaugural speech last month that he wanted Georgia to open more DUI courts, drug courts and mental health courts and other alternative programs, such as day reporting centers, while he is governor.