In the past 18 years, one of the most dramatic developments in the movement to reduce substance
abuse among the U.S. criminal justice population has been the implementation of drug
courts across the country. The first drug court was established in Florida in 1989. There are now
well over 1,500 drug courts operating in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and
Guam. The purpose of drug courts is to guide offenders identified as drug-addicted into treatment
that reduces drug dependence and improves the quality of life for offenders and their families.
In the typical drug court program, participants are closely supervised by a judge who is supported
by a team of agency representatives that operate outside of their traditional adversarial
roles. Addiction treatment providers, prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, law enforcement
officers, and parole and probation officers work together to provide needed services to drug court
The Michigan Community Corrections Act was enacted in 1988 to investigate and develop alternatives
to incarceration. Four years later, in June 1992, the first female drug treatment court in
the nation was established in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Since then, Michigan has implemented 75
drug courts, including expanding into further specialized courts (also called “problem solving
courts”) for adults, juveniles, family dependency, and DUI offenders.