NSW has opened a third specialised drug court at Sydney’s Downing Centre. Defendants processed in the courts are intensely supervised and receive help to make profound changes in their lives after being transferred to a 12-month rehabilitation programme.
Paul Hayes, deputy director of criminal law at Legal Aid NSW, welcomed the expansion of the program, which has operated successfully in Parramatta and Toronto, in the Hunter Valley.
The courts, he said, had improved the lives of many participants, their families and, indirectly, those of many members of the community at large.
“It is more cost-effective then conventional sanctions. It continues to be effective in reducing drug dependency and promoting the re-integration of drug-dependent persons into the community.”
Claire Girotto, representing the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, said she had no doubt that the court would be a success.
– Photo and story by Natalija Antic